I am a practitioner of Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage and I live in Ireland. I therefore want to deepen my understanding of the Hawaiian philosophy of life and spirituality. At its heart is Aloha and that seems like the best place to start. This is the Hawaiian word for love, peace, compassion and mercy. It is the salutation word for both greeting and farewell. Steeped in cultural and spiritual significance, it carries the wisdom and the presence of the ancestors. Lomi Lomi is the ‘loving hands Massage’ and while training, I learned of the importance of working with Aloha. It is the intention I set for each of my treatments and I endeavor always to bring it to all aspects of my life. For the Hawaiian people, Aloha is a state of being, a way of life.
According to one Hawaiian author, the first expression of Aloha is between a parent and child. It is expected that all citizens, visitors and Government officials live by the Principles of Aloha. Written into Government Statute they are as follows:
A~ Ala ~ Watchful, Alertness
L ~ Lokahi ~ Working with unity
O~ Oia’i’o~ Truthful, honesty
H~ Ha’aha’a~ Humility
A~ Ahonui~ Patience, Perseverance
The true meaning of Aloha, is so much more than the sum of its parts. For that reason any translation or interpretation will fall short. Books and blogs capture the essence of Aloha but it is accepted that: ‘Aloha is a complex and profound sentiment. Such emotions defy definition.’
There are many expressions of Aloha that give us a sense of what it means to live and breathe in Aloha. They include:
‘To consciously manifest life joyously in the present’
‘The joyful sharing of life energy in the present moment’
‘Joyfully sharing life’
“God in us”
‘Breathing in the present moment’
‘Being face to face with the Divine’
‘The co-ordination of heart and mind within each person’
‘The life force that ‘brings each person to the Self’
‘It is the essence of relationships in which ‘each person is important to every other for collective existence’
A few months ago, I watched a short video by Kumu (teacher, guide) Louise Kleu of Aloha House in Co. Kerry. In her discussion of Aloha, she quoted this excerpt from a book called ‘What is this thing called Aloha?’ It read that:
‘The existence of Aloha is not an abstraction. Feel it now. It is in your blood. It is in your bones. It is your mind, heart and soul. Find it in the silent wonder of yourself.’
This reminded me of a poem by Rabindranath Tagore where he ponders life force energy as an connective expression of the divine:
‘It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow.
I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life. And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.’
The sense of being at one, in harmony, in alignment with all that is, is Aloha. It is evident throughout the Hawaiian language. I found it interesting to learn, for example, that there is no Hawaiian word for ‘Nature’ in the sense of ‘being outside in nature’. The reason for this was that the ancient Hawaiian people did not consider themselves as separate from their surroundings. This way of living and being was reflected across many ancient cultures. Our own Celtic ancestors, like the Hawaiian people felt at one with the land, sea and sky. In their shared cosmology they felt the presence of the Divine in their surroundings. This gave them a deep sense of connection, belonging and duty of care.
Before her passing I watched an interview with the American writer and poet and Civil Rights Activist Maya Angelou. At the end of her interview she was asked to complete the definition… ‘God is…’ Her response ‘God is All‘ really resonated with me. It is what comes to mind as I reflect now on the meaning of Aloha.
Aloha is spirit and it is life. It is love. It is taking care of ourselves, each other and the World around us. It is ‘All’. Are you living in Aloha?
The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. Patricia Monaghan, 2014.
The Deeper Meaning of Aloha by Curby Rule https://www.huna.org/html/deeper.html
Do You Have the Aloha Spirit? Five Hawaiian Words to Live By. Megan Polom.