Lately, I have found myself thinking about the power of words. In particular, I have been thinking about something I heard from Communication Coach Sam Horn that most of what we say is said in an attempt to prove something or in someway gain power over another person – instead of as a means of connecting with another person. The implied assumption behind this statement is that this occurs because most of our speech (whether written, spoken, or embodied) comes from our heads instead of our hearts.
As I have been thinking about this idea, I have realized that I have a very interesting relationship towards speech and expression. I either tend to nervously/mindlessly feel what I perceive to be an awkward moment of silence with sound or I tenaciously hold onto my inner truths – even when repeatedly prompted to speak up. In both instances, it has become increasingly apparent to me that I do not speak from my heart. Instead, filled with a state of insecurity and dis-ease, I intentionally select to either fill the space with unimportant chatter or complete stonewalling silence. I’ve yet to find the balance between the two – let alone the truth or the peace that I am robbing both myself and the other of.
All of this of course prompts me to think of the first two yamas – social observances – described by Patangali in the Yoga Sutras: Ahimsa and Satya. Non-harming and truthfulness. In both instances, my speech (or lack there of) is causing harm to myself and the other. It effects me by denying myself full expression of my inner truth and it effects the other by denying them the connection that only comes from hearing, witnessing, or experiencing my truth.
The question I have for you, the one I am working to ask of myself this week is: are you using your words (or lack there of) as a means of connection or as a means of in someway gaining powering over another? This question
might be applicable to your intimate relationships where at times you hide things from those who care about you? it might apply to your working life where perhaps you remain silent instead of speaking up/standing up to offer a potentially contrary opinion? Or maybe it is within your own body where you silence your body’s attempts to tell you to push harder or rest longer. Whatever it is for you, what connection is this causing you and what potential harm is being inflicted by a lack of complete truthfulness about your state of being?