As a writer and avid reader, I am clearly a lover of words. I do think, however, that sometimes words fail to express how we are really feeling, or perhaps it is a failure on our part to find the correct word or words to use. At times like these, a look or gesture often tells the other person far more about how we feel than we would otherwise be able to convey.
In a previous post I included a quote from Jaegoong, a Korean singer, songwriter, actor, director and designer. For those who haven’t read the post or have forgotten exactly what he said, here it is again:
“If two people can love each other without even speaking the same language, age and numbers are even easier to overcome.”
In the book, ‘The Alchemist’ by Paul Coehlo, he describes love as the “Language of the World” and the one that everyone speaks. Furthermore, he says that it is the language that everyone on earth is capable of understanding because they can use their hearts to connect with another, rather than words.
Japanese is very similar in that respect. The language is known for its pregnant pauses that are often considered uncomfortable by foreigners. I’m a foreigner but I like them. Silence allows both people to process what is being said and then to think of just how to respond. Sometimes, what is NOT explicitly said is what is most important.
I sometimes feel that Japanese people are mind readers, but I’ve learned that they’re just very good observers and can ‘feel’ or ‘read’ a conversation that isn’t spoken. In other words, they use their heart, not their head. Funnily enough though, the Japanese refer to this as 腹芸 (haragei), which actually translates as ‘the art of the belly.’ In the West, we would refer to it as a gut instinct or intuition.
Coehlo also refers to this feeling throughout the book and says that this intuition is when we connect for a brief moment of time with the “Soul of the World”. In other words we are getting in tune not only with our body but also on a greater scale with our surroundings. Through this connection we learn to understand how we really feel about a situation, versus how our mind feels and in turn we also project our own feelings out into the universe, thereby influencing an outcome.
Western society doesn’t tend to look favourably on gut instincts as a measure of determining a situation, so we usually rely on our apparently more ‘logical’ brain. Unfortunately, there are times we do this and later realise that we should have listened to our feelings in the first place.
When I was younger I used to have gut feelings all the time, but as I grew older they seemed to retreat and eventually, they stopped altogether. In the past two years thank goodness, I’ve rediscovered them or maybe I’ve just realised that listening to your body often gives you a FAR better indication of warning signs than anything else. Whatever the case, these gut instincts are a type of language that transcends everything else and are just as important as anything that is actually spoken.
I believe love is the same. You cannot force a connection with someone or create a feeling that just isn’t there. Sometimes I look at some of my single male friends who are just the nicest people on earth, but my feelings for them are purely platonic. Even when you try so hard to convince yourself that you like them, your heart or gut knows the truth… I think your mind does too, but you try to suppress it, ignore it or silence it altogether. You can lie to others, but you can never really lie to yourself.