If you have spent any time with Asian people, you may notice the world of difference in the way we think, act and treat each other than in the West.
As someone who is Hong Kong born, living in America, and has spent a lifetime crossing and making bridges to understand my multi-culti-masala mix, I have often examined and compared different languages, customs and cultures, and have decided it just comes down to heart communication.
And it might be just a language thing…
Same, Same, Different
Language is more than a tool for communication and self-expression, as it influences and embodies our given and received cultures. Many words connote feelings, ideas, and attitudes that are social and cultural concepts, and these concepts have a powerful effect on our perceptions about the world, and ourselves.
We tend to want to “translate” other languages so we can understand parts of speech and functions of words, and assume languages are alike in a “logical form”. Since the grammar and syntax of many Asian languages are inferred rather than communicated in sentences; translation problems happen with the order and relationships of words. The idea of language from a tradition of Western grammar can also be misunderstood or misinterpreted because of the lack of (or extra) pronouns, classifiers, and prepositions in Asian languages
Many Asian languages are feeling-driven language, not logic-driven languages, so using logic to understand a feeling is like asking the sun to be the moon. Or a man to understand a woman 😉
Asian people look at and think of each other, and often express things, events and feelings by describing a person’s heart.
There is a lovely expression in Thailand – Jai Yen, which means cool heart; someone who is patient and easy natured.
In Chinese, 开心 Happiness is Kai Xin – the first character means “open” and the second “heart”, so it literally means “open heart”. This has always struck me as a profound part of my own thinking, and how I interpret what the word “Happy” means. It definitely has effected my thinking the more I contemplate the message. This is a concept that has deeply affected the Confucian character in business, home and family.
In Bahasa Indonesian langauge, kindness is baik hati which means “good heart”, and an Indonesian tradition is to touch your chest after shaking hands in respect, which shows you are taking the greeting into your heart.
In Japan the expression is Fudoshin – unchanging heart, and someone with fudoshin is stable and lighthearted in times of hardship and difficulty.
The Nei Jing, ‘The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine’ tells us the Heart is the spiritual and emotional center of the body, and on its deepest level is home to the Shen, the eternal spirit and source of joyful serenity.
It makes me think that we must practice heart health like exercise every day. It is critical to our happiness and joy.
Strengthen appreciation to lower blood pressure and depleting stress hormones.
Strengthen thoughtfulness by uplifting our communities in “neighbourhoodliness”
Exercise a healthy and strong sense of humor, especially about ourselves!
Align with the joyful lightness and radiance that is the natural state of the Heart Shen, and understand Life is smoother and richer when lived with a light heart full of humour and compassion.
Take care of your heart: cool the fire, remain unshaken and open the door to health and happiness.
So, as my friends in Thailand say, the word for contentment is “sabai jai”, and it translates directly as “Comfortable Heart”
Take a seat (asana is seat in Sanskrit), and find a comfortable heart, Sounds like a good idea to me! 😉
Cora, I love this post! I would like to quote you on my blog. And since I am taking a poetry class now, some of these expressions may find their way into my verse.
Hope to see you at the Ranch for the wedding!
Of course Janna! And I will see you at the wedding fo sho 🙂
I loved this article and used your wise words for my school newsletter…..LOVE IT…THANK YOU ….what a beautiful human being you are to share with all… BIG LOVE TO YOU FROM MY HEART!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sending love to Bangers and all the heart speak of our friends and students there. A privilege to spend time in other spots on the planet, eh Toni? Gratitude for the connections of the web and Yogaaaah