"Pristine Desert Skies"
Yesterday, I was horrified to read a recent remark made about the President of the United States. The rock guitarist, Ted Nugent called Mr. Obama "a subhuman mongrel." The comment was so vile that even Nugent's fellow right-wingers called him out for it, and ultimately a (sort of) apology was issued.
When I first read these repulsive words uttered against the president of this country, my reaction was visceral. These words literally produced a "sick feeling" some place deep inside me- like that time when I saw someone throw a trash bag from his car out onto the desert trail. Witnessing that act of intentional pollution literally made me feel "sick."
This morning I've been reflecting on the effect words have on us.
I actually believe that words have way more power than we may imagine. We think of words as symbols that need to be mentally decoded in order to have any effect to make sense. I actually think that all words (even those words we don't understand) have an energy to them - an energy that can carry a mighty punch.
A few years ago, I took great interest in a Japanese study about the "physical" effect of words. Photographs were taken of water molecules from a local lake that had been frozen into ice crystals. The same water was then blessed by a Zen Buddhist monk and also frozen into ice crystals.
Amazingly enough the words of harmony and blessing spoken by the monk over that water literally and physically changed the water.
Pictures of the crystals that were not blessed had a limp and collapsed structure with black holes and a yellowish edge. Pictures of the blessed water crystals exhibited pristine diamond-like characteristics - sparkling and gleaming.
I was absolutely fascinated by this study. It reinforced what I have been thinking all along. The words we use are "energy." They have power to create and they have power to destroy.
I think of how many times I have heard people say things like, "Her harsh words really hit me hard. I felt like I was being punched in the gut." I think about words used by bullies, so powerful that they have pushed victims into committing suicide. Words have power to destroy.
I also think about words that create and give new life- words of encouragement spoken in times of trouble or in the face of defeat that pack a powerful punch -energizing deflated spirits.
I can't tell you how many times I have spoken a few words of hope and comfort at a hospital bedside or at a graveside service; and regardless of what was actually said, just speaking those words had a visceral effect - a physical effect eliciting a new sense of hope and energy. Words have power to create.
When I read those vile words calling the president a "subhuman mongrel," I felt as if the crisp, clean desert air where I live with its pristine blue skies had actually been polluted- not figuratively but literally polluted. And in fact, it had.
As I sit here in my morning reflection, I am vividly reminded of the responsibility each of us has for the kind of words we use. Our words are very powerful. They can destroy, sicken, kill and pollute, or they can create life and elicit hope and give birth to beauty.