One of our original intentions at the outset of Mana Botanics was to honor our host culture by sharing the beauty that resides in Hawaii in its abundant flora (plants), love of the ‘aina (land), and its spiritual depth. With that in mind, Mana aims to bring you stories that only the Hawaiians can tell…and we feel it appropriate to initiate that with Aloha.
Aloha is a word already known across the globe, but perhaps not for its full depth. For many, it simply means hello or goodbye. For others, it means Unconditional Love, Grace, Kindness, Humility, and Compassion.
Aloha is a word that encompasses all of these definitions and more. Every value within the Hawaiian culture directly connects to one’s Aloha spirit. The spirit of Aloha is a guiding principle, and it inspires us to be our best selves and strive for our highest purpose…it is a way of life.
But don’t take our word for it, listen to one of Hawaii’s loved and respected elders, Pilahi Paki, who shares what aloha means in this short video, Keeper of the Secrets of Hawai’i
According to Pilahi,
“to be in Aloha is to be in the presence of life. It is to share your innermost essence, being open and honest with humility. Aloha is accepting others for who they are and showing dignity to what they have to offer.”
The origins of Aloha come from a deep spiritual place. Aloha is, at its root, a force that unifies and underlies existence. It is regarded as a fundamental aspect of the universe and of life itself. It is a “spiritual principle” that emits the deepest expression of our humanity in this creation.
Aloha is infused into all aspects of Hawaiian culture and society. It is a part of the origin stories of Hawai’i and has been passed down through generations as the principle to live by. It was and still is expressed through awareness of feelings and emotions, with no necessity to use words or speak, only to feel through the Hā or breath of a person.
In the 1970’s Pilahi, as a carrier of Hawaiian wisdom, foresaw a twenty-first-century world in conflict that would look to Hawai‘i for healing and that Aloha would be its remedy. With her guidance, the state of Hawai’i introduced the Aloha Spirit law in 1986, which mandates that state officials and judges treat the public with Aloha.
Living Aloha means living a life of love, compassion and understanding where you are responsible for yourself and with your family, community and nature. It applies to every interaction, great and small, and is a principle to keep in our awareness at every moment.
As a part of the creation, it is important to live your life with compassion and kindness for other beings. When we are filled with the Aloha spirit, we see the inherent value and connectedness in other human beings, in animals and even in insects. It is important to treat them all as we ourselves would want to be treated and to see the inherent value they bring that we may or may not fully understand. In this way, we can depend on and trust in one another.
Having compassion & kindness towards one another “Aloha Kekahi I KeKahi” (love one another), can help us to defuse chaos in the world of turmoil and expectations of others actions.
Moving through life with awareness helps us understand the world better and make healthy, productive choices. Slowing down, and living more in the present moment, allows us to listen, to reflect and to find the best path. We can do this by taking moments of pause, tuning into our breath, bringing it into our bellies and letting our minds clear. When our minds slow down we can hear “life” and our higher guidance comes through and we can then make more balanced, informed choices.
There is an understanding that each one of us comes here with an individual purpose that contributes to the collective. When we can increase our awareness and align with ourselves to find that higher purpose, we feel better, have more energy and help our family, community and society reach its highest purpose.
‘Ohana is the family that we take care of that takes care of us. It is not just our blood family, it is those who are part of our relationship network or community circles. It can be our coworkers, members of our church, sports team, school etc. It is our social support system. As part of an ‘Ohana we do what we can to contribute to the success of the ‘Ohana and those within it for everyone’s mutual benefit.
Living with Aloha involves connecting with others. Human contact is essential and deeply fulfilling and in this fast paced world, slowing down to talk and spend quality time can be very healing. Talking story means being able to listen as well as share. This helps us stay connected and brings more meaning and depth into our lives. It helps grow our understanding and cultivate our compassion for others and it helps us feel seen and heard. Spending quality time, nourishes our hearts and minds and actually reduces anxiety and depression.
