Have you ever stopped yourself in the course of a day and thought about the sheer volume of words we’re bombarded with? There are words we’re reading on everything from cereal boxes to newspapers to Facebook. Words are pouring into our ears like the summer monsoons from all directions: televisions, cell phones, podcasts, videos, the conversations of our office mates and neighbors, the music we listen to and our own conversations. Add to that the constant chatter going on inside our thoughts, we quite literally live inside a web of words.
Now, have you considered how many of these words are actually chosen and used with care, purpose and intent? Some of the scripts we’re read are carefully constructed by politicians, the media and ad agencies to manipulate our thinking. The authors of the world share their landscape worlds with us through words carefully crafted. But what about the rest; the everyday stuff? How careful are people really when it comes to the words they use? So many of us tend to use words we hear often without really considering what they mean. We just spew what’s trendy or convenient. It’s much akin to verbal littering. Words have power.
According to the Bible, all of existence was manifested with one perfect Word; a single utterance contained the power of ultimate creation. I know no greater example than this for the power behind words.
Eastern traditions call this Word Ohm. In eastern spiritual expression Yogis practice the art of Vak Siddhi. Although considered a minor accomplishment, or siddhi, this practice is undertaken with the greatest sincerity. Vak means speech or voice, so Vak Siddhi literally means accomplishing a pure ability to use words. Attaining mastery of it, the Yogi gains the ability to make changes to the physical material universe. Jesus is said to be one of the Masters who understood this crucial importance and demonstrated his ability in biblical scriptures.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali outline the steps necessary to attain this skill as part of the practice of Satya, or the path of truth. Satya is a lifelong journey of knowing, speaking and learning to live life with nothing but truth. Practicing Satya will bring one naturally to Vak Siddhi. The Sutras state using words with honesty, positivity, truthfulness, life-affirming and loving intentions allows the attainment to develop spontaneously. Telling falsehoods and gossiping, talking for the sake of hearing ourselves talk or literally misusing words is said to lessen the power behind them.
I have experienced moments where a turn of phrase literally shakes me. I think we’ve all experienced that. Something suddenly booms through our being like thunder and leaves us changed. Some words we never forget. Words do have power. It might be worth considering how we use or choose to listen to all these words every minute of every day, whether external or internal. They change your world and they also affect someone else’s.
“The word is a force; it is the intent. That is why our intention manifests through the word no matter what language we speak.”
Don Miguel Ruiz