I woke up in the middle of the night last night with a heightened awareness that someone was awake and and watchful at the top of the highest mountain in the world — Mauna Kea. For a split second, it was as if I was looking through his eyes, or was just behind his head looking out on the cold, dark shapes of the mountain. I could feel a calmness in the alert gaze, a watchfulness that was full of love, a welcoming of this kuleana (responsibility) to watch over the land and the people even through the night.
There is a growing movement at the top of Mauna Kea, and all over the world, to support the Hawaiian people in protecting their sacred mountain. They are fighting a century and a half of oppression after having the sovereign and internationally recognized Kingdom of Hawai’i invaded and captured by the United States. This is the same United States that goes to war around the world to ‘protect’ other nations from foreign invasion. Since the invasion, Hawaiians have been maginalized, exploited, and robbed of their land.
They have finally said ‘Enough’, and are standing to protect their most sacred mountain from the building of a thirty metre telescope (the TMT). Hawaiian communities and supporters have awoken all over the world to stand in solidarity with the protectors. Thousands have gathered at the access road to the summit to prevent construction crews from heading up the mountain and breaking ground. As they gather, they feed, educate and celebrate with all who come, and with the world. They gather in a peaceful resistance called Kapu Aloha. In other words, they stand in Love, Acceptance and Unity no matter how they are treated. In this powerful practice, the Hawaiian people are showing the rest of us, that nothing is more powerful than reaching for our deepest humanity, our highest ideals — recognizing that all of us are in this together. No matter what ‘side’ we fall upon, we are one human family.
Our world has a lot to learn from Kapu Aloha, and from the commitment to recognize and protect what is Sacred. Since the industrial revolution, we have barrelled down the path of ‘progress’, blindly consuming and producing with the misguided belief that ‘more is better’. We have invaded and overrun the lands and lives of indigenous peoples everywhere, labeling them ‘savages’ and ignoring thousands of years of profound wisdom gained from their deep communion with the land.
Now, we are paying the price.
And yet, as the environment hangs on a tenuous edge of supporting life, we continue to barrel blindly forward into sure disaster.
Protecting Mauna Kea is not just a cultural issue. it is not just a reclaiming of rightful lands and autonomy. Although all of that is of utmost importance, this movement is also about protecting Life. It is the voice of our indigenous brothers and sisters giving us the opportunity to open to a wisdom which is in all of us at a foundational level.
Somewhere deep down, we know that we are Life itself. We know that the air which is breathed by the trees is also breathed by us. We know that the rivers and oceans support life, oxygen and energy which allows us to live. What we have forgotten, in our blur of wanting more, is that all of this is our Family — our ‘Ohana Nui. There is a mutual relationship of nourishing and being nourished, respecting and being respected, loving and being loved.
This movement is calling all of us to remember what is true — to let go of our modern arrogance and to re-learn the meaning of Life — that it infuses all Being.
Mauna Kea is not just a land mass. It is awake and alive with beingness. Standing for Mauna Kea is standing for all of Life. It is asking us to remember that the same life that moves through our veins, also moves through the mountain. It breathes with the same Life we do. It is clear that if we can remove the programming from our minds and the veils from our eyes, that ‘progress’ pales against the Sacred.,
The protectors on Mauna Kea are standing for their beloved mountain, but they are also standing for all of us, for the Life we have forgotten. Whether we realize it or not, we all are Mauna Kea.
As I fell slowly back to sleep after my vision of being on the Mauna, my body was shaking. I felt as if I was part of a momentous occasion, some event of epic proportions, the depth of which I could not possibly know.
I stand in honor of those on the Mauna. I stand, in Kapu Aloha, with Mauna Kea. I stand in gratitude to the Hawaiian people. I stand with Life.
Kū Kia’i Mauna!!
To support the protection of Mauna Kea, please visit Kahea.org
What is Sacred to you? What do you honor?
Is there somewhere in your life or inside of you where you have forgotten the Sacred?
Take some time to notice if any ignored parts of your inner family or life experience are longing for a connection with the Sacred.
Comments are welcome below.