babaylan consciousness

Bahala Meditations:
A Renewal of Filipino Spiritual Practice

Web page created June 27, 2003.
Last update October 2009

Greetings, visitors. I am a ka-lakaran (fellow Seeker) in this journey we call Life. I'm just another Filipino seeking the elusive Filipino Identity, a search triggered by my teachers and fellow students at U.P. Diliman in the 1980s.

Spirituality is a timeless and Universal experience of being human. And when the Spanish came to colonize the islands (that we now call the Philippines) and convert the natives to Christianity, they found a people already open to spiritual experience . If you are skeptical about such a thing as Filipino spirituality, that skepticism comes from either your Western thinking and/or a form of colonial mentality. I invite you to take on a less rigid form of thinking and be willing to be subjective and to open up your mind and heart to the possibilities that their is such thing as pagkapilipino and Loob(inner self).

In order to accept that their is such thing as inherent Filipino Spirituality and that there is a deeper meaning to Bathala/Bahala and even it's symbols, we Filipinos need to rediscover in what ways our ancestors thought(katutubong kaalaman). The best way to start that is to examine our western thinking and to investigate indigenous thinking. (Holistic Approach: Returning to Ancestral Thinking, Baybayin Alive).

Western thinking can be said to be mostly left-brain thinking(masculine). Indigenous thinking can be said to be mostly right-brain thinking(feminine). And it is possible to balance both sides within ourselves. It just takes an openness and willingness to exercise that ability. To embark on this journey of balancing our Westernized mind and our indigenous Filipino mind is to awaken, grow, expand, decolonize---heal from the crippling effects of patriarchal programming and the systemic wounding of colonization upon our people.

By coming to rediscover the meanings and concepts of Bathala and especially Bahala Na, so many more Filipinos today, cut-off and unaware of their spiritual roots, can come to discover and know that the ways of the ancients of the Philippine Islands have always carried Wisdom(karunugan ng ating mga ninuno, wisdom of our ancestors), that is also Universal Wisdom. We can gain many spiritual benefits when we have the consciousness and the awareness that the Nameless-Many-Named-I-Am, that is, The Divine, is beyond human material illusions, gender and innate limitations.

If you have the ability to think metaphorically, subjective or like an indigenous person, you can better come to understand the hidden meanings of the baybayin. You can readily develop the ability if you are open. This can be a small awakening, steps towards pagbabalikloob and decolonization. Bahala Meditations can be a tool for you on this journey.

There are three sets of subjective exercises here.

  1. Finding renewed meaning in saying Bahala Na
  2. Contemplation over the symbols that form the words Bahala Na or the name Bathala.
  3. Saying Bahala or Bahala Na as a prayer/meditation entry point or as a spiritual chant.

Bahala Meditations are set of contemplations on the meaning of Bahala Na . It is also an invitation to study the deeper meanings of the baybayin symbols or pictographs that form Ba-Ha-La. Lastly, it is also a mode of meditation through chanting or saying the sounds of Ba-ha-la and Ba-ha-La-Na.

How did the Bahala Meditations come about? When I was studying yoga and meditation, and learning chanting, I began to wonder what it would be like to exchange the sounds of Lam, Bam, Ham, etc. to Ba-ha-la-na. Also, my friendship with Mary Ann Ubaldo and Bing Veloso, baybayin artists and enthusiasts, connected me to their own subjective, alternative and artistic interpretations that were triggered by a growing baybayin movement in the Philippines. By the time I had been introduced to the deeper meanings of Bahala/Bathala baybayin symbols, I had already spent years reading on religions and spirituality of ancient and modern times, and many times could see the overlapping of Filipino innate beliefs (aka katutubong kaalaman or kaalaman galing sa loob-looban ng tao) with Universal Wisdom found in other traditions around the world and through the ages. And at one point I began to meditate on the meaning of "Bahala Na."

If you would like to learn more about baybayin symbols please visit the blog Baybayin Alive and there you can find further explorations on the subjective, deeper meanings of baybayin and various baybayin links online.

Babaylan conferenceThe booklet will be available at the First International Babaylan Conference in April 2010. Click here to download old sample pages in PDF version of the Bahala Meditations.

You can try these modern day interpretations and subjective exercises to find out if they fit in with your personal search for finding faith in Something Greater and for deepening your spiritual journey. For those of you Filipinos who are seeking a closeness to God and at the same time, a Filipino spiritual practice in your soul's journey, you will find that using the words of Bahala or Bahala Na in Filipino can help you to settle into prayer and meditation and, if it works for you, deepen your spiritual practice.

The contemplations are for any person who is willing to sit in quiet, whether or not you have practiced meditation and/or chanting before. I encourage those who are new to meditation and chanting to learn more on their own and then when they feel comfortable with the meditative state or with chanting mantras then to go ahead and try these exercises. For those who are already familiar with meditation and chanting, I encourage you to go ahead and try the meditation and chanting exercises whenever you feel you are ready.

Practicing this in your own way will help you when you make intentions of awareness in the now, forgivness and compassion, letting go and releasing, and even for healing sessions. The effects of any meditation, prayer and spiritual chanting can be profound and moving. For a Filipino one on Bathala... it is truly a gift for the Filipino on a lakaraan para sa pagbabalik loob niya (return journey to one's Self).

If you want to find information, history and knowledge on Baybayin or alibata, this is NOT a resource on Baybayin but you can visit my blog Baybayin Alive for third party baybayin links online on historical facts, how to translate into baybayin symbols, baybayin tattoos or where to find products with baybayin symbols on them like jewelry.

If you want to learn the basics of meditations and chanting please find books or other online resources to enrich your knowledge and experience.

This work is simply a set of exercises that you can read about and consider if it means anything to your own lakaran (journey).

The author does not make a profit from, support, request or endorse others to hold workshops or public appearances talking about, teaching or promoting the Bahala Meditations.

Update: Your interpretations and explorations are welcomed.
Please post/share your findings at the facebook page timeline

May you receive this in openness and your life be enriched by it.


Ever out of Love.


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