Aloha is commonly used as both greeting and farewell in Hawaii, but, the spirit of aloha goes beyond simple salutations.

The word Aloha holds within itself all one needs to know to interact rightfully in the world. Aloha means sharing love, peace and compassion.

Inspired by Maui elder and linguist Pilahi Paki’s impassioned speech to community leaders, the law (Hawaii Revised Statutes, section 5-7.5) was passed in 1986 and defines aloha as an acronym:

Akahai, meaning kindness, to be expressed with tenderness;
Lōkahi, meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;
ʻOluʻolu, meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
Haʻahaʻa, meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;
Ahonui, meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.”

The late Haleaka Iolani Pule, a teacher of Hawaiian spirituality, described aloha as “our innate sense to love things unconditionally… It’s a symbiotic relationship and the acknowledgement of that symbiotic relationship that you have with everything in the universe around you and recognizing exactly your space within it.”

You will know the spirit of aloha when you feel it. For example, when you visit a friend’s house and are welcomed by their family with open arms, or when you come home after a long day to find a neighbor has left you a bag of freshly picked peaches on the porch. A moment of aloha can be as simple as exchanging smiles with a stranger.

The aloha spirit could be applied to any situation: From a bus depot to a busy day at the office, everyone can benefit from a little more aloha in their lives. Let’s start living real aloha.

I want to extend a sincere mahalo nui loa to those who are working to share their knowledge and showing me how to live aloha through their examples.