Power Of Words
February 12, 2012 § 1 Comment
A poster on a school notice board declares: “What we habitually say in our heads, we usually end up saying with our lips, which ultimately direct our feet.” Words are powerful.
The following story illustrates well the power of words:
In Buddhism, one aspect of the Eightfold Path, Sama Vaca, is most often translated into English as Right Speech, but a more accurate rendering is Wise Speech or even Skillful Speech, which helpfully suggests speech that is acquired through practice. The concept of Intentional Speech is being mindful of one’s purpose in speaking.
An old Buddhist master spoke to his students: “Tonight I would like to speak to you about wise speech. According to the Buddha, wise speech is that which is truthful, gentle, helpful, spoken from a kind heart and is timely.”
Then he spoke at great length about the harm that results from rude, mean spirited, harsh or careless words. A young disciple said, “Venerable sir, I do not understand how this can be. A stone can bruise. Theft can deprive. But words are just sounds, having no substance. I must disagree with you when you suggest they are so powerful.”
The master replied, “If you weren’t such an ignorant idiot, you’d understand. So sit down, shut up and stop interrupting.”
The startled young man fell silent, but about ten minutes later jumped to his feet, face red, eyes bulging, fists clenched, his whole body shaking.
The old man turned to him, “You seem perturbed. Your gentle disposition is shattered. What happened to you?”
“You hurtled harsh insults I did not deserve. You cannot possibly be the great teacher you pretend to be. You are a fraud!”
The old man responded, “Ah, I see. It was my words that had such a transforming effect upon you. It seems you and I agree that speech can be quite powerful.”
Words, especially from those we consider leaders, can guide us or deceive us, make us knowledgeable or ignorant, violent or peaceful, sad or joyful, wise or foolish. Words give birth to ideas, which in turn create powerful emotions, which rule the hearts of men and women, who then can act constructively or destructively, for justice or injustice.
The power of words ……
It is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging or kind word can go such a long way. Anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times.
Special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another.
May your words be a blessing to someone today.