Mindfulness and the Aloha Response


  • Thao N Le
  • Pono Shim


In this article, we contend that an ancient, contemplative practice called mindfulness, often associated with the Buddhist tradition, shares much resonance with the indigenous wisdom of Aloha, the lifestyle and livelihood of Native Hawaiians. In fact, we propose that mindfulness is one tool and one form of mental energy that facilitates the discovery, recovery, and uncovery of the Aloha response leading to the experiential awareness and embodiment of Aloha. We also discuss how mindfulness in Hawai‘i can nurture individual and collective consciousness to respond with Aloha, thereby recovering the Native Hawaiian spirit on the islands. As they interact with clients and the community, social work practitioners in Hawai‘i can play a key, pivotal role in modeling aloha and encouraging others to engage with aloha.


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