‘Aloha’ is a traditional Hawaiian greeting for hello and goodbye. The word, ‘aloha’ is made up of ‘alo’ meaning presence or face, and ‘ha’ meaning breath. Aloha is translated into the ‘breath of life’ or the ‘presence of breath.’ The meaning of ‘aloha’ brings an essential message in terms of how we relate to ourselves and to others.
Why is breath so significant – and how does it represent a spirit of harmony and mutual respect? In traditional cultures connected to Mother Earth, why was the breath honoured as sacred and connected to affection?
Breath connects us to life itself. It is the neutral space between light and dark, life and death, constantly journeying between expansion and contraction, opening and closing. Breath is our barometer of what is occuring inside our internal field, yet it moves beyond our inner boundaries. When we are in synch with each other, we start to subconsciously breathe together. When we are not breathing sufficiently, we are feeling unwell, tired, anxious, depressed, etc. The source of these maladies is simply “disconnection” – disconnection to ourselves, disconnection to life itself. We don’t need to go searching on the outside for answers.
If there’s only one thing to remember for the rest of your life (out of the thousands of words, ideas, expressions wanting to be noticed), it is to breathe. Breathe wholly, truly, deeply, lovingly, blissfully, peacefully. The breathe will always reflect what goes on within. It can also radically alter the entire internal landscape from which one views the world, and one’s feeling centre.
Our feelings are not always controllable – watch when your tendency may be to react – see what arises – what is there? Develop these sensors as they are like internal ‘gold.’ Self-control is important for so-called spiritual people to be the embodiment of spiritual principles. There is a missing piece if one is not able to act out of integrity – if love is missing from our response. Byron Katie wrote something of pivotal importance to this point – “Self-realization is not complete until it lives in action.” Breath is the meeting point between life and death, between the spiritual world and human embodiment.
An arising issue is one of ego identification.
I’ve had a few ‘egos’ attacking or belittling me. What made these attacks surprising was that it came not from ‘ordinary’ folk, but from people claiming to be healers or light-workers. I do not claim to be enlightened. Like everyone else, I am learning and evolving. I would encourage everyone to understand that we are all together as souls advancing, unifying, expanding, evolving, and that we don’t always get it right. My communication is not always going to be understood; nobody is perfect. We have misunderstandings.
We are fed intelligence all the time. How do we respond to the feedback, to the stimuli we receive – with resistance or acceptance?
The emotion that often causes provocation is fear. Fear can be a strong harbinger of change. Watch how feelings overpower balance or common-sense. Observe how an emotional response takes over the wisdom of the spiritual intellect.
Reactiveness is a symptom of not being present, of not having developed discernment, yet mostly it shows that we are not breathing fully. Our suffering begins with this resistance – this battle with the reality that has presented itself. If we are not able to observe with neutrality, we can easily fight with the present moment. If we are not able to breathe, we can be easily pulled away from awareness.
If you feel ‘triggered’ – seek awareness first – take a few deep breaths before reacting. Eckhart Tolle teaches – “With awareness there comes choice. And so you are able to say: “I allow this moment to be as it is.” And then, suddenly, where before there was irritation, there is now a sense of aliveness and peace. And out of that comes right action.”
Misunderstandings are part of what makes us human. Let’s join together to share and celebrate our differences and not be dismissive or territorial or jealous of one another. If you feel angry, learn from it. Expand and evolve with it by seeing the inherent lesson. This is our PATH as human BEINGS. All paths are valid – paths to the ONE.
Thích Nhất Hạnh’s teaching is so vital to instill peace – “When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
We have a shared experience in being alive, being in physical bodies (male, female, or something in between). Many of the things that make us human are common to us all, like the need to be loved, touched, held, supported, connected to other people. We all come from the same root, but the tree of humanity has different leaves that reflect a multitude of races and cultures.
So-called “spiritual” people occupy the same body and have the exact-same needs as everyone else. They are also party to the ego (false self), to identifying selfishly with their own feelings. Spiritual people can be just as reactive as anyone else, and often violently so.
What does it mean to be ‘spiritual?’ There is no universal definition. There are many shades, many opinions, and it is accurate to say that all versions are valid. Teachings come along at times for a short time, they may be valid and applicable for a period, and then become irrelevant, especially when the lesson is learned. Teachers share their truth, and most of us move between teachers and teachings and hopefully, in time, find our own way. And in this way, graduate to become teachers.
We are all here to share and create our own human experience – to tell our own story. We are always creating on some level – as powerful co-creators.
We are all manifestations of the One Divine Light – and by this definition, we are the same and yet also uniquely different. Just like each ice crystal has the same properties yet manifests differently. As evolving beings, we are here to experience all shades of feeling.
When we empty our minds, we sense the openness and freedom of light, and wisdom rushes in.
Such a flow is effortless much like a waterfall flows freely because it is unblocked, because water is formless, much like breath is formless.
This is the power of ‘going with the flow.’ In non-resistance to feeling and observing, we reach ‘transcendence,’ our mind becomes clear. In a state of allowance, all is welcomed to be felt, aligned and experienced. If we align our judgements, then naturally and effortlessly, peace is engendered. This path is the way to clarity, to allow what is presenting, and hence not only to find peace, but to embody peace.
For ultimately, spiritual living in action is called ‘peace.’ Peace is the natural state of all beings. As children of the light, it is our birthright to be peaceful.
As children of Earth, it is our birthright to breathe. Let’s not battle each other – let’s breathe together.