Words are not flat, definite, having only one meaning. Words can’t be nailed down as true for all times. For instance the old saying, “For once and for all” can be thrown out as impossible. There is nothing that is “for once and for all.” Every formed thing is impermanent.
Words are fluid; they contain movement and energy. They are alive. There is so much within a word that goes unnoticed—subtle energies.
Words mean something different to each person.
Words reflect states of mind. States of mind express; they take form and shape our lives and help us understand the world.
The energy, the vitality, the intention within words move things in the direction of our tone and the meaning of our words.
Take the words “right” or “wrong,” for instance.
I grew up in a rather “black and white” world where things were either “right” or “wrong.”
And my family found much that was wrong. These words were used frequently causing much anger, hurt and shame. They were often directed at me.
Thus, I began looking for things that were wrong and tried very hard to correct them.
In the last few years I have learned that “skillful” or “unskillful” can replace “right” or “wrong.”
These words can describe the same situations without causing harm.
What a difference this makes! When unskillful is substituted for wrong the situation becomes open to new possibilities. The behavior is simply unskillful. Greater skill can always be developed.
Whereas the word “wrong” is heavy. It has a dead end quality. Wrong denotes bad, ruined, spoiled. Nothing can be done to change that which is ruined. It’s over and done with. The violence has been done.
It becomes obvious that a change in the words we use makes a huge difference in how we feel, think and act.
Is our vocabulary filled with violent, hurtful words that threaten, rebuke or cause shame?
Violent words lead to violent actions.
If we desire a world in which kindness and generosity prevail over hate and anger we need to start with our words—not just our spoken words, but also our inner dialogue—the way we speak to ourselves.
I suggest listening carefully for one twenty-four hour period and notice how often hurtful/violent words are thought or spoken aloud.
If we are making anyone or anything wrong, please note this. Perhaps a new skill needs to be brought forth. Rather than “wrong” it may have simply been “unskillful.”
Just these small changes can help us relate differently to each other and make a huge impact on the unfoldment of our society.
The Tao tells us the Way becomes the Way as we walk it. Our path is not spread out before us waiting for us to step into. Our actions create our “way,” our journey.
Everything we think, feel and do becomes part of this Path.
It is not fate that we can’t avoid. Our destiny is calling us. This call urges us to move into thought systems that cause actions which bring more beauty and compassion into the world.
Or we can remain unconscious of how we think and speak, and thus repeat the same damaging patterns. This is unskillful behavior.
Let’s remember that we are not “wrong.” No matter what we have done in the past we are now in the process of seeing differently.
As we experience the sensations in our body, sit with them whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, we don’t have to act out any unskillful emotions that might be attached to these physical senses.
Through this process we learn the skill of working with our emotions.
Emotions are constantly, subtly changing. They are energy in motion. We can skillfully let them flow.
We learn to relate to our emotions, rather than from them. As we do we are choosing to be part of the solution, rather than the problem.
We can learn to speak desirable unformed energy into form.
This opens the way for positive changes. We begin to glimpse options and possibilities. Humans can—under healthy, respectful conditions— develop the skill of living compassionately with generosity of heart and soul.
Rather than condemn as “wrong,” let’s grant ourselves and others the possibility of becoming more skillful in nurturing and caring for each other.