The Miracle of a Second Language
Life serves as a buffet of awakening experiences, leaving us privy to a plethora of choices to observe our own enlightenment. These are opportunities in which we can view the magnificence of our own light and limitless capabilities. We come to this point because we were sick of bouncing up against our limiting beliefs which can feel like being confined within four walls. But that is just a belief. Where some of our beliefs come from is also another exploration within itself and must be ventured with care as we can get stuck in exploring limitation after limitation rather than just breaking on through to the other side, to that place beyond walls, words, and beliefs.
A Course in Miracles guides us daily with wonderful exercises. It serves at first as a pair of training wheels on a bike, then it serves as a parent running along side holding our seat to keep us balanced on two wheels, to then fully letting go as it watches our hair blow in the wind while we ride free. We come to a place in the Course where we move beyond words and into full integration. The words are there to come back to, always, however the Course knows that there comes a point in awakening where even holy words become limiting. It ventures to take us to the place where there is only the language of the Heart.
Learning a second language is a wonderful microcosm for exploring such boundaries. As a child, you are a sponge and absorb everything. As an adult, you are more leery, suspect, and have created a system of checks and balances in the brain, making it a bit tougher for new information to come through. It is no wonder that it has been said, “Come to Me with the faith of a child,” as it order to connect to the Divine, we go beyond the questions straight to the experience of the answer.
In a second language, one may ask herself, what makes one word stick and not another? It is a mystery. Often why it does, is because there is an experience that goes along with it that gives the brain a link to an association, it now has its own story. In our native language we absorbed our words so early in our development that, most likely, we forgot the associations we made with each word.
The main goal of A Course in Miracles is to “unlearn.” It is to say that the Course helps us to unpackaged the stories we have created, beginning with word association. In Lesson 2 of A Course in Miracles we were given the following statement:
“I have given everything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] all the meaning that it has for me.”
Learning a second language as an adult is a microcosm of this particular lesson. As one learns a new word, one is more aware of the power of word association. For example, I once went on a hike for medicinal herbs with an indigenous family in the Sacred Valley of Peru where their 6-year-old son accompanied us. He kept using the word, araña, which is Spanish for spider. Our our walk that day, he and I spent most of the time turning over rocks looking for arañas. When we found one, he would point with his finger and with complete amazement say, “Ohhhhh, ARAÑA!” His excitement and wonderment was so contagious that now that story is forever linked in my brain with the word, araña. And that is just the one of the many examples in my awareness of learning a second language. Can you image how many more associations we have created in our own language but have just fallen asleep to them. Those are our hidden boundaries, the walls we have created but have been part of the landscape for so long that we no longer see them.
Learning a new language or any new endeavor is a wonderful exercise for the brain but also an opportunity to unlearn our limiting beliefs. It is the opportunity break through any walls we have created for ourselves. We are limitless beings with enormous capabilities for kindness, love, and compassion. It is in our courage to walk up to our self-created wall that we have the divine guidance to move past them and beyond.
Sometimes in learning something new, we actually unlearn. That sort of curiosity is what makes being a human divinely fun! Thus, today, ask yourself, “how is the buffet of life serving me the opportunity to “unlearn” and move beyond any limiting language, walls, and belief?” Where can you break on through to the other side? Namaste.