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The Sound of Aloha
by Thomas Barth
(Thomas Barth is an internationally-known musician and musicologist whose recent album, "Beyond Black and White" has received very good reviews)

Look at two people who have changed their emotional states from loving to not loving. The same bodies, sitting in the same car or at the same table. But what has changed?

The tuning has changed! And with the tuning their sound has changed.

The string of an instrument needs the right tuning to sound "right". If the string is tuned too low, it means that it does not produce an audible sound anymore. Ultimately, the string lost its vibration. How does love sound once it has lost its vibration?

If you tighten a string too high, or apply too much power at once, it breaks. Pressure is a relative term, but the results of this pressure are always very real. When a string breaks, it breaks violently. How does love sound once it has broken up?

Between those extremes is the art of tuning, which is a key to the sound of Aloha.

From a musician's point of view, let's assume that our two people are two strings. Every string has its unique sound. Two strings resonating together produce a combined sound. This sound is either in harmony or in disharmony. We can hear and feel a state of harmony. It is a gut feeling, the KU knows.

We are intelligent and resourceful strings, therefore we are able to tune ourselves. That is a wonderful thing. When we are in a state of "being tuned" within ourselves and in harmony with the environment, we can 1) never be lonely and 2) create such a powerful and beautiful sound that the other strings in the environment want to be in harmony with it. They start to lean toward this harmony, like a sunflower follows the rays of the sun. It feels good to be with a person that radiates harmony, that IS creating harmony. Harmony is easy to achieve whenever we are successfully adjusting our own tuning.

In the process of tuning, we can see the seven HUNA principles at work.

IKE: the awareness and the beliefs about oneself, the other person and the environment.
KALA: the ability to change the pitch, to turn around an experience for the better and to be in sync with the other person and the environment, to be ready, able, and willing to "play together."
MAKIA: to focus on hearing harmony - even in discord.
MANAWA: to be able to tune right now, no matter which past experience might interfere with the present act of tuning oneself. In a way it is also the ability to "tune out" any disharmony from the past and any expected disharmony that might arise in the future (fear).
ALOHA: the result of tuning is harmony - which is to be happy with something and someone. As harmony creates harmony, the steps to creating it, such as non-judgement, and blessing the other 's presence even if you seem to be mad at each other, already improve the sound.
MANA: you can tune (and detune) yourself. You are responsible for doing that. Only you.
PONO: to tweak the sound until it sounds good, until you resonate well.

There is an interesting relationship between the words "responsible" and "resonate". They create space where a sound can unfold.

I made the observation that whenever I to tried to tune the other person while being NOT in tune with myself, the outcome was worse than before. I call this process, "Worsebettering". It means "to make things actually worse, but with good intent." I learned that this does rather break than make a relationship. "Worsebettering" is PONO gone wrong.

The process of tuning yourself is a life-long task. A precious instrument wants to be tuned by a skillful, experienced hand on a regular basis. If you are in a detuned state with someone else, you need sensitivity to hear what's wrong and sometimes also the courage to face that. You are 100% responsible for your own sound and 50% for the sound of you two together. You might hear things you do not want to hear. But you are the one who is able to change it for the better. You are a precious instrument and you want to sound with precious instruments, as your song of life is a precious one.

The sound of two notes that are resonating in harmony to each other creates overtones. The mix of these overtones is a component that makes a sound unique. When we say, "What a nice couple they are!", we are complimenting the overtones these two people bring out in each other.

You hear these overtones in the way they speak to each other, what kind of language they use, etc. There is a warmth that radiates from them. It is an uplifting, inspiring energy form. When we have a good, deep and long- lasting friendship with someone, we have a deep level of comfort, trust and mutual understanding. There is no love without friendship and there is no friendship without love. But what it all is, is a beautiful sound.

"Oh friends, not these tones! Let us raise our voices in more pleasing and more joyful sounds!" (from the "Ode to Joy" by Friedrich Schiller, as used in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony)

The key to the "sound of Aloha" is within yourself. And this key is your tuning fork. Stay tuned!

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