the connection we have to others
with all living beings
& Indigenous to us all
Kapwa = Shared inner self
Self as in the sparkling drop
of life within us… each a part
of the vast shimmery, brilliant
ocean of Life beyond
what we see with our eyes
and yet theorize with science
and sense with our hearts
Kapwa, Self in Other
“The essence of this unique sensitivity towards people or “personhood” rests in an understanding that one’s personality—beyond the boundaries of the individual “I”—extends out to the Other… Virgilio Enriquez called attention to the fact that the Philippine language provided a commonplace term that implied the extension of the Self to the Other. This word is kapwa, a concept that combined the Self and the Other… the sharing of the Self was a common trait among Filipinos…. kapwa made up the core of the Filipino personality which should be called personhood (pagkatao) rather than as a personality.
… the scope of kapwa orientation reaches yet deeper. It anchors the mind of man in the memory of nature! When the concept is viewed within an animist framework it transpires how far the roots of kapwa extend into ancestral memories. Now, the shared Self turns into a “shared life.” This means that the respect and consideration for the Other is extended to all beings: animals, plants, trees, springs, rocks, the living planet and the spirit worlds. This is the Self of the mythic man who embraces God in all creation.”
~ Katrin de Guia, Kapwa: The Self in Other, 2005
“is humaneness at its highest level”
Carmen E. Santiago
Pakapa-kapa: Paglilinaw ng isang konsepto sa nayon, 1982
Universal Truth of oneness
it echoes in all spiritual journeys
a knowing that we are all linked to one another…
that we are all connected…
all living systems…
all living beings…
to forgotten Ancestors & Descendants
to Near and Far…
Seen & Unseen…
above & below…
Light & dark…
within all time— Past,
Pakikipagkapwa (the principle of Filipino relationality)
Relationality refers to fourfold relationality, namely to God, to oneself, to neighbors and to creation.
~ Antonio Ingles, Life with ease (Nakakaluwag): A Hermeneutic-Phenomenological
Study Towards a Pedagogy for Sustainable Living, 2011
We are Kapwa
relation, kin, kindred
with each other
We are kapwa
with kapatid, kasintahan
We are kapwa
with friend or stranger
across the globe…
with ancestors and
descendants across time
We are kapwa
with all living creatures
with Earth, Fire, Water, Air
with Nature and Forces of Nature
We are kapwa
with the Sun and Moon
the stars, planets,
We are kapwa
with the Cosmos…
with Angelic Realms…
our diwa with the Divine
our budhi with bodhisattvas
We are kapwa
with laws of the Universe
with faraway events of multi-Verses
We are kapwa
our individual creativity
. . .
Amazing isn’t it?
YOU really are
. . .
Oneness of Humanity
Pakikipagkapwa… The more one engages in it, the more the goodness in the persons involved is evoked from within. “Thus kapwa is an inner principle of shared goodness/Godness, not just shared identity.
“Through the revelation of our potential for shared goodness, the process of kapwa affirms and recognizes the ultimate oneness of humankind.
~ Felipe Mendoza de Leon
“… also, the Tagalog ka-loob means your kapwa (the other who is like you) and has the same (capacity for) interiority… on a deeper level, Ka-loob means you are one with God (which is why here, I am using capital K :-)).
We sometimes say pinagkaloob ng Diyos (God or a person)” which means “one is given/entrusted/ imparted with something vital from the giver’s loob” (even if it’s an object).”
Agnes Miclat-Cacayan, Sun Feb 12, 2006, 10:08 AM, Yahoogroups babaylan discussion group
…the movement from pakikisama to pakikikapwa-tao implies some kind of structured movement from outer to inner.
BJB , Tuesday, 11 Sep 2007, 10:03:11 -0700 (PDT), pagbabalikloob discussion group
Self in other
“I translate Kapwa and pakikipagkapwa-tao as “intersubjectivity” – a postmodern term that signifies the need to devolve from the “I”-centeredness of modern subjectivities to the ability to move in a universe of relations seamlessly, fluidly, passionately, with fecundity, respect, and non-possessiveness. To say “you are my Kapwa” to another human being is to evoke this quality of being.
~ Leny Strobel, Babaylan: Filipinos and the Call of the Indigenous, 2010
The Universe is Connected
“We are all linked by a fabric of unseen connections. This fabric is constantly changing and evolving. This field is directly structured and influenced by our behavior and by our understanding. ”
~ David Bohm, quantum physicist, 1917-1992
In the universal field of consciousness
One way we connect with each other, near or far, is by giving and receiving:
“Mabuhay tayong lahat.
