Hawaiian people are very spiritual. We believe the Aloha Spirit is within everyone and everything. Most think of the word Aloha as a simple – hello or good-bye. This is the focus of building a Ku body – spiritually.
But, it goes way deeper than that. When I say Aloha I am speaking from my na’au (soul) to yours. Having the Aloha Spirit is a way of life in Hawaii, and I believe many have forgotten about it. No matter where you go or who you with, Aloha should always be with you. It is so rooted in the Hawaiian history, culture, and in our DNA that there is actually a law called – The Aloha Spirit Law:
THE ALOHA SPIRIT LAW [§5-7.5]
(a) The Aloha Spirit is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the Self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others. In the contemplation and presence of the life force, Aloha, the following unuhi laulâ loa (free translation) may be used:
A – Akahai, meaning kindness to be expressed with tenderness;
L – Lôkahi, meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;
O – `Olu`olu, meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
H – Ha`aha`a, meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;
A – Ahonui, meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.
These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii’s people. It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaii.
Aloha is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation.
Aloha means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return.
Aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.
Aloha means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.
(b) In exercising their power on behalf of the people and in fulfillment of their responsibilities, obligations and service to the people, the legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, executive officers of each department, the chief justice, associate justices, and judges of the appellate, circuit, and district courts may contemplate and reside with the life force and give consideration to The Aloha Spirit. [L 1986, c 202, §1]
My ‘Build a Ku Body‘ concept is based around sharing the Aloha Spirit with the world and bringing it out in everyone. I believe the more people who embrace the Aloha Spirit the better the world will be, but it starts with yourself first.
One of the most intimate and honorable gesture of sharing the Aloha Spirit is the honi.
The honi is a traditional greeting in all of polynesia. It is performed by pressing one’s nose and forehead to another’s during a greeting and farewell. At the same time there is an exchange of ha, or breath of life, when both individuals inhale at the same time. During the exchange of ha, a spiritual power called – mana is also shared. Mana is something that I would have to save for another post on its own because that’s some deep stuff right there.
Honi is the same concept as the handshake. Now, I’m not telling you that everyone should walk around touching foreheads, noses, and inhaling at the same time. Although it would be cool, many would probably freak out if you got into their personal bubble trying to snuggle their nose. But at least you now know about the honi if you ever visit a Pacific island.
The first time I experienced this was when there was a large group of people at a Hawaiian ceremony at the Pali Lookout on Oahu. There were men, women, children, visitors, and people from every walks of life. Remember, I’m an introvert kind of guy and during my younger years I wasn’t a big fan of strangers. And now I was expected to exchange ha through honi. I was a bit weired out during the whole time because I didn’t fully understand what was taken place. But now that I’ve learned the meaning behind the Spirit of Aloha and the honi I appreciate it much more and embrace the fact of sharing something so honorable with another individual.
When I’m back in Hawaii there are many times when I greet family and friends with sharing the Aloha Spirit through a honi. It means so much more to me now because I don’t visit home as often as I would like to. Since I live in California now, you won’t see me doing this when I’m at work, walking around the market, or grabbing a drink at a bar. But, when I do greet someone I share my Aloha Spirit.
Take the Aloha Spirit With You
When you go through your day, take with you the Spirit of Aloha. When you meet someone new, show them you actually appreciate their presence because that person may have an influence on your life. I honestly think, people come in to your life for a reason and that everyone you come pass should not be taken for granted.
If you see family or a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, embrace them and tell them how you feel about them. As much as we don’t want to think about it – you will never know when or if you will see that person again. The word Aloha isn’t lightly taken. When you say it you have to honestly mean it because it is a very heavy word.