I'm off to visit the Aloha State in a few days. It's been a powerful draw for a while now. Other than the obvious idyllic climate and setting, apparently Polynesian Culture is rooted in a philosophical ground that is very much in tune with Tantra. And the Great Volcano Goddess Pele is certainly making her presence known at the moment, which promises powerful energies to soak up. I'm looking forward to it!
The word "Aloha" is commonly used as a greeting in Hawaii, and it can also be used to describe the way one treats others. With Aloha means with affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. I'm struck by how similar those are to the 4 Brahmaviharas or Divine Attitudes espoused by both Patanjali and the Buddha: Loving Kindness, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity. I'm also curious as to what effect this has on people, even if it's just on a very subtle level, as this is often the first word out of people's mouths as they greet each other. What's it like to set the tone with affection, peace, compassion, and mercy?
I became curious as to the origin and meaning of our most common greeting, "hello." It turns out the word has only been in common use since the late 1800's, having come into prominence after Thomas Edison decided it would be the most suitable greeting when answering the telephone. It won over Alexander Graham Bell's suggestion to use the naval-inspired "ahoy" instead. And what does hello mean? Well, it comes from "hollo" which was the shout used in a hunt when the quarry was spotted.
And so we have two greetings that couldn't possibly be more different. One elevates the ego, the other the Soul. Which would you choose? On and off the mat, even if it's on a subtle level, I want to ensure my thoughts are expressed through words that carry forward the appropriate actions to form good habits and cultivate wholesome relationships. So words are important. Instead of saying "hello hips" when I get into an intense posture, I'm going to try saying "aloha hips" instead. ;)
I look forward to greeting everyone in Hawaii using "Aloha" without a hint of irony or disingenuousness, which I fear is the way it would be interpreted where live, even though I would absolutely love to be able to use it in my every interaction without hesitation. I'll let you know how it goes.