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The Deeper Meaning of Aloha

hawaiian woman

For those who follow the path of Huna, or are fortunate enough to live in Hawaii, it is common for us to use the word “Aloha.” We use it in greetings and farewells and in expressing love. But the word means even more; it is a way of life.

Besides these common meanings, the word Aloha holds within itself all one needs to know to interact rightfully in the natural world. These insights demonstrate an attitude or way of life sometimes called “The Aloha Spirit” or “The Way of Aloha.”

The Spirit of Aloha lesson was taught to the children of the past because it was about the world of which they were a part. One early teaching goes like this:

Aloha is being a part of all, and all being a part of me. When there is pain–it is my pain. When there is joy–it is also mine. I respect all that is as part of the Creator and part of me. I will not willfully harm anyone or anything.

When food is needed, I will take only what I need and explain why it is being taken. The earth, the sky, the sea are mine to care for, to cherish and to protect. This is Hawaiian–this is Aloha.

  • A, ala, watchful, alertness
  • L, lokahi, working with unity
  • O, oiaio, truthful honesty
  • H, ha’aha’a, humility
  • A, ahonui, patient perseverance

The kahuna David Bray this code as “Come forward, be in unity and harmony with your real self, God, and mankind. Be honest, truthful, patient, kind to all lifeforms, and humble.” He also stated that to the Hawaiian of old, Aloha meant “God in us.”

So far, within Aloha, we have found an explanation of our place in the world and a code of ethics to help us with our interactions in the world. The only thing we are missing is our “prime directive” while we are here, and that too can be found within the root words that make up Aloha.

  • alo-1: sharing, 2: in the present
  • oha: joyous affection, joy
  • ha: life energy, life, breath

Using Hawaiian language’s grammatical rules, we will translate this literally as “The joyful sharing of life energy in the present” or simply “joy fully sharing life.”

So, we’ve seen that Aloha is indeed a way of life, an attitude, and it even contains guidelines to help us in our lives. It is most definitely a “word to the wise.”

In closing, I’d like to bring to mind another old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and point out that Aloha is a perfect example that in the Hawaiian language sometimes the opposite of this saying is true as well. So, the next time you greet a friend with “Aloha,” hold its meaning close to your heart and think of the picture you’re painting. It is indeed a beautiful world.


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