Updated: Oct 19
Hawaiian Teachings of Aloha - The View from the Mountain -
When we say “aloha kakou”, we are bringing warm, affectionate greetings to all who are present. This includes not just all who are present with us in human form, but all forms of life who are present. This includes the grasses, trees, the weeds, the animals, the birds - even the bugs! This warm, affectionate greeting also includes all who are present in spirit. With this greeting we acknowledge all the spirits who work through the various elements of nature: the earth, the air, the fire and the water. We welcome the unseen beings, the ancestors, angels, Gods, Goddesses, and any other types of spirits who dwell in our space, and may be listening.
The word aloha speaks to the one spirit that breathes life into all things. So this greeting is an invocation of the spirit of Love that lives and moves in all things. This applies even in inanimate objects. Because everything comes from one spirit, which is love, everything in existence is alive, aware, and responsive to our love. We greet the building we are in, the furniture we are using, the tools we are using from day to day. Everything has a spirit, and this greeting is a way of gathering everyone and everything together to support you.
Aloha kakou calls everything together, united as one - lokahi ~ as family - 'ohana ~ in the spirit of love - aloha
The teachings of Hawaii teach us to watch and to listen, to be attentive to our environment. Everything in our environment is there to serve our purpose.
If we look carefully around us, we will find answers to any question we may ask. When we learn to master the various tools we have available for us to use for our purpose, we begin to find solutions to any challenges we face in life. When we learn to live in harmony with all forms of life we share our existence with, we gain access to powers greater than our own.
A kahuna is a master of a particular skill, in traditional Hawaiian culture, such as navigation, canoe building, architecture, agriculture, prophesy, plant medicine, or bodywork. The teachings of the kahuna teach skills and knowledge that has been passed down for generations. The kahuna also learns to draw upon the wisdom that comes from the connection to the source within. In the space of silent stillness, one can access the infinite power of Spirit, and all things hidden can be revealed.
Only by balancing and mastering the various forces within ourselves, can we then bring balance and mastery to the world around us. This involves a daily practice for bringing harmony to the three aspects of self; the body, the mind and the spirit. Ho’oponopono is a practice that uses self inquiry, meditation, forgiveness and non-judgment. When we are clear of fear, judgment, trauma and limitation, we can be a clear channel for Spirit, that comes through our Higher Self, which is guided by unconditional love. We begin to feel deeply connected to others, and communicate with the world around us in a way that brings harmony to the world. This is known as living aloha.
Living aloha is to feel, connect, and communicate with all things visible and invisible with love. And so to live aloha, we must learn to see through the eyes of the heart. This type of perception bypasses the outward appearance of things, and looks beneath the surface to see the light in all things. With the eyes of love we see the God in all things.
Living aloha is to hear with the ears of the heart. This type of listening is more than just hearing the words that are being spoken, it is to feel the feelings of the person who is speaking. It is to listen so carefully that one is able to hear the words that are not being spoken out loud, but are spoken in the silence. It is to hear the voice of the inner child, wanting to express itself. Listening with the ears of the heart allows us to hear the truth behind the words, a Higher Truth that is wanting to come through and be communicated.
The View from the Mountain
Striving towards the mastery of the kahuna is like climbing a mountain. As you make your way through life, you develop your skills. Over time, you combine the knowledge you have learned through experience, with the wisdom that comes from developing your connection to your Higher Self. This is how we proceed up the mountain. Along the way up the mountain, we are faced with problems and challenges. Sometimes the weeds are so tall all around us that we can’t see where we are going. In these times, we must remember the answers to our questions are all around us, and also within us. We can gain access to the secrets of our existence when we look deep within, through the eyes of aloha. Sometimes someone who has a different point of view will come to our aid. The path becomes clear, and we can gain a higher view point as we rise up the mountain. From a higher place we can light the way for others, who may have found themselves lost along the way. That is how we grow and evolve as humans. The book “Tales from the Night Rainbow,” beautifully shares the Hawaiian teachings with this story: the “View from the Mountain”.
“History, and everything else is seen and understood by where a person stands on the mountain. All people are climbing the same mountain. The mountain however has many pathways - each with a different view. A person knows and understands only what he sees from his own pathway, and as he moves, his view will change. Only when he reaches the top will he see and understand all the views of mankind. But who among us has reached the top of the mountain?
Tomorrow, we too, will see a different view. We have not finished growing.”
from “Tales from the Night Rainbow” by Pali Jai Lee
This teaching reminds us to stay humble on our journey, recognizing that none of us has reached the top of the mountain. We are all on this journey, and we all have a different point of view, and each of our experiences is valid. When we approach each other in humility, we recognize that each person has the spirit of God within them, and we can learn from everyone around us, by approaching each other from a place of non-judgment.
To Experience Aloha, we Must Live it. To Receive Aloha, we Must Give it.
All the secrets of life are contained within the concept of living aloha. It is said that one cannot teach aloha, one can only bring attention to these qualities being expressed through them as love in action. In other words, we teach by example. Unconditional Love goes beyond the limited understanding of the mind that dwells in duality. To be understood, aloha must be lived through experience. And often the experience is quite beyond words. To experience aloha in action, one must be fully present, in the moment. It is said that all the power of creation can be seen and felt in a single blade of grass. This is an example of being fully present, in a state of non judgment, and one with nature. Nature reveals the glory of God.
The same thing happens when you are with another person. By bringing yourself fully present with whoever you are, giving and receiving aloha, you gain universal understanding through the foundation of love. We can learn from others, by seeing things from their point of view. And so, here we stand, wherever we are on our journey up the mountain, we acknowledge the beauty and oneness of all life, and we say "Aloha kakou!"
written by Patti Miller October 17, 2023 Hawaiian Healing Arts