There is a Hawaiian legend to the effect that when the first ha'ole [pronounced ‘hao' leh’] (Hawaiian slang for Caucasian), presumably one of Captain Cook's crew, arrived at Kealakekua Bay on the Hawaiian island now known as Hawai'i (the ‘Big Island’), he came ashore, and asked the first native Hawaiian he saw, ‘What's the name of this island? Where do you live?’ The Hawaiian purportedly replied, ‘Hawai'i’. Not long thereafter the ha'ole went to another part of the Big Island and asked the next Hawaiian he saw, ‘Where do you live?’ The second Hawaiian purportedly replied, ‘Hawai'i.’ In due course other native Hawaiians gave the same answer, so the island was named ‘Hawai'i’.
The meaning and spirit of aloha
Most, if not all, of you would be familiar with the traditional Hawaiian word of friendly welcome, aloha (love, mercy, compassion). As a greeting, the word means hello, welcome, goodbye and farewell. However, there are several layers of meaning embedded (some say encoded) in the word. No one English word can adequately capture the meaning of the word, the derivation of which is most interesting and instructive. What follows is a brief but by no means complete exposition of some of the layers of meaning embedded in the word:-
alo: to be with, to face or to front, or, simply, face-to-face
For more on Hawaiian spirituality, as well as Hawaiian meditation, see this 2006 article of mine entitled "Hawaiian Spirituality and Meditation":