How does mindfulness apply to language learning?

Problem – There's a gap: people get language learning, people get mindfulness, yet people aren't applying mindfulness.

In today's day and age, mindfulness is common-ground. Whether you've practiced it or not, we've all at least heard of it. Now language learning is of the same caliber. You may not have learned a language on your own before (outside of forced education), though it too is around and thriving. So where do they intersect?

Mind over matter.

The day to day grind of learning a language comes down to the never-ending stream of content processing. You're faced with familiar and unfamiliar circumstance. Everything must be sorted, categorized, and focused in on if you're to learn it. At every given moment, you're making the decision whether to pass something up or reap it's benefits. Here lies: intention.

Imagine: Sun shines between intermittent branches as you leave the forest bank of sticks and coarse stones. A crunch of pebbles under your feet shift your gaze ahead to behold a flowing river. Its sparkle delights your mood, sound piercing its shiver down your neck. You can feel it's flow, it's massive size and non-size. Water is a strange theme of thought; neither here nor there; forming and un-forming.

Stepping up to the river, you reach down and tilt the palm of your hand out. The water fills your hand as you cup it and stand up. Intention is a little idea that holds your water in hand. Loose fingers drip water to your feet. Tight fingers gain a new form: a bowl. Neither is right nor wrong, but a discipline of intention. What is it that you are trying to achieve? It's an action to uphold. In this case: “I'll clamp my hand together.” Why? To hold water. That's it. However, you changed yourself. You remained open and adapted to the new experience.

In remaining open, you enable yourself to learn all content. You give form to a chaotic mess that is learning material to sort through, understanding and developing disparate native accents, or keeping up with daily maintenance. Showing up to learn will be the road to your dreams. It's figured out in the mix of it all, and not in the planning. Each substance will drift you this way and that, until you return with something much more valuable.

Yet, none of this explains why you came out to the hidden woods. Was this really your intention to begin with? If you wanted to discover new strands of mushrooms, then wouldn't this be a distraction? Here's the thing: it's of no relevance to your purpose, not that of intention. Intentions then, are actions you perform in the present moment. Going with the flow, honing in on your true source. It's the push and pull that ebbs and flows between this experience and the vision you hold onto; the difference between preconceived notions of culture, to that of tangible experiences. You're dynamic, and ever changing. This is living with intent; to freely be.

When learning a language we often get so focused on vocabulary. It's is a necessary evil. However you don't need to learn all of it (even if you possibly could). Being selective is living with intent by engaging your mind for what is of value to you, now, in this present moment. It's a strange game to strive for more words, phrases, or even epiphanies; those “Ah hah!” moments where the fog of doubt begins to clear. Language learning becomes a collection of things and data; or a dry routine. It's understandable. You're dropped in another's world, trying to figure it all out. It's easy to get lost in the abyss as it keeps you tunnel-visioned. The deeper in you go, the less grounding you have. This is where purpose illuminates at your darkest depths. Without mindfulness, knowledge is lost as a matter of collection and not purpose.

We know where we are headed. It may be a fuzzy ideal, but it's there and ever-directing. To actualize it is to retrieve essence from our purpose. Mindfulness aids our objectives by keeping us planted in the ground where our contribution matters. We aren't learning languages to hoard knowledge, or impede others with our polyglot status. We're people on a journey of self discovery, sharing freely and receiving that which is given.

Revealing your own psyche through the exploration of another's world, we venture into the entanglement of languages, each varied and differed from each other. We see that we aren't so different after all, nor the same. It brings awareness to life itself. We pull back from our culture's values and learn. Embracing other cultures, words, and associations brings ourselves closer to self renewal by transforming into the next stage of ourselves.

Solution  be present and adapt to change (intention), but keep in mind where you're going (purpose). Mindfulness brings perspective to a lofty ideal. And when applied, is the deciding factor to our net worth and contribution in this world by sharing the gift that is you.