No matter how small or how big… it is the intention and generous spirit of the giving heart and welcoming receiving souls that are the dynamic regeneration of life cycles.”
~ Mini Gavino, October 5, 2018
“We are All Related.” To say this Lakota prayer is to speak to God on behalf of everyone and everything on Earth. Mitakuye Oyasin honors the sacredness of each person’s individual spiritual path, acknowledges the sacredness of all life (human, animal, plant, etc.) and creates an energy of awareness which strengthens not only the person who prays but the entire planet.
“You are me, and I am you.
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
“If you can honestly see from a vibration of oneness (not merely through intellect)
then you should recognise all as oneness in form.
If you fear something then you see it as separate to yourSelf,
I say love that something.
What you damn,
damn’s you back.
Alter the perspective surrounding whatever is bothering you, see it as an aspect
of God through pure unbiased awareness and watch it right itself.
Artwork by @clintgrierson
The freedom to be fully human
“totoo, ang aking kalayaan ay nakasalalay sa sariling galaw ng aking loob. Subalit posible lamang ito sa loob ng isang daigdig na mayroon akong kasama, sapagkat kung ako lang, hindi ko alam kung hanggang saan ang aking abot. Kailangan kong mamulat na hindi ako nag-iisa, na kahit anong mangyari, meron akong kapiling na kapanalig na kapwa ko na nagnanasang magpakatao at lumaya ring tulad ko.
“True, my freedom is contingent on action coming from within me. But this is only possible within a world where I have companions, because if it’s only me, I don’t know how far I can reach. I must be aware that I’m not alone, because then no matter what happens, I can trust my fellow beings will be as fully human and free as myself.
Father Albert E. Alejo. (1990). Tao po! Tuloy!: Isang landas ng pagunawa sa loob ng tao
Dance of Sacred Interconnection
The Babaylan Mandala represents you in creation. YOU are the BAHALA tree of life in Sayaw ng Pakikipagkapwa, the Dance of Interconnection with all Creation. This interconnectedness flows through all of Life. It is Onenness of your sacred spark within, to the Divine Energies of Life that permeates all Creation.
It is important to note that the core principles of our ethnicity (which are kapwa-based) are built upon the culture of the spirit rather than the culture of power or the culture of wealth. Kapwa is defined as shared identity: “The other person is also yourself” (Virgilio Enriquez). Thus, relationships are generally given more importance than economic power by Filipinos.
The concept of a shared identity, where “the other person is also yourself” is said to be the core of Filipino psychology. It is humaneness at the highest level. For it implies a unique moral obligation to treat one another as equal fellow human beings. Treat the other person as you treat yourself because the other person is also yourself. This is a Filipino core idea that could very well be the basis of the Golden Rule in the world’s great religions. Kapwa is an awareness of the rootedness of each one of us in the One Divine Essence within. Among the ancient Yucatan Mayans of Mexico, there is a strikingly similar notion of being, as expressed in the Yucatan Mayan Code of Honor: ”I am another yourself“
~ Felipe M. De Leon
In the olden days, people knew how to read the heavens, though they did not have names to call what they saw.
Their minds were serene, and they had wisdom that came from the Will of God.
People were respectful, kind, understanding, and loving to their fellow beings [kapwa].
“Iday Titang,” Estelita Diola, Cebuano-Visayan Sinuog Head Ritualist, Cebu, Philippines
The engine of life is linkage. Everything is linked.
Nothing is self-sufficient.
Water and air are inseparable, united in life and for our life on Earth.
Sharing is everything
Yann Arthus-Bertrand, 2009
Even at our very molecules
Tom Chi, inventor and co-founder of Google X, shares one of the most powerful ideas you can learn: it transcends science, religion, politics, social responsibility and humanism. He describes in practical terms how we’re all interconnected. (34:08)
That’s home. That’s us.
On it everyone you love, everyone you know,
everyone you ever heard of, every human being
who ever was, lived out their lives.
The aggregate of our joy and suffering,
thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines,
every hunter and forager, every hero and coward,
every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant,
every young couple in love, every mother and father,
hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals,
every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,”
every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there
— on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
~ Carl Sagan
Do you ever wonder…
How expansive you really are?
What heights you and humanity can reach?
The Pakikipagkapwa page is dedicated to my beloved sons and their father,
to my mother, brothers and my extended family, to my friends, to humanity, to the Divine within us all,
and the Great AllThatIs (that our feeble human words cannot ever define or name)
To explore and share discoveries about pakikipagkapwa and sacred interconnection visit the Facebook page.
Images courtesy of the generosity of Rene Bernal and other wonderful photographers of Pexels.com, Stocksnap.io and Unsplash.com
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