Words Count: What We Say Matters

It’s Monday. It’s hot. I’m looking at all the To Do’s I have. How best to make my time count? Can I give myself permission to take my day a bit slower than usual?

That was my though as I got up this morning. I was debating what time to start work and how much work I could leave to one side. Could I count on catching myself up later in the day? My ego mind was definitely at odds with my intuition. My feelings were shouting out really loud that I had to slow down and take things easy. Yet my mind wanted to tell me off for being lazy. For not doing enough. And for being uncommitted to what I was hoping to achieve. I realised it was time to take firm contol of my inner words. After all, what good is doing loads of work if what I produce is a bit below par. Better to sort out those things I could do well and let the rest wait until it’s cooler.

Decision made I started to think about the words I had been using.¬†Then I turned on the TV. With great sadness I watched a news report about another attack on innocent people. This one outside a mosque in Finsbury, London. It seemed one man had driven a large van into a crowd of people who had been around in the street. It was being described as a terrorist attack. I wondered what words had been in the driver’s mind to inspire him to take such dreadful action. What was he thinking? Also what was he feeling? I asked myself what words had got tangled up in his mind that produced this dreadful action. It’s the same question I asked of the bomber in Manchester and the people in the van on London Bridge.

How had any of these people become comfortable with the idea that causing death and injury was ok?

Words do count. How I express my feelings, thoughts, opinions and judgements makes a difference. If I express myself in divisive terms then I am promoting division. If I talk in compassionate ways then I am stressing similarity. Lodged in the minds of each of these people must be words that promote harm. Because otherwise they wouldn’t have done what they did. Words that have twisted respect for all life into a belief that some lives don’t matter. I know that we may never discover those words or who said them. But I also know that we have to understand very clearly that what we say in any circumstance or situation does count.

That’s why I was deeply disappointed to go on my Facebook feed and read arguments about today’s incident in Findsbury. It has been called a terrorist offence and I believe that is quite correct. It was a use of unlawful violence and intimidation for political aims. The intention was to terrorise people. To make them live in fear. Yet some people were determined to call it something different. Attempted murder. Or anything that absolved the person who did it from some sort of public condemnation. Because this was a white man attacking Muslims. And some people seemed to be blind to the horror that this provoked. Underneath, in the words being used, was a sense of tit for tat that I found distressing.

I also noticed that there was far less in my newsfeed of people sending healing and prayers. These words and intentions count.

They show that we care about everyone equally. Because sending healing is a recognition that we are all part of the human race and all deserving of equal care. So excuses for the person who did this and less help for those who suffered. What am I to take from that? Is it right that underneath but very close to the surface there are words of hate? Feelings of revenge or payback? What words are we actually using inside ourselves that sneak out unnoticed in the pile of words we use to give our opinion of these events? I keep saying that to live a spiritual life I have to walk the talk. My words have power. So they have to be good and positive words.

However, until I address the cruel, hatefilled or judgemental words inside me my efforts won’t count. It’s not about suppressing my words. But by owning what I say inside and considering if it’s what I would be brave enough to say outside. Bringing those words out into the light and recognising what I truly feel. I know that a lot of people argue that political correctness has gone mad. But if I have those hate filled words inside me eventually they will escape and be said. They may even drive me to actions I never thought I would do. And there is an even greater risk. That I will teach those words to others. They may be the ones who act on what I say.

For whatever reason today’s perpetrator acted on the words inside his head. Who influenced him and why matters. If only so that this chain of hatred can be broken. Think carefully about the words you use. One day they could come back to haunt you.

Day 574 of my blogging challenge 

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