The Way of Aloha: Healing for Body, Mind, Spirit, World
Christopher Knippers, Ph.D.
Healing can be facilitated through our perception of life. Aloha* is a way of life, including a way of perceiving all of creation, which brought a healing harmonious life to a select culture in Hawaii beginning many centuries ago. Aloha is basically a perception of all of creation as being interdependent, united, sacred, and deserving of respect. No real distinction is made between the natural world (land, sea, plants, animals) and humans. All are beloved by one Creator; and the way to harmony and healing in life is through recognition of the practice of Aloha, sacredness and value of all creation.
This world/life view is diametrically opposed to the prevailing world views which emphasize domination, competition, and superiority of one over another. The Aloha Way can be summed up in, “Cooperation, not domination.”
This approach to the world and all of its inhabitants has always upset the status quo. Religious and political systems often control their followers through creating a false division among its people, through engendering fear that some people don’t recognize the inherent superiority of the dominant class. And, because of the inherent value of our natural resources, one group tries to dominate the use of these resources. In the Aloha culture the goal is cooperation with all of creation.
Ever since the beautiful culture of Aloha being practiced many centuries ago in the Hawaiian archipelago by a small group of Pacific Islanders there have been violent clashes with invaders oppressing those who practiced it. Even today we are beginning to see a sort of invasion by entitled greedy visitors to Hawaii trampling over the Aloha spirit of the islands by disrespecting sacred lands, seas, flora and fauna.
King Kamehameha III overcame centuries of opposition to the practice of Aloha (think of it as a “religion”), and once again made it possible for people to dance hula (a vital art of the observation of Aloha), and other rituals/practices celebrating Aloha, along with allowing Christianity and other practices in the island nation . Even as recently as the 1940’s there were schools for Hawaiians which forbade the practice of hula and even the speaking of the Hawaiian language. That seems to have all been settled by now, and there are a small number of Hawaiians still observing and practicing the way of Aloha. True Hawaiians do show Aloha even to entitled, greedy, disrespectful invaders.
Many spiritual leaders throughout history have attempted to promote similar approaches to living (including the Christ). They have all had their influences, but the Way of Aloha and other similar approaches to life have not met with the support of prevailing religious and political philosophies which hold tight to their “power” over the populace by promoting fear, competitiveness, and addiction to power..
As a Caucasian “Hawaiian-by-birth” I was influenced strongly by Aloha as were my Christian missionary parents. I attempt to practice the Aloha Way. It is extremely challenging to go against the grain of the dominant world culture; but I still try.
I hope you will join me in practicing Aloha. We will find healing and harmony in our lives.
Christopher Knippers, Ph.D., 09/24/2022
* This writing is meant to present the essence of Aloha culture. Much more thorough explorations of this amazing culture can be found in other writings.