This morning, I went on a walk and entered the forest of my heart. It is a magnificent place, full of willow trees. The air is thick with a dew, golden and glowing. Everyone speaks to everyone here. But the words. The words are different. The words are angels, each carrying soul and kindness between beings, sprinkling a transformative beauty from their wings.
When I returned, I couldn’t help but wonder of a world where words are used in this way. We seem to have largely lost the angel aspect of the word, and use the miracle of language to explain, debate, argue, and declare. We can be careless and cutting with what we say. But what of their power to understand, touch, awaken, and heal?
For my doctoral dissertation, I recently interviewed a wonderful author and Depth Ecologist, David Abram. In our interview, we spoke about the world and all things of the world as alive, and how essential it is to reconnect to this worldview, which defines many sacred traditions and aboriginal cultures. We do this not to regress or move back in time, but to come full circle, and realize what we have lost through a collective, intellectual disenchantment.
What I found particularly poignant in our conversation was the idea that if, indeed, we view everything as alive and ensouled, then everything is speaking and everything is listening, and thus, our human words affect much more than our human species. David stated this beautifully in the interview,
“As these daunting experiences of a speaking world rise and break over you, they begin to alter the way you speak because you suddenly realize that you can’t just talk about the world or the things in the world behind their back because everything is also listening. Things feel what you’re saying. They may not get the dictionary definitions of the words that I’m using but the trunks of trees certainly register the timbre of my voice and the rhythm of my speaking.”
When we reflect upon the purification of our speech in light of these ideas, a new level of practice arises. We come to realize how quickly we can objectify and divide with our words, and how injurious and offensive we can be, not only to one another, but to all things, all sentient beings that surround us. Our words, when injurious and objectifying, block the channel from our heart to our throat, and create a world of division.
I found this dewdrop of wisdom perched on a blade of grass under the willow trees, and wanted to place it before you and me, as an offering. For it is as much a reminder to myself, as anyone else.
Surrender your superiority, delusion and greed
at the threshold of your awakening.
They have no place here
among the willows of the heart,
whose branches hang low and soft.
If you come here often,
the willows will whisper
of medicinal sounds
to calm your critical
and exasperated mind.
A liquid love, free-flowing and plenty,
will begin to condense around your throat.
And the words that escape
will carry the nectar and sweetness
of the honeysuckle.
Everything you touch
will simply reflect and affirm
of your becoming.
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