Caring for nature and the land that provides for all of the creation is as important as our care for our ‘Ohana. Hawaiians have long had respect for the land that feeds, clothes and shelters the people and living with Aloha means being a steward of the land. From the land comes our food, our home and every material item we enjoy and depend on. And future generations are relying on us caring for the land in a way that will leave it abundant and able to provide for them.
A quote from Prince Kūhiō illuminates this well. He said: “ He aliʻi ka ʻāina, he kauwā ke kanaka.” We come from the land, we thrive from the land, we become the land.
Aloha as a foundational principle and daily guiding light can help humanity find it’s highest path and expression. In challenging times, it can unify our efforts to create a better world and compel us to make healthy choices for ourselves and others. Similar to Native American teachings, it can motivate us to look beyond our immediate desires and into the future to secure a world for the next 7 generations.
Aloha acknowledges the importance of our individual contribution to the larger society and asks us to find our highest purpose and align our actions to bring it forth for the greater good.
A – Akahai meaning kindness (grace), to be expressed with tenderness;
L – Lōkahi meaning unity (unbroken), to be expressed with harmony;
O – Olu’olu’ meaning agreeable (gentle), to be expressed with pleasantness;
H – Ha’aha’a meaning humility (empty), to be expressed with modesty;
A – Ahonui meaning patience (waiting for the moment), to be expressed with perseverance.
E aloha kekahi i kekahi
(A aloha kay ka hee e kay ka hee)
Love One Another
Ua ola loko i ke aloha
(ewe a ola lowkow e kay aloha)
Love gives life within
Pupukahi i holomua
(pu pu ka hee e ho lo moo a)
Unite to move forward
Ku’ia kahele aka na’au ha’aha’a
(Ku ee a ka hay lay aka na aou ha aha a)
A humble person walks carefully so as not to hurt others.
Rosa Say, a writer and advocate for managing business with Aloha, has illuminated many values that come directly from the core principle value of Aloha. When we move with Aloha as our foundation we see it’s impact in many arenas of our life.
‘IMI OLA – To “seek our best life.” Our purpose in life is to seek its highest form.
The value of mission and vision.
MAHALO – “Thank you”, as a way of living.
Live in thankfulness for the richness that makes life so precious.
MĀLAMA – The value of stewardship. To take care of.
To serve and to honor, to protect and care for.
PONO – The value of integrity, of rightness and balance.
The feeling of contentment when all is good and all is right.
‘OHANA – Those who are family, and those you choose to call your family.
As a value, ‘Ohana is a human circle of complete Aloha.
KĀKOU – The value of communication, for “All of us.” We are in this together.
Learn to speak the language of we.
LŌKAHI – The value of teamwork: Collaboration and cooperation. Harmony and unity.
People who work together can achieve more.
HO‘OHANA – The value of work: To work with intent and with purpose.
HO‘OMAU – The value of perseverance. To persist, to continue, to perpetuate. Never give up.
KŪLIA I KA NU‘U – The value of achievement. “Strive to reach the summit.”
Pursue personal excellence in all you do.
HO‘OKIPA – The value of hospitality, a hospitality of complete giving.
Welcome guests and strangers with your spirit of Aloha.
KULEANA – One’s personal sense of responsibility.
“I accept my responsibilities, and I will be held accountable.”
‘IKE LOA – The value of learning. To know well. To seek knowledge and wisdom.
HA‘AHA‘A – The value of humility. Be humble, be modest, and open your thoughts.
HO‘OHANOHANO – To honor the dignity of others.
Conduct yourself with distinction, and cultivate respectfulness.
ALAKA‘I – The value of leadership. Lead with initiative, and with your good example.
You shall be the guide for others when you have gained their trust and respect.
NĀNĀ I KE KUMU – Look to your Sense of Place and sources of spirit, and you find your truth.
KA LĀ HIKI OLA – “The dawning of a new day.” Optimism.
The value of hope and promise.