My teacher used to get up in public and say, “Aloha is an Aramaic word spoken in the time of Jesus.” Every time he said it I’d cringe with the anticipation that someone would challenge his statement and I’d have no way to back it up.
So I did what I always do, no not google which in hindsight would have been much faster, I prayed. Not too long afterward while reading Yoga And Vegetarianism by Sharon Gannon she writes, “…the Aramaic word for the Divine, which is Alaha. Alaha means the interconnectedness of all beings and things: the oneness of being.” A few years later when I got around to googling it I learned the word for the divine in Aramaic is alaha or aloho, depending on the dialect.
“Aloha: To hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.” Queen Liliuokalani
The above definition from Queen Liliuokalani is close to alaha as “the interconnectedness of all beings and things,” since it it through that interconnectedness the one hears what can’t be said, seen what can’t be seen and know what can’t be known, it is the gift of empathy. Empathy is not the badge of courage so many “empaths” make it out to be. If empathy makes you suffer then you haven’t opened up your heart enough. It is through loving connection that all the best of life happens. When you live aloha your quality of life is enhanced dramatically.
Now enhancement isn’t all good as people might think. When someone tells me they want to experience universal oneness I kindly remind them that oneness includes all the shit in the world too. This is why Buddhist say you cannot prefer nirvana to samsara, because the instant you hold a preference you divide yourself in two and oneness isn’t sustainable. The same thing happened when Adam and Eve gained the knowledge of good and evil. They moved from the nourishment of the Tree of Life to the education of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Back down from the polarity of good and evil and you end up with preference. So an enlightened being does not prefer nirvana or heaven to samsara or hell.
Many people get the wrong impression about enlightenment. They think it’s a state of totally bliss where you never again experience or face negativity. Really? Tell that to Jesus as he hung on the cross. Enlightenment means you can eat shit and turn it into roses. I’m not one of them, yet, but truly enlightened people love everything. I don’t say like, I said love.
“If you forget, what is the basis of the forgiveness?” The 14th Dalai Lama
In the headspace of non-judgement clarity reigns supreme. Real aloha doesn’t judge. Real aloha assesses and responds with love. Not love in the romantic or even favored sense, but love as acceptance. Look at that last statement through the lens of forgiveness. When forgiveness happens it doesn’t erase the event. Whatever happened that needs forgiveness doesn’t suddenly disappear from history. What happens is acceptance. The injured has somehow transformed that pain into something they can accept instead of resist. It is the lack of resistance, the removing of the fight, flight or freeze about the event that allows the relaxation of openness. The heart and mind are decluttered.
“Turn on your heart light, let it shine wherever you go.” Neil Diamond
Ok this post is longer than I anticipated so I’ll end here. In Hawaii there isn’t one definition of aloha, and no one thinks their version is better than another’s, and it’s because in aloha respect and appreciation are naturally evokes from your heart and we love and respect the individual expression of aloha. Aloha is the way you express love to the best of your ability at this moment. Don’t let all that stuff I said clutter you. If it declutter a you then use it like a vacuum cleaner and put it away until you need it again, if ever.