I recently learned a Hawaiian word whose meaning really struck a chord with me: kīnāʻole. It can be said that kīnāʻole means ‘flawlessness’ and ‘the highest form of excellence.’ Beyond its English interpretation, kīnāʻole holds a level of depth that is lost in translation. How it was described to me is that kīnāʻole is “Doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, to the right person, for the right reason, with the right feeling and the right force… the first time.” The level of precision and perfection that kīnāʻole represents is a calling to bring the highest form of consciousness to every interaction we have and living on an island or in a small town, we intuitively know the importance of this word.
Over the weekend, a friend and I were marveling at just how captivating and alive the natural world is here in Maui. She then shared an amazing insight with me. She said that while other cultures have built monuments and statues much different than a heiau, Hawaiians also built a spiritual legacy. She went on to say that this spiritual legacy is so strong that we can still feel it today.
It’s clear to me that this spiritual legacy was cultivated through, among other things, a deep recognition of kīnāʻole among Hawaiians. Through this deep understanding of acting in perfect alignment with all of creation, kīnāʻole is achieved. The mountain understands kīnāʻole. The rose knows kīnāʻole. And as someone who has just been introduced to kīnāʻole, I am humbled at the very notion that as people, we have the capacity to possess such grace.