Saudade in Aramaic, multiculturalism, and meditation

About a year ago I wrote about the pros and cons of multiculturalism (you can read that blog here), it mostly dealt with the professional difficulties I have in Spain with my US professional and academic qualifications. Today I would like to explore the concept of home for multicultural folks.

One of the issues many multiculturals face is that we live far from our native home. In my case, I work in the U.S., but my family and friends are still all in Spain. This makes for a difficult concept of what to call home.

These thoughts came to mind the other day catching up on Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation (if you are not already subscribed, I could not recommend it more, click here) and he was talking about Dr. Douglas-Klotz’s Aramaic translation of The Sermon on the Mount. Douglas-Klotz explains how:

Lawile can mean “mourners” (as translated from the Greek), but in Aramaic it also carries the sense of those who long deeply for something to occur, those troubled or in emotional turmoil, or those who are weak and in want from such longing. Netbayun can mean “comforted,” but also connotes being returned from wandering, united inside by love, feeling an inner continuity, or seeing the arrival of (literally, the face of) what one longs for.

Dr. Douglas-Klotz (Richard Rohr Daily Meditation Sat. July 24, 2021)

These words led me to the Portuguese and Galego concept of Saudade and the Galego concept of Morriña, which also convey a deep longing. You see, when I am in the US I miss Spain, but after a while of being in Spain, I miss my work in the US. There it is in simple words, not much that can be done about it, although Richard Rohr does recommend this beautiful exercise:

When in emotional turmoil—or unable to clearly feel any emotion—experiment in this fashion: breathe in while feeling the word lawile (lay-wee-ley) [longing]; breathe out while feeling the word netbayun (net-bah-yoon) [loving]. Embrace all of what you feel and allow all emotions to wash through as though you were standing under a gentle waterfall. Follow this flow back to its source and find there the spring from which all emotion arises. At this source, consider what emotion has meaning for the moment, what action or nonaction is important now.

Dr. Douglas-Klotz (Richard Rohr Daily Meditation Sat. July 24, 2021)

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