In my everyday life, I have consciously devoted myself to the topic of gentleness for quite some time now. To me, gentleness is the foundation of getting along well with the people around me. Thereby, there is no quarrel. It does not come to war. Things run smoothly between me and you. This is a topic that has been present since my childhood. "Be kind, be nice!" That's what my mother used to say to me. It was tedious, and I didn't see the point.
Now, a few decades later, the theme is resurfacing. However, the exploration has a different background. Not a parental cautioning: Hawai'i.
The first A of the word ALOHA means just that: gentleness/friendliness. Is it possible that something else, deeper, more meaningful, additional is meant by gentleness? Put differently: What does the term really mean? How does it show up in what I do? And when does it show up? When does it not? Does my being friendly have an intention? How can I be friendly to life? My everyday life? Other people, friends, my family - and people I don't like? What does my being friendly or unfriendly do to me and to my environment? Why am I unfriendly? Why is it frequently so difficult to be genuinely and unintentionally friendly?
When I first visited Hawai'i 20 years ago, I had a lot to learn. Aloha was nothing more than a word to me at first. A greeting the way we use "Hoi" or "Grüezi" here.
ALOHA is more, much more. Thanks to the people of Hawai'i, especially to our Kumu Keala Ching, I have learned. I have observed, listened, seen actions and reactions: so different, so new, so open. And have learned: ALOHA is a lifestyle, ALOHA is Hawai'i, ALOHA is family, ALOHA is lived values, ALOHA is intelligence, ALOHA is wisdom, ALOHA is what makes us feel different in Hawaii. ALOHA is healing and growth, ALOHA is what all of us and the whole world desperately need. In short, ALOHA is the solution.
A_ Akahai - friendliness/gentleness
L_Lokahi - connection/relationship/balance
O_Oia'i'o - truth/honesty with yourself or/and 'Olu'olu - pleasant
H_Ha'aha'a - modesty/humility
A_Ahonui - patience/patience/patience
In the meantime, I better understand what ALOHA is all about. However, again and again I need to actively remember the values, understand their depth, implement them, live them, express them in my actions. The kindness, goodness and generosity exemplified in Hawai'i are real, it's an authentic way of life - and since 1986, it is even in the "Hawaii Law of the Aloha Spirit": https://www.hawaii.edu/uhwo/clear/home/lawaloha.html
How do you feel about this? If this is your first time hearing this explanation of ALOHA, let it sink in. Give it space. Give it time.
If you have the feeling that you already know all of this, then please stop for a moment. Consider whether you are comparing it with what you think you already know. And whether this knowledge is profound - in the sense of experienced and lived. As soon as there is any resonance, we are satisfied very quickly and move on to the next thing. However, that way we learn nothing new, our vessel is always filled to the same level, nothing will change, nothing will grow, nothing meaningful will happen.
Values are meaningless if they are not lived. They must be reflected in our behaviour, our actions. Deciding to live ALOHA brings a radical change, inside as well as out. An act of awakening, of love, towards oneself and towards others.
ALOHA brings us into relationship with the spiritual dimension, with Mother Earth and with people. ALOHA gives meaning and peace to our existence. ALOHA is the expression of an awake mind, it is emotional intelligence, lived spirituality. We are suddenly on the side of the solution - we are committed to people, to the earth and heavens and to ourselves. Do we need more? Can we do more?
I invite you to have the courage and curiosity to explore ALOHA as a sustaining value of the people of Hawai'i - with respect, reverence, and patience. Because: behind it all lies a true treasure.
Live ALOHA! and the answer will be ALOHA!
On June 24th and 25th, 2023, Kumu Keala will teach Hawaiian values and language, including the ALOHA concept, here in Zurich. Be there! Take your chance!
Warmly and with a lot of ALOHA