Telepathy is the language of communication in the spiritual realm. Imagine knowing the thoughts of all the people around you and having all your thoughts revealed without speaking. No one could manipulate or pretend to be other than who they are. All our motivations, fears, and loves would be exposed.
Here on Earth, our thoughts also influence our lives and the environment around us in significant ways, but not as quickly or as completely. We need to rely on verbal and written words to express our thoughts and how we give voice consciously or unconsciously has great power. Words can heal, words can harm, words can motivate, words can discourage, impacting the quality of all our relationships. I often feel that words are very much like knives or fire. They are important tools, but if misused they can quickly turn destructive.
People often express words without giving them a thought, like “I’m fine” when they actually are in turmoil or physically ill. Using words unconsciously can make it difficult to experience connection with others, and yet, telling everyone all the details of our inner life is not appropriate, nor do we have enough time to have deep and substantive conversations with all the people that we interact with in a day.
Recognizing the power of words, how can we use them with integrity and appropriateness? Here is a silly little example. When people ask me, “How are you?” my most recent response has been, “I am many things.” I’ve decided that this answer is honest, up beat, but not too revealing in the midsts of a quick interaction. Often people laugh. I’m simply suggesting that being thoughtful in how we use language is important, even in a causal conversation. Words can be used unconsciously without the awareness of their influence, unscrupulously to mislead, or skillfully to navigate beneficial outcomes. But surely we can’t live a life of integrity, one of actualizing our best, without minding our words.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people tell others what they want to hear, because of the desire to be liked or to avoid conflict. We live in a culture where lying has become an accepted epidemic, the manipulation of words to get what we want without regard to the consequences for others or the world at large. At the other extreme, many repress their words for fear of causing emotional pain, the fear of being judged, or simply a lack of confidence. Either holding back our personal expression or aggressively using language for only personal gain leads to an array of problems.
A mature approach to the wise use of language considers others, while simultaneously demands that we develop a tough skin, in order to become comfortable to have the frank, yet loving, conversations necessary to support each other’s growth and to hold us all accountable for our behavior.
Through the years I’ve heard many stories from clients who don’t feel free to openly express themselves for fear of losing their job or sending a relationship into turmoil. Just think of the news stories about Harvey Weinstein and the large number of women who have been afraid to talk about how he misused his power to take advantage of them. This brings up a fundamental question: What is more important — getting what we want or actualizing our best? If getting what we want is the primary goal, then it becomes much easier to become a victim.
My spiritual guides, who have been my teachers, define fulfillment as self-actualization, rather than our cultural definition of getting what we want. This is not to say that we should blurt out all our feelings, but recognize from a spiritual perspective that this is our earth school and circumstances are put before us for our lessons to be learned.
I realize that using words wisely is not always easy. It requires working through fears, such as the fear of rejection or the fear of hurting people’s feelings. Ultimately, the skill of using words wisely supports self-esteem, deepens relationships and contributes to a world where people can begin to trust that what others say is what they actually mean.