I interviewed an American nature writer - Barry Lopez - the other day. He's been to 70 countries, taken part in all sorts of rituals, and he said that there is one thing in common between all religions - The Holy Breath. Prana, The Holy Ghost, Aloha, Nilchi...

He told me the native Hawaiians live with a sense of aloha. The word "aloha" consists of two parts. "Alo" means to share and "ha" means to breathe. Aloha means to share breath, and more precisely to share the breath of life. Native Hawaiians often refer to Westerners as haole. The word "haole" also consists of two parts. "Ha", as we have learned, means breath and "ole" means without. In short, the native Hawaiians see Westerners as being people who are breathless. This is a fundamental difference between the Western culture and the Hawaiian culture. This difference has resulted in, and continues to result in, many confrontations among those who currently make Hawaii their home.

In one of Barry's stories he speaks about the Holy Spirit Wind which to the Navajo steadies us in the world and allows us to move through it gracefully. Their word for it is Nilchi'i. Among the complexities of its translation into English is “the Wind that is Creation's first food, the source of all motion and change, giving life to everything, including the mountains and water.” It is the underlying force that unifies everything and the means of communication between all elements of the natural world. He says: “Other native North American peoples have refined similar ideas; but the Navajo conception is particularly successful in relating the idea of the individual to the concept of a stable society... through Nilchi'i, individuals participate in graces or powers that surpass these of the individual... those graces or powers keep one secure in the world.”

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