The Path of Aloha

The Path of Aloha

The Nine Principles
of the Path of Aloha

The Nine Principles of the Path of Aloha are shaped by the mana‘o maoli (indigenous worldview) of Hawai‘i. (See Aloha: the Journey & the Destination, below.) They remind us of the sacredness of the land and the continuity of life, of the opportunity that is ours to live as embodied Spirit, connected to our world, connected to Spirit, engaged, open, and embracing life’s wonders.

The Path of Aloha is a path of individual, personal spiritual experience, not of rules or commandments. It is through experience itself that we gain the perspective, understanding, and wisdom that we can then manifest in our daily lives. The understanding embodied in these principles arises spontaneously, inspired and informed by immersion in the direct experience of aloha.

However, when we claim these principles as our own, we complete the circle by establishing a vital and functional foundation for our spiritual evolution. Our life stories unfold in a profound pattern – the synergistic, cyclical interconnectedness of ‘ike (experience), kuana‘ike (worldview), mana‘o kuhi (expectation), and hana (behavior). There is no beginning or ending point to this cycle. At any point we can open ourselves to inspiration.

These principles describe an approach to life that supports us and offers that inspiration as we travel along the Path of Aloha. They are the expression of our aloha.

stylized image of a petroglyph depicting a man with the arch of heaven over his head

Aloha I Ka ‘Āina

loving the land

To the Kānaka Maoli (the native people of Hawai‘i), the oceans are pathways that connect the islands, not barriers that separate them. This is the way of all things – what we may perceive as a universe of disconnected objects separated by empty space is in reality a living, resonant web that joins us to all beings, all events, all times, all possibilities.

We are not separate from the land, and the land is not separate from Spirit. We are rooted in the land, nourished by its bounty, refreshed by its beauty – the land reminds us of the wonder of existence.

As it is expressed in the mo‘olelo (ancestral teachings), everything in our world is descended, like us, from Wākea the Sky Father and Papa the Earth Mother. We live, not in a mechanistic world of lifeless matter, but in a vibrant, luminous world where everything that surrounds us is a member of our own family, and is vital, aware, and ready to communicate with us.

We mālama (care for) the land – and our own bodies! – not because of some desperate realization that we are at risk of losing the foundation of our own physical existence, but willingly, joyfully, with hearts full of aloha and eyes open wide to the beauty of the ‘āina.

stylized image of a petroglyph depicting a man with the arch of heaven over his head

Nānā I Ke Kumu

looking to the source of wisdom:
the ancestors, guides, and guardians

We are never alone; our ancestry sings in our genetic code and sees the world through our eyes. The endless chain of being of which we are a part inspires and guides us, coming to us as the soft, sure voice of intuition. Our ancestors, whether near or distant in time and space, stand ever ready to guide, shelter, and share, bringing the perspective of Spirit to help us on our journey.

When we look to nā kūpuna (the ancestors) for guidance, we think first of our genetic relations. But we are the flowering of many kinds of ancestral trees, and our guides are many.

When we love a certain place – our birthplace or another land that we have come to love – the ancestors of that land (our geographic relations) shelter us.

When a certain heritage or culture captures our devotion, the ancestors of that heritage or culture (our ethnic or cultural relations) embrace us.

When we are inspired by a certain artist, or creative tradition, or path of social activism, we form a relationship with those who have preceded us, and whose passions we share (our inspirational relations).

And our spiritual relations watch over us as we walk the path of Spirit with them.

stylized image of a petroglyph depicting a man with the arch of heaven over his head

Kū I Ka Pono

standing in harmony, balance,
and proper relationship with all beings and with the spiritual and physical worlds

Pono distills into a sigle word the essential wisdom of nā kūpuna. The first meaning listed in the Hawaiian Dictionary is simply “goodness”. Pono is also frequently translated as “righteousness”, a word that may bring to mind images of the stiff-spined, black-suited missionaries who brought their ideas of civilization and morality to Hawai‘i two hundred years ago.

But there is much more to pono than that.

The deeper lesson of pono is that our natural condition is to be in harmony, balance, and unity. Body, mind, and spirit are one, and are inherently interconnected with all that is. All healing takes place in the context of pono – of healing our multi-dimensional relationships and restoring balance and harmony, within and without.

Kū I Ka Pono means to manifest all the qualities of true aloha – love, connection, caring, compassion, fairness, generosity, trust, honesty, kindness, courtesy, inclusiveness, hospitality, gratitude, reciprocity, patience, respect, humility, loyalty, friendship, cooperation, appreciation, optimism, supportiveness, humor, acceptance, unity, reverence, peace, understanding – for all beings, those of form and those of spirit, including ourselves.

