Tadhg’s Journal: ‘I See You’. Some Thoughts

160903 i see you JOURNAL

I see you,’ is an African translation of the phrase ‘Sawubona’, which is the Zulu way of word(s) of greeting someone. The reply is, ‘I am here’, or Ngikhona.

I came across these phrases (again) in two books I’ve recently (re)read, and it’s also a greeting used in the movie ‘Avatar’, and each time I’ve read these phrases they’ve demanded more attention.

I find that greeting quite wonderful. In a face-paced culture it is easy to be forgotten, missed out or ignored, and none of us really like that. We all want to be ‘seen’, we all want to be acknowledged.

I’ve found, and one can understand it in a big city like London, that it is only very early in the morning, when few people are out and about, that anyone will say ‘hello’ to a passers-by. Past 6am, say, and you’re likely not to be ‘seen’. Before that time, or thereabouts, you will probably get an eye-two raise and a verbal ‘hello’. Ofcourse, in the country, such as in north Wales, most will say ‘hello’ to passers-by, regardless of the time of the day.

But, what does it mean to be ‘seen’, and to respond by saying, ‘I am here’?

I’m still exploring the connection. At the very least it is a sign of good manners. Delve deeper and it is an acknowledgement of someone’s presence, but there’s more, isn’t there?

At a deeper level, there’s a soul-connection. ‘I see you’, can (and does) mean I am aware of the real you, the inner you, the soul that ‘shines’ deep within. Have you ever glanced into someone’s eyes and made such a momentary connection? ‘I am here’, can then mean, I am here, I have been acknowledged, and therefore am valued because of you seeing me and for which I am grateful.

Do we really take time to pause and greet people as though we mean it? Can we be a wee bit dismissive? Should we take a little time with people, even strangers or passers-by?

But, what do you think? Is there a spiritual, soul-connection? What do you think?

4 thoughts on “Tadhg’s Journal: ‘I See You’. Some Thoughts

  1. I do think there is a spiritual connection when we take time to greet someone authentically and not just a passing greeting. However I wonder if there is another part to the seeing, does the other person in the encounter need to be vulnerable enough to let part of themselves to be seen for the connection to happen?

    On another note, I just this week discovered your blog and as one who has found a connection to Chrisitan Celtic Spirituality I am appreciating it greatly.


    • Thank you for stopping by and reading the post(as), and for your comments. I hope you find upcoming posts useful, too.

      For that deep soul-connection greeting to take place I think vulnerability does ‘open’ that person to such a connection (and us), as does ‘awareness’ that comes from maturity (and transformation), or maybe ‘just inquisitiveness’…all of which do make one vulnerable in a positive, holy way. Yes, I do believe you’re right.


  2. Here in Texas, we’re “very” talkative and throw out the “Hi..how ‘ya doin” phrase often. However, is there really any depth in that??? I think not. It becomes a habit, like saying “Love You” when you hang up the phone …never really meaning it with any depth. So actually there’s no more meaning in this glib acknowledgement than in none at all. I keep remembering the wise words that said “Greet all with love. You never know when you’re looking in the face of God.”


    • Thank you for those words, Cynthia. It’s true that we can use sometimes greeting-phrases without thinking, and so sometimes I like to use slightly different greetings to encourage others to notice the difference and/or to remind myself not to take it lightly, but to give it deep meaning.

      That wise saying you wrote is wonderful. On the subject of soul-connection at the time of greeting: it could be that we ‘see’ and connect with another’s soul in that moment, or that we ‘see’ a reflection of our soul there, or catch a glimpse of the Divine looking at us through them….in which case, yes, ‘Greet all with love. You never know when you’re looking in the face of God.’ Wonderful.


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