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Zen and the Art of Speaking Spanish

It’s time for us to journey to the peak of the mountain to attain enlightenment.

I’m going to show you a picture and I want you to say the first words that come to mind.


You probably said the word “car” right off the bat. Or, you may have used another word such as “automobile.” It doesn’t matter. The point is, you were able to come up with a couple of words that mean the same thing and you did it without really thinking about it.

You didn’t look at the picture, really think about it, and then translate the first word into English to come up with the second word. You looked at it and another word, or a couple of words, immediately popped into your head.

Another way to say this is, you didn’t “think in English” first.

Enlightenment does not come from simply memorizing a list of vocabulary words that you translate from Spanish to English or English to Spanish.

Enlightenment comes from realizing objects have multiple words for them. Not English words. Not Spanish words. Not translated words. Just words.

As you memorize your new vocabulary words, do not think of them as Spanish words, just recognize them as new words to go along with words you already have for the item.

For example, if you see an automobile, the Zen approach is to see the object and have your mind flash “car,” “carro,” “automobile,” without trying to classify them as Spanish or English words. Simply let the words be at one with the object.

Now grasshopper, go forth free from the constraints you had created in your mind.