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Matt James Ph.D.

Aloha Awareness

Bring less mindlessness, more mindfulness into your life.

Aloha Awareness

Remember that recent Nielsen survey that found the average American watches 150 hours of television each month—almost 75 days per year? And there have been recent articles saying nearly half of young children ages 3 to 5 don't get taken outdoors by their parents to play. What if people used some of that 150 hours of TV time and spent it instead playing or just spending time with their kids?

With spring here and summer on the way, being outdoors alone or with loved ones is a great way to practice increasing your awareness and become more pono in the process.

All the letters in the word Aloha symbolize deeper teaching inherent in the word. In Aloha, the first A stands for alo – to be aware of and pay attention to all that is around us at any given moment. This idea has recently been popularized in western thought as mindfulness.

When we take time off, whether it is a break for a few minutes outdoors to play with our kids or a true vacation, unplugged from all our daily distractions, we find ourselves more aware as we spend more time living in the moment. This is something I have taught for awhile, but I was struck by it again recently while celebrating my 10th anniversary with my wife, relaxing on the beach.

So many people who come here to Hawaii experience that sense of Aloha, that deeper teaching that allows you to become Pono. I remember Uncle George Naope, before he passed away, once said at one of our workshops that God loved the Hawaiians more than anyone else because he gave us this sense of Aloha rather than a lot of mineral or material wealth. He said Aloha is not something you can buy; it is not something you can go find in a store. You have to find it within.

There is an ancient saying here in the islands: Before you can have Aloha, you must do Aloha. But before you can do Aloha you must be Aloha – you must become the essence of what Aloha is. But before you can become Aloha, you must choose Aloha – you must make the choice to practice Aloha. Before you can choose Aloha, though, you must have the power to choose. And before you can have the power to choose, you must be conscious of the source.

The question then becomes how do you find the source of Aloha and bring that into your life and make it part of who you are? That's a question we will continue to explore here and at

Got questions? Please respond here or contact me through my Facebook fan page, Twitter, or my blog.


Matthew B. James, MA, Ph.D., is President of Kona University and its training and seminar division The Empowerment Partnership, where he serves as a master trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), a practical behavioral technology for helping people achieve their desired results in life. His new book, The Foundation of Huna: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times, details forgiveness and meditation techniques used in Hawaii for hundreds of years. He carries on the lineage of one of the last practicing kahuna of mental health and wellbeing. To reach Dr. James, please e-mail him at


About the Author

Matthew B. James, Ph.D., is the president of The Empowerment Partnership in Hawaii and the author of The Foundation of Huna: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times.