If we could choose only a single principle to guide our spiritual journey, it should be Kū I Ka Pono.

stylized image of a petroglyph depicting a man with the arch of heaven over his head

Ulu I Ka No‘ono‘o

flourishing in inspiration and creativity

While we are all manifestations of the same universal consciousness, we are also individuals. Our goal is to grow into increasing awareness of universal Spirit and of aloha, while perfecting our individuality and uniqueness – each of us becoming the best “me” that we can be, right here, right now. As Thelonius Monk said, “A genius is the one most like himself.”

The path has a direction and a goal, but no ending. Our growth is continuous – we are complete in every moment, just the way we are, but each moment also offers us the chance to expand and flourish in creative and wonderful ways. We reach new levels of uniqueness and individuality, even as we realize more fully our oneness with all that is, with Spirit. You are you, and you are All.

To be inspired is to be a living expression of the full creativity of Spirit – to move in the world as our highest selves, in partnership with nā kūpuna and all beings of light and aloha.

When we welcome inspiration, we live creatively. That is when we are truly alive; not only when we engage in the arts or other creative expression, but when – especially when – we live each moment with spontaneity, authenticity, and insight, transcending our outdated patterns of habitual behavior, leaving behind judgment and comparison, and becoming co-creators of our reality.

stylized image of a petroglyph depicting a man with the arch of heaven over his head

Pūlama I Ka ‘Ohana

cherishing family

Although our aloha extends to all beings, it starts with ‘ohana – family.

Who is truly independent? Who can exist without the caring and support of others? We all need to know that there are those on whom we can depend, and who can depend on us.

Some may find that their path calls for them to reach beyond the family of their birth if they are to find the bonds of loyalty and love that they long for, but family – in whatever form it takes – is the beginning of our intimate connection with our universal family, with Spirit.

E aloha kākou – we love, and are loved.

stylized image of a petroglyph depicting a man with the arch of heaven over his head

Ho‘omau I Ka Nohona

perpetuating ancestral ways

What treasures have we received from our many ancestors? Which of their traditions – their skills, values, and insights – do we honor through study, practice, and ceremony?

We honor tradition when we perpetuate it – when we bring the best of the past forward, then work creatively within the dynamic flow of tradition, with sensitivity, respect, and knowledge of what has come before. To preserve ancestral ways is merely an attempt to halt the flow of change; but change will come, and it is up to us to guide change with aloha, whatever our heritage or worldview.

A living tradition welcomes appropriate innovation – although what is considered appropriate will vary from tradition to tradition. Even traditions that reserve innovation for the accomplished master offer the student an opportunity to infuse their practice with the immediacy of their own life force and experience.

The song E Mau Ana Ka Ha‘aheo says:

Me nā mea ‘oi loa
Mai nā wā ma mua
E holomua kākou i kēia ao
Ua hiki mai ka wana‘ao
No ka ho‘ōla
A me ka ho‘āla hou

Using the very best things
From times past
Let us move forward in this age
The dawn has indeed arrived
For revitalization
And reawakening

E Mau Ana Ka Ha‘aheo

composed by Haunani Apoliona

Recorded by the group Olomana on the CD E Mau Ana Ka Ha‘aheo

E mau ana ka ha‘aheo
Ka ha‘aheo o ka nohona
Ke ola kamaehu o ka lāhui
O ka lāhui Hawai‘i
E mau ana ka ha‘aheo
Ka ha‘aheo o ka nohona
Ka lāhui pono‘ī o nā kai
O nā kai ‘ewalu

Me nā mea ‘oi loa
Mai nā wā ma mua
E holomua kākou i kēia ao
Ua hiki mai ka wana‘ao
No ka ho‘ōla
Ā me ka ho‘āla hou

E hō‘ā kākou
I ka lama kūpono
No nā hulu Hawai‘i
E kūkulu a‘e kākou
No ke ea o ka ‘āina
Me ke aloha ā me ke ahonui

Pride shall endure
Pride in our way of life
A way that is firm and resolute in our people
The Hawaiian people
Pride shall endure
Pride in our way of life
For these people of the seas
The eight seas

Using the very best things
From times past
Let us move forward in this age
The dawn has indeed arrived
For revitalization
And reawakening

Let us set aglow
The flame of justice
For all Hawaiians
Let us build
For the life of the land
With compassion and patience


That is indeed the goal – to perpetuate the traditions passed down to us from nā kūpuna, while embracing the creative potential of the present moment.

stylized image of a petroglyph depicting a man with the arch of heaven over his head

I Ka Mea Hiwahiwa

being grateful, and thereby
making better that which you appreciate

The Hawaiian word for blessing, ho‘omaika‘i, also means to thank, congratulate, praise, or improve. A variation, ho‘opōmaika‘i, includes the understanding that the things we bless, as well as our power to bless them, are gifts from Spirit.

