A Word Matter

Why are WORDS so important? Perhaps because, when we slow down and really contemplate them, they are never just words. We might discover how much consciousness and meaning they hold. They can flow from a deep river of Truth and reveal the timeless calling of our Universal Heart, or they can reinforce habits of fear, doubt, and separation. They have the potential to open us up to healing beyond what we can even imagine is possible, or shut us down into the shame of the wounded victim. They can serve as a glorious invitation to life, or a harsh dismissal of it.

Words. They are important because they hold powerful potential for leveraging the development of consciousness. But what caliber of consciousness? What does our daily “word diet” consist of? What words do we indulge in daily? And by engaging in these words and images daily, what sort of consciousness are we cultivating in our own psyche and collectively? It is through these words and images that we relate to one another, and come to know ourselves. What could possibly be more important to pay attention to?

Words are never just words. They are reality-makers. Slowly, bit by bit, our psyche, emotions, and thought-patterns are formed through words from the moment of our birth. From the words of our earliest inner dialogue to the words of our grade 3 teacher, we grow according to the landscape of meaning that words have created. Whether we read a lot, or choose never to read again, we have been shaped by a culture of words. They are the building blocks for our individual and communal concepts or shibboleths. They are reflected back to us in how we relate to each other and to our understanding of life’s general purpose and meaning. Because words eventually fashion the potpourri of our experienced realities, they eventually form the cultural landscape in which we live. From the perspective of developing spiritual awareness through consciousness, this landscape is vital. It will either aid or obstruct the expansion of our individual and collective consciousness. We will either be supported in knowing, and living from, our authentic nature in God/Self/Spirit, or we will feel crazy for even thinking that such a reality exists.

Words of Spirit have the potential to re-align us with our authentic nature. Scripture and the Love-poetry of the mystics are examples of this. When we read words written by those who are surrendered to their divine nature in God, we receive divine transmission. St. John of the Cross describes such words as being “like the sun,” in that “they can do for the heart what light can for a field.” French resistance fighter, Jacques Lusseyran was aware of the power of words as a blind concentration camp survivor in WW2. His writings challenge us to ward off “the pollution of the I” that comes to us in a cascade of outward images, rules and regulations, and cultural distortions. Lusseyran kept his inner light intact while in the concentration camp through his relationship with a spiritual inmate (“Jeremy”) and through the healing medicine of recited poetry. In “And There Was Light” he writes:

… “I learned that poetry is an act, an incantation, a kiss of peace, a medicine. I learned that poetry is one of the rare, very rare things in the world which can prevail over cold and hatred. . . . A medicine, neither more nor less. An element which, communicated to the human organism, modified the vital circulation, making it slower, or more rapid. It was, in short, something whose effects were as concrete as those of a chemical substance, I was convinced of this.”


Words have meaning because they shape our reality and who we understand ourselves to be. They give the life around us context. We are molded — one word, one concept, one idea at a time — throughout our life. Words can either help to birth the authentic “I” in Spirit, or they can help to pollute it, as Lusseyran says. Whether we choose to be conscious of the power of the word or not, does not mean that we are free from the reality of the word/concept/reality wheel that shapes the life within and around us.

It is important to know that words are the building blocks that sustain our life together on this beautiful planet. What are the internal words/thoughts/images we re-cycle through our awareness? And just what consciousness does our daily reading (or listening) feed? What meaning and context do they give to our relationships and the space between us? Do the words and concepts we use reinforce our personal position and the cultural status quo? Or do they push the edges of what we know, and open us to previously unseen doors of possibility?

As spiritual beings, we would be wise to pay attention. Otherwise, we might realize too late that, because of words we have never ingested, we have forsaken both the kingdom of God and the realization of our divine birthright. We may discover that we have never really known who we are in this “one precious life” as Mary Oliver calls it. We would be wise to remember that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). We would be wise to Know that the eternal Word that resonates throughout the Universes, is not separate from the Yearning Heart seeking expression within you and me, and through this one precious life we share together.

4 thoughts on “A Word Matter

  1. I just read a chapter in John Kehoe’s book ” The Practice of Happiness” called “The Giveaway”. It is about Potlatch. It used to be an evening out of wealth in a community, now it is more about sharing wealth. But here are a couple of paragraphs by Sun Bear from that chapter:

    “There is actually a greater giveaway than the potlatch that each of us is called to perform. This giveaway happens within but it is even more important.We are to give away our fear, our worry, our hates and grudges. Give away all that weakens us and pollutes the stream of consciousness.

    Within us each of us a great stream of consciousness flows. This stream, if it is pure, will nourish the human tribe. If it is polluted, it will make us sick.In these times we are living in we are polluting the stream by how we think. We need to change our ways our values. We must purify the stream to heal both ourselves and Grandmother Earth, and this giveaway can only be done one person at a time.”

    Then he explains to go into the woods, dig a hole and sit in front of it and give away all negativity, inner toxins and troubles, all what is harming us. Only then he will work with them. He talks about our responsibility to keep this river of consciousness flowing clean, as all our inner workings and thoughts are influencing it and therefore everybody.

    1. Margit. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful writing by John Kehoe. It is truly what we all need to focus on — one person at a time. And when we gather together with mutual intention, we fortify our individual resolution and commitment to no longer contributing to the pollution of the One “I” — the sacred stream of consciousness we all are.

  2. Laura: I am so grateful that you are sharing your love and wisdom through your new blog. How courageous…..I am inspired. I love the reminder of how words have the power to create our reality and that it is paramount that we are aware of our “word diet”.
    Thanks to Margit for sharing John Kehoe’s book with the words from Sun Bear in how our individual stream of consciousness feeds all of humanity……in sickness or in health. What a miracle that “When we read words written by those who are surrendered to their divine nature in God, we receive divine transmission.”

    The power to create, heal, sustain and nurture is ours to share.

    I look forward to receiving your blogs. namaste

    1. Thank you Lydia. Hidden within the distractions and worries of our busy “outer life,” there is a divine “inner unfolding” of the heart — very palpable, very real, no one excluded, all invited. Our authentic and deepest connection to life knows this beyond doubt. It is where we make the shocking discovery that we are free to love, no matter what life may “look like.” Matter is included in love — always — but can never birth it or sustain it, as the material views are far too contracted/limited. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19 & 21). Our task is to find our deepest treasure, the purity of the divine heart, yearning to find itself in God. Then, with like-minded/hearted souls we learn how to live in a way the nurtures “the divine indwelling” (Fr. Thomas Keating)

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