Considering the Importance of Words

Have you ever heard of the expressions ‘empty words’ or ‘empty chatter’?  Usually, there is a deeper reason why certain expressions have become time-honored.

What makes words empty?  We could say that mere, and often incorrect, repeating of something we heard or read without fully understanding its meaning makes our words empty.  Any words used to bolster our egos are bound to be empty.  Frivolous talk produces empty chatter.  For good reason, the expression ‘empty words’ is often used in connection with unfulfilled promises or saying things we don’t mean.  Sometimes we reply absentmindedly to someone else’s question or story without having fully listened.  In this case, our words will certainly be mostly empty as well.

Words that are profound or have some bearing are those that come from deep insight as a result of full comprehension gained through one’s inquiry, contemplation, and direct experience.  Words that are profound usually have a positive effect on the listener, because they come from a place of wisdom.  I know from my own experience with a book I once read that profound words can potentially be life-altering.  There are many profound words, as in ancient spiritual texts from all traditions with their complex imagery, which will by-pass the intellect and go straight to the intuitive understanding of the reader.

In this age of mass and social media, every day we are confronted with an overload of words.  Oftentimes, without even realizing it, they make us confused and tired.  There is only so much information we can process at any given time.  We, too, are contributing to the conversation via emails, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.  But we have the choice to contribute to the chaos and abundance of empty words that are already flooding all channels of communication or we can decide to contribute to the conversation only with words that have some bearing.

How do we know if our words are empty or meaningful?  To help discern between these two qualities, asking ourselves the following questions might help:  Will what I am about to say have any positive effect on the world around me?  Will my words add to the world’s beauty or spiritual richness?  Will I be of any help or brighten someone’s day with my words?  If we can say ‘yes’ to any one of these questions, then we know that we are about to make a valuable contribution and are not cluttering our environment with more empty words or chatter.

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