Moving past the limitation of words or language

Frequently, we humans get caught up in the limiting use of words or language. Since we each have grown up with a unique vantage point to life – no one else in the world has walked exactly in our steps or experienced our private thoughts – we each have developed the way we use our own vocabulary to express those thoughts and feelings. While we may share the same language (in a given region), different words have evolved with slightly varying meanings depending on the poetic license we use to express ourselves. These variations in word use create slightly different meanings for different individuals as expressions of experience. So, for example, the the relatively innocuous word “nice” start to take on varying meanings, depending on who is using the word or expression, and how it is being expressed. (side note: perhaps this is why scientific and legal documents use such big and seldom used words to get meanings across, as the less a word is used, the fewer alternative meanings it is likely to have been assigned).

The point is, common language is limiting in getting across meaning in a universal way due to all the subtle innuendos various words are given. The limiting factor is evident in the interpretation by various groups of individuals, who each bring their own use and understanding of given words, that wind up subtly varying meaning from person to person. Semantics become confusing.

I find this particularly so in the rather emotionally tied topics of spirituality. We tend to identify ourselves with spirituality and/or religion – and we get rather touchy about our personal beliefs. We frequently feel almost attacked when different words that we may attribute slightly different meanings are used in describing experience that seems not to match our own. We tend to fear what we do not understand.  This is probably why the Bible is top among the most misunderstood and misquoted books in the world.  (I also experienced frequent misunderstandings due to semantics when I asked several individuals to edit my last book.  My biggest problem was each person worked from semantics quite different from my own.  I finally gave up in frustration trying to explain each point so as not to be misunderstood from this mindset or that).

Semantics have caused and continue to cause friction, fights, and wars over misinterpreting concepts.

My thought here, while not fully a solution, is to learn to tune inward and listen to the heart. The heart speaks in feelings instead of specific words. If we can learn to subdue the desire to “logicate” (my word for trying to see everything in logical and neat little boxes of “scientifically proven” explanations), we will get much further in understanding each other and become more spiritually adept. Imagine being able to tune into the heart-centered language of the wind and whisperings of the breeze, to feel the heartbeat of the earth under our feet, and feel love directly for each other, to feel the true self of each person you meet, and be able to understand the other, intuitively. Without tripping on language. There would be the end of accidentally “placing our foot in our mouths” and other blunders for the misuse or misinterpretation of thoughts, inadequately assigned the symbols of words.

So when reading or listening to another speak, work on bringing awareness from the heart into hearing the message communicated. Focus less on the words.  Deeper understanding just might be your reward for such attunement.

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One Response to Moving past the limitation of words or language

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