It is the philosophy of the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar that good music doesn’t come from the ego, it comes from the heart. To play with aloha in our hearts, we must learn to make the way of aloha an integral, “living” part of our own existence.

Perhaps, the first step is to understand the thought that Hawaiians have named haʻahaʻa. This is the concept of humility. Get away from the city and look up at the firmament on some dark and starry night. Do you feel the wonder in your heart? What an incredible Universe this truly is. So vast. So unknowable. When we realize that there are forces much greater than ourselves all around us, we begin to grasp the simple concept of haʻahaʻa..

Somehow, as human beings, we bring with us a complex story. This is the story of who we are, how we got to be the way we are, where we went to school, what kind of cars we drive, who we married and what we do for a living. Our stories have become the elaborate and confining cornerstones of our lives. The wall of the ego grows larger with each re-telling, “Hey – I did this! I did that!” Our story gets louder and louder. Me. Me.

Isn’t this a lot to carry around in our lives? Its kind of like going to the train station with the same huge load of luggage, year after year. Some of us are so obsessed with our own story, that we have little room for anything else in our lives. We begin to feel an emptiness that we can’t define.

To practice haʻahaʻa, try turning down the volume of your story.

Tomorrow morning at the very first moment you wake up, don’t rush to make the coffee, don’t bolt out of bed. Stay quiet for a while. Try to still the surface waters of your mind. Now fill your senses with the word “Mahalo” (thank you). What a beautiful word that is, Mahalo. Form the word with your lips and speak it softly to yourself. Say it again in the privacy of your heart. Say it out loud. Feel it on your breath as it flows out into the world.

Feels kind of nice, doesn’t it? Kind of a pleasant way to start the day? In your heart you begin to discover an unaccustomed humility. It is the beginning of a new dawn and you chant the Universe.

Keola Beamer
Maui, Hawaiʻi

Next: G Double Slack Tuning.