Can an experience be expressed in words?

Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

An experience is something that encapsulates so many elements that it is always complicated to put it into words.   The more profound it is, the more difficult it is.  As it is not something physical, expressions are never capable of conveying it completely at the stroke of a pen.  We start by talking about it bit by bit and, sometimes, the person listening, cannot really understand what we want to convey.

Have you ever tried to explain to someone what a fruit tasted like that you tried in a remote place and which does not exist in your country?  We always try to find a comparison with things we know, but if the other person does not have any personal experience of the subject, they will never know what you are talking about.

The same happens to many things that occur within us.  We do not know how to explain them in a way that can be understood. 

The best way is to experience them for yourself.

If someone cannot swim, we cannot convey to them what it means.  We can only give them some brief instructions and let them have a go, make mistakes, swallow water and help them until in the end they will learn to do it.  Then you can talk to them about the experience of swimming and about what it means to you.

So, in these pages, when it talks about paying attention to the present moment and lots of other things, we can only invite you to experience them for yourself.  And you will make mistakes, you will become disillusioned and you will become interested again and, you will continue like that until you become closer to the experience itself.  So, we can only say to you: practise.  Words and ideas will not get you anywhere in this area.  Practise the way children do it, purely for the pleasure of doing it, without expecting instant success.