WEEK 22: Speak Compassionately

“In separateness lies the world’s great misery, in compassion lies the world’s true strength.” ~ Buddha

I wasn’t at all worried about this week’s topic to ‘Speak Compassionately’. I was actually so unworried that I didn’t even think I needed to come up with an ‘assignment’ to do. I guess because I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty compassionate person, I just assumed speaking compassionately for a week would not be too much of a problem.

Well, as it turned out, it was a little harder than I expected! In fact, and this is pretty embarrassing to admit, I totally flunked the first night of ‘Speak Compassionately’ week! I’m not kidding…within about 15 minutes of sitting down to watch the news, I found myself saying some pretty uncompassionate things about how a couple of the reporters looked. I didn’t like one of their outfits. And another’s teeth looked a little funny to me. I couldn’t believe I was being so mean!

I guess I had somehow forgotten the old adage that ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’. And even though it wasn’t like I was saying these things about people I knew, or actually hurting anyone’s feelings, the fact that I felt compelled to make such comments at all was pretty troublesome to me.

So I decided that this would be the perfect week to put those wise old words into practice. I would watch what came out of my mouth very closely, and if I caught myself about to say something mean or unkind, I would either not say anything, or try to find something nice to say instead.

Fortunately, I realized pretty quickly that I don’t really say unkind things very often, at least about anyone other than television news people! I have no idea why I am so critical of them…maybe I’m just trying to be funny, or somehow make conversation. But I did find, the next time I was watching the news, that by holding my tongue whenever I felt the urge to say something mean, I felt much better. Almost lighter. It was as though the whole energy in the room shifted because I decided to keep those negative words to myself.

And as it turns out, words really do have the power to change the energy in a room, or in anything for that matter.

In the 1990’s, Dr. Masuru Emoto performed a series of experiments observing the physical effect of words on the crystalline structure of water. He hired photographers to take pictures of water after being exposed to different types of words, and then froze them so that they would form crystalline structures.

Amazingly, when exposed to prayer, or positive words like ‘love’ and ‘appreciation’, the crystals formed beautiful patterns that were pure in color, and in perfect symmetry. On the other hand, when exposed to negative words like ‘anger’ and ‘hate’, the crystals were rough, dull, and in a state of disarray.

Dr. Emoto explains:

“Think of it in terms of vibration. It’s easy to understand that language — the spoken word — has a vibration. Well, written words also have a vibration. Anything in existence has a vibration. If I were to draw a circle, the vibration of a circle would be created. Drawing a cross would create the vibration of a cross. So if I write the letters L O V E, then these letters put out the vibration of love. Water can be imprinted with these vibrations. Beautiful words have beautiful, clear vibrations. But negative words put out ugly, incoherent vibrations which do not form clusters.”

And because humans are made up of almost 60% water, it just goes to reason that the words we use to communicate with each other could have as big an impact on the people we’re talking to (not to mention ourselves!), as they did on the water in Dr. Emoto’s experiment.

So whether I’m talking to myself or someone else, it seems to me that it’s really important that I try to pay attention to the words I’m choosing to use. Because when I’m more conscious of what I’m saying, the greater chance I’ll have of choosing words that are positive, rather than negative. And that can only be good, for me and anyone else I’m talking to, or about. Even television news reporters.

I came upon this acronym on Facebook the other day, and I think it’s going to be the perfect way to remind myself to ‘Speak Compassionately’ from here on in:

T.H.I.N.K. before you speak! Is what you are about to say True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and above all, Kind?”

Because if there’s one thing we could all use a little more of in this world, it’s kindness.

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3 thoughts on “WEEK 22: Speak Compassionately

  1. Peg,
    I am reminded of a Sufi saying that says we should place three gates in front of our mouth that our words must pass through before we speak. The first gate is asking ourself if what we are about to say is true, the second gate is asking if what we are about to say is necessary and the third gate is asking ourselves if it is kind.
    Have a great time in Florida with Sal and your mom.
    Love and blessings,

  2. A loving hello from a childhood family friend. When I read Paul’s comment above with “Sal and your Mom” I was immediately swept into a sweet spot of memory and decided I must reach through this cyberspace place to “touch” you with a fond hello.

    I’ve read quite a bit of your writing and have found myself nodding right along with it. Happily, I also really enjoy your writing and the way the words are strung together. That part of the writing process always fascinates me since we all have the same access to words and yet, one person’s combination can make all the difference in how we absorb another person’s ideas and thoughts.

    So, Miss Peggy! So glad to find you here in this nebulous web galaxy of human invention. It’s always fun to find a familiar star whose light is still shining bright. My love and big fat hugs to you and your family — and special thoughts to your Mom and Sal. (I still have a childhood picture of Sallie and me underneath the big white oak at 41 Saint Nick….after the early days on Rocaton… Remember? :>)

    • Oh my gosh Karen…how great to hear from you! And I am so glad to know you are following along! I am guessing Sal sent you the link? I am having fun with my project and so happy when I hear that my experiences are resonating with others. Thank you so much for your kind words! I will definitely pass along your love and hugs to Mom and Sal. We had a great time in Florida celebrating Mom’s bday last week and Libby surprised us all and showed up too. I miss your Dad every time I am in Darien and will always look fondly down St. Nicholas road when I drive by it. Lots of love to you!

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