I’ve had the amazing privilege studying with and learning from many traditions. In addition to that, I’ve gotten to experience some truly gifted individuals who teach at our Huna Workshop.
(If you are not sure what Huna is, click here for the link to a previous article about Huna.
One of the most important concepts that you can learn from the Hawaiian tradition is aloha. It’s not just a greeting but it’s a life philosophy the ancient Hawaiians lived from. According to Papa Bray, David “Daddy” Bray (his father) always taught that to truly experience ho`omana (empowerment), one needs to know the deeper teaching of aloha.
Uncle George Na`ope, who attended and taught at our Huna workshops from the very beginning would often say that the Hawaiians were so blessed. They had no gold, no silver, no diamonds or precious stones. All they had was aloha. And you cannot buy or sell aloha. You can only experience it and live it.
Uncle George’s sister, who still comes to every workshop to this day, tells me that the most powerful thing you can learn is how to live aloha. She said that if you really live from aloha, everything else will come easily. When it was my turn to teach at the workshop, she reminded me that this needs to be taught at every workshop and that every student needs to realize how important it is in life to live this teaching of aloha.
Because understanding aloha at a deeper level can make such a significant impact on your life, I felt that it would be great to start off this new year with a series of five articles on the profound teachings of aloha.
One way to approach aloha is to understand the key concepts based on the letters in the word itself: ALOHA.
The first A can represent the concepts of “ala” and “ao.”
“Ala” means watchful alertness, being totally present in this moment. In my last blog that I wrote about tradition I described the need to be present. Well, “ala” is being watchful or being alert.
Too many of us walk through life focusing on anything other than what we are doing or where we are. I get to travel all around the world, and I love to watch people as the get off the plane. Rather than looking around, so many people are focused on their phones. They’re answering emails, sending texts, answering voicemail.
I understand the importance of communication and the need to connect with your office after a long plane ride. We’ve all got so much to do! But all of us can take a minute to connect with where we are. To take a breath and be present before jumping into the busyness.
It’s about learning to focus in each moment and not be somewhere else. We are what we repeatedly do. We become our habits. Good and bad behaviors shape who we are and what we become.
After I write this blog, I am going to go and spend time with my daughter. I am going to shut off my phone and focus on some wonderful play time. And right now as I am writing this, I am 100% focused on this article. I believe that my ability to do that flows from practicing being present in the moment in many different areas.
So next time you are in a new place, my assignment for you (if you choose to accept it!) is to stop for a moment and “smell the roses.” Really notice where you are if only for a moment, and let that will become a new habit.
The A in aloha can also mean “ao” or light.
My kumu (teacher) Etua says that we have the “black ball” and we have the “white ball” and we all get to choose which one we play with.
In my next book that deals with the unconscious mind, I talk about the “black ball” from the Jungian concept of the Shadow. However, for the purpose of learning aloha, let’s just say you have a choice.
Daddy Bray did not shy away from the fact that there are people in this world that choose do negative things if given the choice. In fact, we all have that choice. It’s a decision we make in our smallest daily actions as well as the overall big picture of the lives we choose to lead. We all get to choose whether we want our paths to be toward the light — or not.
(Here is a video in which I talk about the meaning of the light.)
So to recap: The A in aloha stands for “ala” (to be alert and watchful) and “ao” (the light). My next blogs will talk about the meanings of aloha’s other letters, and how to practice these qualities to bring more aloha to our lives!
Photo by gtall1