What has outlasted all the military battles of the world, and all the victories and defeats of fallen empires?
Words. Yes, words. They are the encapsulated vibrations of sound—the meaningful characters which form stories to help us understand reality, shape it, and surrender to it. Words are so important that hordes of people have deemed certain texts and manuscripts nothing short of divine. Plenty of Christians believe that the verses in the Bible were written by God himself. Even in AA, the Big Book is held in very high esteem. Once, at the end of a meeting, I was having a conversation with a gentleman, and he said: "Bill Wilson didn't write the Big Book. God did." I nodded and chuckled silently.
From AYP, I've quoted and paraphrased Yogani countless times. His words are crucial to me, not because I assign them a Godlike status, per se, but because they are highly practical and contain instructional imperatives that help me achieve my goals. In Psalms, it's written: "Be still and know that I am God." In AYP, it's written: "Easily favor the mantra." Simple. Profound. Powerful.
My uncle once proclaimed: "Life is tone, and tone is life." Language, spoken and unspoken, carries a tone, at all times. For instance, consider the holiday phrase "Merry Christmas". What a difference it makes when that greeting is uttered with gusto and warmth instead of half-heartedness or discontent. It's the difference between Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge. The words can be exactly the same, but the underlying tone can make all the difference. The emotional content within communication cannot be underestimated or undervalued.
With the practice of samyama, we paint the unspoken sutras with tones that barely hover above silence. They are released as faint whispers, mild murmurs, and light remembrances of our designated set of thought-essences. The closer they are to stillness, the more amplified their resonance will become. It is an exercise in delicacy and finesse. It is the refinement of passion into sublimity.
Words, when combined with music, are doubly powerful.
When I got sober about 5 years ago, my much-needed shift in gears happened on the tail end of a breakup. The breakup was catalyzed by a confession I had made to my significant other at the time. I remember the occasion vividly. I was overwhelmed with guilt and anxiety. I had kept a secret bottled up, and I couldn't bear the deception any longer. Suddenly, the quintessential moment of clarity swept over me. There was pure silence in my mind, then arose the words: "I reach out from the inside."
Those are the lyrics from the Peter Gabriel song In Your Eyes. The melody was playing as clear as a bell inside of me, almost as if I was listening to a radio version. It was a perfect, imprinted rendition of the tune, and it was exactly what I needed at that moment to come clean and settle the score. Ever since that occurrence of purification and opening, I've never doubted the power of words or music.
That is why the pen is mightier than the sword.
Happy Holidays, and I will end this entry with some more verbal jewels from the song In Your Eyes:
In your eyes, I see the doorway to a thousand churchesIn your eyes, the resolution of all the fruitless searchesIn your eyes, I see the light and the heatIn your eyes, Oh! I want to be that completeI want to touch the light, the heat I see in your eyes...