Living Aloha, The Way of the Heart

The Meaning of Aloha 

'Akahai - to be Unassuming 
Lokahi - to be in Harmony 
'Oia'i'o - to be Truthful 
Ha'aha'a - to be Humble 
Ahonui - to be Patient and Perseverant

Even today in a rapidly changing world, like a mist that clings to the mountains, is the ingredient that keeps Hawai’i constant, and what attracts people from all over the world to these beautiful islands.  “Aloha, komo mai”, which means “welcome.  Come bring your heritage, your culture, your family.  All we ask is that you learn what aloha is all about”.  

Hawaiian Spirituality describes Aloha as "our innate sense to love things unconditionally.  It is  symbiotic relationship and the acknowledgment of that symbiotic relationship that you have with everything in the universe around you and recognizing exactly your space within it". - Haleaka Ionlani Pule  

Another definition: "Aloha is unconditional love, for it is the outpouring and receiving of spirit.  It is an expression of unconditional kindness, hospitality, spirituality, cooperativeness with humility, unity and graciousness that touches the world of others."   - from the book, Managing with Aloha   

In the Hawaiian culture, the use of the words "spirit" or "spirituality refers to the spirit within you. You could call it the breath of your life; the voice of your soul.  Aloha is about tapping into that spirit that is inside you; embracing your intuition and gut-level feelings.    

For the Hawaiians, it is important to acknowledge your own spirituality and to become comfortable with it. In the Hawaiian culture, one's spiritual power is assumed and celebrated.  Individual religions of the world are recognized as different expressions people have for their own spirituality within themselves, and they have made a choice as to who they will honor in their gratefulness.  Many Hawaiians, while honoring their culture and tradition, are also Christians. 

When a Hawaiian says to you "I have Aloha for you", they are saying they have love and the utmost respect for who you are.  Expressing Aloha to you is their unconditional love and acceptance of the spirit that was created within you upon your birth.  It is the unwavering belief that the spirit within you is innately good.  

Aloha is also the outpouring of their own spirit, freely given to you to receive from them, as well.   In doing so, they have faith in you and trust in you to respect and honor their Aloha in return, accepting without question that they have given it to you with nothing but good intent.  


People in Hawai'i also don't just say "Aloha", they do things with Aloha.  Aloha is actually a verb rather than a noun.  It is about taking action with loving kindness and choosing to always see the good in everything.   Your boss at work will sign emails and checks "with Aloha"; smoothies can be blended with Aloha; and tour buses, according to their bumpers, are even driven with Aloha.   


It is as if people in Hawai'i are constantly surrounded by an affirmation or mantra to live with love, which spills over into the state's highly social and family-oriented culture - 'Ohana.  The Hawaiian concept of 'Ohana (the word for family), goes hand in hand with Aloha; and the word is not limited to the nuclear concept of family.  It also includes those we choose to call our family for the connection we share with them that enriches our life. For example, people who have business colleagues in Hawai'i; they have work 'ohana.   

When you choose to begin every interaction or task with Aloha, you are creating an atmosphere or friendliness and love.   
living with Aloha can help you master your own emotions and teach you to look at the bright side of life, to find what is bringing you joy in life, a smile to your face, no matter what is going on around you.     

The ancient Hawaiian people created this system of Living Aloha, that can also be called Spiritual Partnerships through Loving Actions, because they found themselves to be the most isolated island group in the world.  By necessity, they had to do things differently to survive, and they have been successful with it.  A nationwide Gallup study from 2009 through 2017 has found Hawai'i to be the #1 state for well being and happiness - even with how expensive it is to live there.    

Aloha is:   

  • that feeling of a smile so big it cracks your face from your heart   
  • the fragrance and color of a beautiful flower   
  • the sound of children laughing and playing   
  • the Spirit behind all creation   
  • the Way of the Heart that can be practiced and experienced anywhere, anytime and with anyone   
  • a path of love, harmony and appreciation for the beauty in all things and people   
  • available only in this eternal moment of NOW   

The Kahuna David Bray interprets this Aloha fundamental code of ethics – “come forward, be in unity and harmony with your real self, God and mankind.  Be honest, truthful, patient, kind to all life forms, and humble.”  He also stated that to the Hawaiians of old Aloha meant – “God in us”. 

Bless the Present - Trust Yourself - Expect the Best

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