My meditation language.


It’s Korean. Maybe it has to do with it being my mother tongue. And this, the fact that my meditation language is Korean, is one of the reasons I write most of these meditation notes in English; as I recall what happened during meditation, I am translating both the language and the experience. This double digestion seems to be useful.

At any rate, I mention this Korean element because of a word that is definitely useful: 그랬구나. (It sounds like gue-raet-gu-na.)

This word means something like “I see.” Or “Is that so.” But the difference is that in the Korean version, there is no subject. There is only the verb that describes the state of “seeing” or “being so.”

I use this word, 그랬구나, when I acknowledge the emotions that I have been suppressing. It helps to see them as entities of their own. They have their personalities, and usually, because I have been ignoring them for so long, they’re mad shit pissed, crying, annoyed, scared, etc. And what I do is acknowledge that I see that, or that it is so; that they couldn’t help but be mad shit pissed, crying, annoyed, scared, etc.

It’s what you would do for a kid. “There there” might be another translation for 그랬구나. But sometimes “There there” sounds condescending, and also, the word “there” distances the folks involved in the situation, it feels like. “There there” just isn’t quite there. Even “Is that so” sometimes sounds like a half-challenge. (“Is that so?! Hmmm?!”)

그랬구나 is truly the perfect word. Without the necessity of a subject, it only describes the state that is. It is not a question and cannot be misunderstood as such; it is not a challenge and cannot be misunderstood as such; in no way is it condescending; in no way is it about the person who says it; and it’s not even about the person for whom the word is meant.

Basically, the person speaking (me) and the entity being spoken to (the hitherto ignored emotion) aren’t even necessary for the word. If we seem necessary, it’s because of the context: the prior context that prompted my use of the word, and the impending context, which would be the reaction from the emotion-entity.

But the word itself? It does not need any other element besides the thing that is.

In German, perhaps “Ach so” might work, although… it sounds almost too neutral. It’s like “I see,” except there is no “I.” And there is no “see,” so there is no entity to do the seeing. It’s just “Ah,” and “so.” (This “so” is just like in “Is that so.”)

Perhaps one might make up a word to replace 그랬구나, because it might be difficult to pronounce, and therefore distracting. Any word, which completely acknowledges the validity of the fierce reactions from the hitherto ignored emotions, will do the trick. Any made up word. Bumblepub. Wippitywup. Hugahuga. I don’t know. Any such word would be more useful than “There there” or “I see” or “Is that so.”