When we express our gratitude, affection, approval, and aspirations, we are calling upon Spirit to echo our intentions and amplify our mana (spiritual energy or life-force) – to resonate with our authentic good will and appreciation of the gifts we have received and will continue to receive.

stylized image of a petroglyph depicting a man with the arch of heaven over his head

Ho‘onanea Wale

simply relaxing and enjoying life

When we view our world with open eyes and hearts, we see a place of stunning beauty, made for enjoyment, for sharing beauty and abundance in the experience of aloha.

When we relax physically, mentally, and emotionally, we open to Spirit and release old patterns and ways of being that no longer serve us on our path.

stylized image of a petroglyph depicting a man with the arch of heaven over his head

Hilina‘i I Ke Ala

trusting your path

Think for yourself!

Question, evaluate, analyze, and process. Honor science, fact, and logic.

But honor inspiration, intuition, and imagination, too.

Do you remember those times when you felt that the world was a place of wonder and beauty, and that everything was working out perfectly?

That feeling – yes! Trust that.

Scroll past the image for
Aloha: The Journey & the Destination

Aloha: The Journey
& the Destination

Aloha means love. Love, compassion, friendship, and a welcoming embrace.

Going deeper, we see that aloha also means the profound recognition that, as we look through our eyes out to the world around us, each person that we see carries the same Spirit, the same sense of self, the same mystery of existence, the same ability to experience the source of their being that we do.

And even beyond that, the word aloha describes what we experience, what we feel and know, when we are directly in touch with the life-force arising within us from its infinite source.

Aloha is Ka Lā i ka Mauli Ola: the Sun in the Breath of Life.

The Path of Aloha Begins Within You

To feel aloha is to feel creation happening in the moment. It is returning home to be immersed in universal consciousness, to feel the joy of living as Spirit embodied.

To feel aloha, to express aloha, to be aloha – this is our goal. It is as human as hope, as universal as breath – but the path to that goal shifts and changes throughout the ages, evolving to suit our needs, our worldviews, our cultures, our archetypes. At every moment, the path lies right beneath our feet, awaiting only the conscious step, the commitment to move forward in love and awareness – but the path will not be the same for everyone at every time. There are many ways forward on the path, and many guides to help along the way.

Pili (Lyn ‘Unihipiliowailelepualu Moreno) has been called to carry the knowledge of one such way. The Path of Aloha is a path of spiritual self-knowledge and meditation deeply rooted in the traditional wisdom and aloha of nā kūpuna – the elders and ancestors of Hawai‘i. Nā kūpuna teach us that aloha is more than a word of greeting, and indeed means more even than love, friendship, acceptance, or compassion.

‘Ōkupu Meditation

Aloha is primordial, unconditional love. ‘Ōkupu meditation reveals this clearly, offering a direct perception of aloha expressing itself as the universal creative force, the vibrant wellspring of existence. As we direct our attention inward, we are immersed in Spirit and connected to our infinite source. This experience becomes the natural focus of meditation.

What is Meditation?

The word meditation is often used to mean thinking about something in a deep and focused way. To prevent confusion, let’s call that contemplation instead.

petroglyph of concentric circles

Meditation, therefore, can be described as awareness without thought, knowing without words – a direct, personal experience of our spiritual self that comes from turning our attention inward to that which exists beyond the physical, mental, or emotional, while at the same time encompassing them. In ‘Ōkupu meditation, we direct our attention to the aloha arising within us as the universal creative force.

‘Ōkupu meditation is inspirational, centering, grounding, and joyful. It clears our vision, focuses our intention, awakens our compassion, enlivens our creativity, and empowers our highest aspirations and best wishes for all beings (including ourselves). ‘Ōkupu meditation aligns body, mind, and spirit, Earth, human, and Ke Akua (universal consciousness, the Creator) to send waves of healing through ourselves and outward to others, to the Earth, to the Universe.

In this video, Pili discusses the Path of Aloha with Nancy Bloom on her show “Life Passages: The Soul’s Journey”.

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