He Kapu Aloha
He Kapu AlohaA blog about Hawaiian ideas throughout moana-nui-akea
Manulani Aluli Meyer Blog #2: May, 2015
Ku kia’i mauna! Stand firm and protect Mauna Kea! Here is the external expression of our cultural knowing. This kia’i (guardian) role has stepped on to a world stage to turn facts into truth through social media, and its progress is affirmed, instructed and made mythic by a kapu aloha. He kapu aloha is a multidimensional concept and practice inspired by kupuna and ku’u aina aloha, our beloved lands. It has been used within Hawaiian cultural contexts for decades, but this may be the first time it has been brought out into the larger public sphere. It is a daring proposition indeed to bring a kapu aloha out in this manner because it runs the risk of ridicule, misunderstanding and misappropriation. I have found this idea/practice divine intervention and a call for non-dual thinking through the wisdom found in compassion.
Aloha Aina is made simple within this framework. We then become protectors not protesters. Our priorities are made clear and individual self-reflection then brings out the power, function and potential of an awakened collective. Clarity solidifies this movement and I feel our own transformation in the process. Maybe the kapu aloha was called because it called us!
I have learned much from beloved friend Pua Case and pilialoha Luana Busby-Neff. They called the kapu aloha because they have learned through their own history of protest, cultural practices, beliefs and values that aloha is the highest pono. It places a discipline of awareness on all to express reverence for those involved, especially those who are perceived to be polar to our efforts. A kapu aloha helps us intentionalize our thoughts, words and deeds without harm to others. It honors the energy and life found in aloha – compassion – and helps us focus on its ultimate purpose and meaning. He kapu aloha is a synonym for ahimsa, non-violence, and wakeful consciousness. It is the practice of reverence.
The word kapu is what brings aloha back into its oldest function. Kapu in this form asks us to bring reverence back into what aloha means. It is the main idea, practice and joy of beloved kupuna mystic Hale Makua. Aloha in this context is the core of Hawaiian intelligence. It is the rigor the world longs for, and it is the gold of this movement. You may wish to fight and spit at aloha but it will not respond in-kind. You may wish to yell at aloha but it will take a breath, hold hands with others and sing: “Aloha-e, aloha-e. Aloha-e, aloha-e.” It is an endless and infinite energy-field that has lifted anger from my heart and doubt from my lexicon. It is a spiritual rejuvenation for the world.
A kapu aloha has been called by Nā Ao Koa – by the Warriors of Light to help us protect Mauna a Wakea. It helps us re-center Aloha Aina once again so we can see, really see, the beauty that nourishes, inspires and teaches us how to best be in the world. Mana Moana, let us rise to this practice of compassion and reverence! Ku kia’i mauna!