What the Irish Language Can Teach Us about Life

What the Irish Language Can Teach Us about Life

Within the Irish language (Gaeilge) there is a very important life lesson. You’re going to learn what it is and why it’s important.

First of all, I do not speak the Irish language, other than a few words and phrases.

Let’s set a scale whereby a 100 score means you’re proficient and fluent in Irish and zero means you haven’t got a clue. On that scale, I would be a 10.

This is slightly embarrassing considering in Ireland you learn Irish from the age of 5 to 18. In some institutions even younger.

It’s even more embarrassing because I learned Hebrew ( a vastly more complicated language, with a completely different set of letters, sounds, and writing direction) in a much shorter time frame. On a scale of 0 to 100, I would be about 55-60.

In other words, I can hold a light conversation, order food, take and give orders, excuse myself, and carry out many other linguistical challenges in Hebrew.

The Irish Language

This article is not to discuss my proficiency in Irish but as the title suggests discuss an important life lesson.

Something certainly gets lost in translation when we convert Irish to English.

I want to bring your attention to one important phrase – I am happy.

The Irish translation for this is Tá athas orm.

If you have absolutely no grasp of the Irish language you’re probably saying it wrong, but that is of no importance to this life lesson.

You see the direct translation of Tá athas orm is NOT “I am happy”.

This is incorrect and this translation acts as a disservice to the Irish language and to life itself.

The direct translation of Tá athas orm is “happiness is upon me”.

Perhaps you’re thinking, that’s just semantics Scott.

Things Are Not as They Appear

To most people that would be true. But to the more insightful person, there is a huge difference between “I am happy” and “happiness is upon me”.

When we say I am happy, we are identifying with the emotion. We are allowing the emotion to define us and in doing so define our reality.

This may seem like a good thing. After all who does not want to identify with happiness?!?

The problem with this is that we are not our thoughts and we are not our emotions. Identifying with them makes us very vulnerable to lose our true sense of ourselves.

This Logic is a Two Way Street

If you so freely identify with the positive emotions you must also in turn identify with the negative emotions.

Perhaps today you are happy, perhaps tomorrow it is “I am depressed”.

Basically, your state of being and stability becomes flimsy, and as the winds of life change so do you.

You spend your life being a victim of your own self-programming. Constantly identify with whatever feeling you happen to be having on the day.

In that moment of identification, there is also a state of permanence, whereby if you identify with a negative emotion you are more inclined to be dramatic about it because you are the emotion.

You can’t get away from yourself, therefore the emotion is your reality and your permeant state of being.

It sounds ridiculous I know but this is what happens when we identify with an emotion, we become the emotion and we create a reality that seems inescapable.

Tá athas orm

Now let’s get back to the Irish term, and it’s a direct translation, which states “happiness is upon me”.

This is a much more healthy and beneficial way to experience our emotions and thoughts.

We are not identifying with them. We are saying we are separate. You and the state of being are two different entities.

This denotes a sense of temporariness. Which is more in alignment with reality.

Ask anyone, happiness comes and goes.

Knowing this we won’t experience so much pain and resistance when it does finally go. In the place of pain and resistance, we will experience acceptance.

Using this for negatively charged emotions

The same is true for when happiness is replaced with negative emotion.

As in sadness is upon me. Here we are not programming ourselves and saying “I am sad” we are saying right now at this moment a temporary sadness is here for me to experience, like any other emotion it will pass.

Furthermore, I am not this emotion, I am not this thought, and in no way does this sadness define me.

You are the one who experiences.

As the one who experiences you are greater than your thoughts and your emotions.

You are an unshakeable force that chooses how you will be defined independently of whatever fleeting emotions and thoughts come your way.

Now I bet your fecking Irish teacher never taught you that.

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