Word Power

I once read somewhere that certain Native American tribes would not refer to a disease or an illness by name. They would use a sort of euphemism, such as “the important thing” when referring to illness. This stemmed from the belief that naming a thing gives it power. I think they were on to something.

It seems abundantly clear to me that the way we think and speak has a profound effect on the way we act. The way we act as a profound effect on the world around us, and sometimes we are completely unaware of the effect we are having.

As children, we were taught that honesty is the best policy, to say what you mean, don’t beat around the bush and if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I’m starting to understand about that last one.

Here’s an example. The hubs and I agreed very early on to not carelessly throw the word ‘divorce’ around. We were both of the opinion that once you say a thing like that, it starts to work into your brain. Listen up, folks! We were right! Trot that old “D” word out at every argument like some kind of weapon and, sure enough, it becomes the sword that kills your marriage. We don’t use the word, lest in naming it we give it power.   Another reason is that we both agreed that if the "D" word ever did come up, we needed to know to take it seriously, and not dismiss it as an empty threat.

It only makes sense. We all know we shouldn’t say unkind things to our children. We don’t want them to grow up scarred by our words. Same deal with marriage: we don’t want it to grow carrying scars from our careless words.

I think our thoughts, words and deeds are all aspects of the energy we put forth into the cosmos. All that I am or ever will be is encapsulated in those three things, and maybe that is the composition of my soul….my thoughts, words and deeds–touched by a divine spark. Yeah, yeah, maybe it’s heresy, but it makes sense to me.

Changing the way you think can change the way you act. Being mindful of your words will keep you careful in your thoughts. It’s a great circle, each portion having small value except that, taken with the other parts, it makes a powerful whole.

It’s a theme that draws a strong connective thread through cultures, time, distance and duty. Think about the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.” Other variations of that same idea include fickle fate, tempting God, tempting fate, and so on. Reveal your fears and the gods will enjoy testing those very fears. Boast too much and the gods don’t like it. They will find a way to humble you.

What does it all mean? We all get our lifetimes to figure it out. I’m a long way off from achieving wisdom, but I’m starting to get an inkling:

Speak carefully. Speak well.

Act carefully. Act well.

Think carefully. Think well.

I’m learning to do it. I make a new resolution to be better at it every day. I tell myself I will keep my rapier wit within the bounds of kindness. I will put my fears aside and choose to be braver. I will NOT reveal my fears to the universe, as my fears are already strong enough and require no additional power. I will trust my faith more, question my heart less, remember that my words can be weapons, and be sure to keep the gentleness in my hands, and in my face. I will put forth into the cosmos the positive, pleasant, joyful energy which I hope to receive.