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.