• Miguel Angel Cano Santizo

The Language of the Soul

During my first week of travel through Tibet, I arrived with my camera and my backpack to a Monastery lost within mountains inhabited by 120 teen monks being watched after by a dozen of senior lamas. I was astonished by the beauty of the place and mystic charm of the situation. Once again, human relations were about to teach me a great lesson, this time I was to find out the language of the soul.

Tibetan Temple

Barely a minute after my arrival, I found myself surrounded by a big group of young monks that, moved by their curiosity, were unstoppably asking me questions all at once. It was a situation where there was a lot to say and to share, but the language barrier seemed to block it all. It was almost certainly the very first time they had an Occidental guy in front of them and it started to be denoted a bit of frustration in their faces due to not being able to communicate with me.

Group of young Tibetan Monks

Thus, I decided it was the moment to take action, I unsheathed my harmonic and I started to play and to dance. The response from the young monks was unforgettable; even some that still were watching from a distance joined the group around me and they all started laughing, yelling and clapping arrhythmically. Then, one of the boys showed me a school book with images of animals, I caught his intention and I started to perform the sounds of the animals, which made them explode with laughter. Right after, some of them started to perform their own version of the animal onomatopoeias, finding out together that we conceive in totally differently ways, sounds that are made in the precise same form in nature.


The young monks offered me hosting and food and I ended up living together with them for three days, during which, despite of not talking the same language, we never stopped communicating with each others. Moreover, one morning, three of them woke me up inviting to go for a walk, something that happened to be a six-hour climb under a snow storm.

Tibetan young monk meditating

I will never forget the moment I left that place. A dozen of the teen monks that I got along the best with, were gathering to farewell me. Then, one of them came closer to me and, while touching his chest on the heart side, extended his other hand to give me the necklace that, till that moment, was hanging in his neck. If I had said ‘bye’ or ‘thank you’ probably they would have not understood me, but neither it was necessary nor those words would have been worth what I was feeling in that very moment. Instead, prior departing, the guys and I connected through our looks, and our eyes captured and expressed both my endless gratitude and their profound satisfaction for this mutual adventure of human and cultural immersion that we just shared together.


Without further ado, I left neither saying nor hearing anything else, but the necklace that was hanging now in my neck will always come with me as the witness of that very essential lesson. I left the monastery pondering about a World without words; obviously life would lose charm not being able to tell a poem, listen to an opera or saying ‘I love you’. Nonetheless, if the only language was the one of the soul, I am sure we would push up our body expression and human interaction in order to being able to communicate better. We will surely talk less but, most likely, we would say more.

Group of Tibetan children

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