The three-part film “Native of Owhyhee” on ‘Ōlelo Community Television has given me unlimited points to consider about the Hawaiian understanding of spiritual realities. The Western approach to talking about spiritual realities is that there is only one way to talk about them and to think about them. The Hawaiian approach as I am coming to understand, is that spirituality is so vast, so complex and multi-layered that we must allow for different ways and words to talk about the same reality and not view a way different from our own as being wrong and needing to be contested.
This strikes me as true to life. There have been times when I have overheard two people talking about something with such completely different takes on what they were discussing that I thought they were talking about different things, only to surprisingly discover later that they were actually talking about the same thing! It seems that the struggle to grow into our maturity… whether psychological, emotional, or spiritual… is the struggle for balance, the struggle to not take refuge in extremism of one sort or another, the struggle to be open to different points of view. I believe that quest for balance begins with the assumption that something about what the other is saying has validity and shows a real desire to understand the other’s point of view.
So this brings up the issue of how we approach others, with what kind of attitude we bring to our relationships. We have all had the experience of being the scapegoat for someone else’s bad day. Do we ever consider that due to our psychological, emotional, and spiritual immaturity there’s a chance we’ll automatically approach others with a combative attitude, with the unacknowledged intention of “winning” in conversations with them? I am finding that “Native of Owhyhee” is giving me real insights into the Hawaiian approach to others, to God and to today’s issues. I would recommend this film to everyone.