I am an Orthodox Christian Monk born in Brooklyn, NY in 1949. I am not Hawaiian. My intersection with Hawaiʻi came in 2004 from within my monastic experience and its values which have formed me now for forty years. Monasticism, whether East or West, is about living a life that is straightforward, free of pretense and flirtation, free of game-playing. It is a life that is more conducive to authentic and genuine relationships with others. Being a monk has helped me to learn how to love others for themselves and not for whatever thrills they can give me. In short, monasticism and its values and ascetic tools have taught me how to be authentic!
What could be more primal, more basic, than relationships? So far as I can see from Mainland, relationship is what all of Hawaiʻi’s values are grounded in: Aloha, ʻOhana, Kuleana! Living rightly with others and with the land. Being authentic in those relationships even while realizing a sense of obligation in those relationships. One which frees the heart to escape the prison of its self-centeredness and selfishness!
When someone recently suggested that I write about death and dying I drew a blank! Yes, lots has been written about both of these things but neither of them have been within my own actual experience… at least not yet! [Ed. note: this post was first published four years before Kahu’s mother passed in January 2016.] I prefer to speak out of my own experience, which has been the struggle to live authentically. Living is what life is about, not preparing for death, not taking refuge from life’s demands, not practicing being dead!
My makeup is such that what I like, I love, and what I dislike, I hate! I can identify with a friend many years ago who made the comment when talking about garlic, “Too much… is just enough!”
And that’s how I feel about Hawaiʻi: “Too much… is just enough!”