Speaking Without Words
Friday, April 10th, 2009 2:07 AM
Words. Funny things really, words. They get in the way but we can’t do without them.
Our Neanderthal ancestors, cats, dogs, elephants, dolphins, snakes,spiders and so on, all communicate without words. So words are uniqueto humans and only humans in recent history.
Without words this blog would be a blank page. Without them, therewould be no publishing – magazines, books and newspapers. There wouldbe no computers. Without words there would be very little entertainment– just silent movies; no songs, no opera, no television, no comedy.Without them there’d be no public relations or advertising, no lawsystem or politics, as we know them today, for communication on a largescale would not be possible.
Life would be simpler and probably more peaceful – there’d be no needfor lawmakers and law enforcers. Education and religion would be verydifferent. Our truths would have to come from within for we could notlook to the “wise” words of others. We would need to be more attentiveof our own inner promptings, of others and our surroundings. We’d needto be more careful of our body language.
Words are so important nowadays that they’re seen, by many, to be theanswer to all our emotional problems. The idea that we must discloseall our inner “stuff” to the world to heal ourselves, is so ingrained,that anyone who suggests otherwise is seen as a traitor, as a heretic.No one is allowed to suggest that keeping things to yourself could begood for you but, nevertheless, I’m going to suggest it anyway.
One idea in counselling is that you tell someone everything - all yourjoys, pain, dreams, worries and every other thing - and once all thoseinner things are turned into words, poof! You’re healed! So easy, justtell and heal. That method does work, sometimes, for many people, butit is not the only way. There is no one way to become enlightened, tobecome healed or to become a better person. Your way is not my way andvice versa. The problem is that the people for whom words are moreimportant are the ones who get heard and so the only truths that arebroadcast are those from the word people. The non-word people don’t getheard and don’t get acknowledged, as if they don’t exist. All they hearabout is the way of others and they feel pressured to conform to thetruth of those who are built differently from them. And the word peoplewonder why everyone doesn’t do things their way (talking, talking,talking …) for they’ve never stopped to listen - with different ears –to the truths of the non-word people. Because they only hear with theirears, they’re not aware that others are speaking in the silent way, theway without words. To them there is no other truth for they’ve neverknown that there’s another way to communicate.
For word people, expression is the way they operate and words are theirbest way of healing and self-improvement. For the non-word people, thisis the worst way to sort things out. Let me explain it this way:
When something happens to us, an emotion arises. Someone may tell ussomething nice and there’s a happening in our body – maybe heat in ourcheeks, buzzing in our heart or tingling in our toes. Someone may beangry with us and we may experience tightness in our stomach, clenchingin our hands or sweating on our forehead. The energy of an outsideevent starts the motion of energy in our body, which is why we call itemotion – energy in motion. Some may leave it at that and simplyexperience the emotion.
Others may reflect on that emotion and, in that reflection, theemotions are turned into feelings. “I have heat in my cheeks and sothat’s what embarrassment feels like” or “I have tightness in mystomach and so that’s what fear feels like”. To reflect and convertbodily sensations into feelings, we must put words to those sensations.Something is always lost in the translation. Even in the safety of ourown minds, there are never the perfect words to explain to ourselveswhat the emotion was really like.
Then if we tell someone else what the emotion was, the translatingloses more of the original reality. For a start, the words are never acomplete picture for ourselves and it can feel awkward to pass on thisincomplete picture - we know all our emotions can never be conveyedfully and misinterpretation is likely. The next problem is that thelistener has hir* own language which comes from hir differentexperiences, upbringing, dreams and biases. Same words mean differentthings to different people. We know full well that our words will notbe fully understood and we then have two remedies:
1. Remain silent and leave our listener with a distorted view of what has gone on, or
2. Explain more fully, knowing that the more words we use, the more distance we have from our original emotion.
If our listener is a word person, they will want more words, totallyunaware that adding words is subtracting meaning. They wonder at oursilence and tell us we must express ourselves more while we know thatmore words simply create a larger gulf in understanding.
What to do? We cannot teach our word people how to hear in the languageof silence for we must teach them in that language also - they willnever hear. We cannot use more words for that creates greatermisunderstanding. We can do nothing to bridge the gap. Absolutelynothing. We may become frustrated, angry, withdrawn or whatever butthere is still nothing we can do. We cannot become word people for thatis not our way. We can only try to adjust, as immigrants in a new landwhere all is done differently. We must try to learn the new languagebut it never has the fullness and nuances of the language of our birthand no one in this foreign land knows our birth language.
Speaking our feelings is one way of healing our tortured psyches but it is not the only way.
Words are helpful for some and really unhelpful for others. Pleaselisten to our silences and respect our differences. Who knows what youmay hear in the silence. Just try it for a moment … right now … shhhh.
* hir = him or her
See more at http://personaldevelopmentacademy.org or
Displaying results 1 - 1 of 1 records found