The Hawaiian Islands of Oahu and Maui were part of my trip around the world this year. The first word that comes to one’s mind when thinking of Hawaii is ALOHA! I always thought Aloha is just a greeting, especially used among surfers. But far wrong. There is so much more to Aloha and you will notice once you set a foot on these remarkable islands.
Besides standing for “Hello” and “Goodbye”, Aloha in the Hawaiian language also means affection, peace, compassion and mercy. On Hawaii, Aloha is everywhere: People greet you when you enter their stores, you will see it in Waikiki on the boardwalk while waiting for the traffic light or on the shirts of the waiters at Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina, Maui.
For Hawaiians, it is not just a fancy word that they use excessively. They mean it. And they practice it. But how do you practice Aloha?
Wayne Kealohi Powell describes in an article the way of Aloha as a path that emphasizes acceptance, forgiveness and cooperation through the development of hyper-awareness, inner power, friendship and unity, the practice of survival/exploring skills, and an ethic of “love and be loved”. Aloha should be understood as an active, non-violent way of life and thinking about it, it reminds me a lot of the principle of Ahimsa (a non-violent life and compassion for all living things) in Yoga.
Living Aloha is a way of life that all the great masters have taught us in their own language throughout time. The problem is that we have all been trained to respond to things as warriors rather than with Aloha . “The world is a dangerous place,” is the root belief of the warrior. “The world is a loving place” is the belief in Aloha.
Practicing Aloha also means practicing non-judgement, which for me is very important. I’m judging all the time. Judging about others and most of all judge me. Generally, practicing non-judgement means learning to let go rather the actually decide that you aren’t going to judge. I’m getting better at this, but I always have to remind me that the more I remove judgment from my thinking, the more love and happiness will flow in my life.
Here is one trick: Every time something or someone really annoys you, think ALOHA. Try to visualize the word, the letters. This will help you to calm down.
The Lady in front of you in the line at the supermarket checkout tries twenty different credit cards and you have to wait? Don’t be angry, don’t judge. Practice Aloha!
The young woman sitting across from you on a commuter train is chewing gum in a very loud and inadequate way? Don’t focus on her. Practice Aloha!
The new guy in the office is a huge show-off? Dont’ judge. Practice Aloha!
Everyone in your yoga class seems to be fitter and more flexible than you? Don’t judge yourself. Practice Aloha, accept and love the way you are.
Well, in this sense… MAHALO for reading this article! Happy practicing Aloha!