lördag 10 januari 2015

Healing our shen and health through how we phrase ourselves – Right Speech: how you heal yourself and others through taking responsibility for what you say

                                                                                                                      Daniel Skyle © 2015

Healing is the focus of the acupuncture in Chinese medicine. A skilled acupuncturist will help with this – showing the patient a direction for healing and freedom. You treat both what is called bransch – biao – what we call symptoms in the West, but always also ben, root, which is the underlying cause of the symptoms we might only see in the branches and leaves of our system. At the same time, there are several other facets which are important if we actually want to change our health in the long run: they are found in how we live our life.

If we expect to get better and heal without changing anything in our old life, the improvement to our health is often temporary. Soon it risks falling back into the old patterns that we could have let go, the ones that made our health worse to begin with.

One of the simplest places to begin when it comes to our health, is how we phrase ourselves. In this article, we will look at the huge effect negative ways of phrasing can have on us and others – and how we can change this to become a positive, nourishing factor that strengthens our health and makes people in our surroundings happier and more whole. Welcome in.

Compassion is a verb.”

                      - Zen monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hahn

Our mind is visible in what we say

In the West, many different systems aiming at stress management have tried to cut fragments out of the old traditions from the East. But in the old traditions there is a huge amoung of knowledge rarely seen here at all. One of the simplest yet most important views in them is to look at how one´s own mind works. This is the root for everything.

  But to many in the West, beginning there is too advanced. An easier way is often to begin listening to what one says. Our mind is visible in the words we choose; our heart is visible in the intent we use when talking to other people.

Many people in our society phrase themself in quite negative ways. It has become a habit, often taught by someone else – parents, school, partner, media, workmates – and it´s a habit that hurts so much more than we think. It hurts both ourselves and the person we are talking to when we do it.

   Negativ intent and energy which is carried out into our life through our voice colours our surroundings with that negativity. Before that, it has of course already made our own system inside much more negative too. It might have made our internal life negative inside for years before that, maybe decades; it´s something like decorating a house with armchairs and sofas wrapped in barbed wire.

No-one has ever raised a statue to a critic.”

                                           – Mark Twain

Influence from the media

Media surrounds us. For those who listen a lot to TV and radio, that negativity can become so taken for granted that it becomes a background noise to our life, like always bringing with us a bitter and negative person who constantly is whispering next to us.

That negativity – and the pictures our mind links to it – will eventually shape how we think and how we see reality. This means that it can also shape our very view of reality: the world is so full of problems and pain that all of it just going to hell in a handbasket and nothing will ever get better...

   If you look more analytically and critically at what is said, and if you actually do real research on it, you will discover that these negative views often are wrong, and that the world is more full of good projects, good people and light than we ever hear about.

The programming from the media and from capitalism has even managed to begin change how we see what is positive for us. Because of the programming from corporations, many people now believe that it heals them to buy new clothes or toys, which is just another way of trying to fill the emptiness inside that corporations try to create in us.

   If people nourish themselves and are well, and just safely rest in who they are, they loose a lot of the interest to buy things. If this attitude spread through society, corporations would also make much less money. So there is always a motivation for them to manipulate us to make us feel positive only when we buy things, and that that ”we deserve to feel good” equals buying something instead of simply just feeling good and being content in our life.

When we see our world in a brighter light, our internal world also becomes more full of light. In Chinese medicine, one talks about several different diagnostic patterns using similes like internal weather. It becomes simple: the question if we want to live with an internal world which is like a wet November day, or if we want to live with an internal world which is like one of those early summer days, full of sunshine and lightness, just on that brink between spring and summer. Which kind of weather do you want inside you?

To belittle you have to be little.

                                – Khalil Gibran

Negativity in our society, and the crab bucket

Media is part of how negatively our society sees things – but sadly there is also what one often calls ”the crab bucket”.

If you put crabs in a bucket, and one tries to climb out, to freedom again, the others will stretch out their claws and try to pull it back down.

The crab bucket is quite common in many people´s life, and many automatically think like this because they have been programmed to think like this by parents, teachers, acquaintances or workmates.

Thankfully, it is possible to be free of the crab bucket and change it in others. The choice is entirely up to you; we must all make the choice ourself if we want to be a positive factor for ourselves and our surroundings.

Never look down on anybody unless you´re are helping them up.”

                                                      – Jesse Jackson

Right Speech – how we heal ourself and others through choosing our words

Sometime you can hear them as you walk by, when you sit nearby; people who gossip about others, who try to take them down, attack them, paint them a certain colour and then try to use this as a power over them. Whispers, negative voices sharing rumours like presents of rotten meat. You can see it on those who often do it, it´s visible in their faces. Whispers in the winter´s night, on the phone or online. The sad way some people choose to fill the emptiness in their own life.

   The opposite of gossip is often called Right Speech in Buddhism, and similar principles exist in most spiritual traditions. With Right Speech, we take an increasing amount of responsibility for how we manifest our own energy and intent in what we say and in how we use our voice.

With Right Speech, you slowly learn to become more and more conscious of how you phrase yourself, and if it is negative, neutral, or positive. Both in what you say about yourself and about others.

   The more we do this, the more we see how our mind works and can begin to change it – a practical way of letting more sunlight and warmth light up in us!

Most spiritual traditions have versions of the techniques in Right Speech. What it really concerns is to begin being more present in how our mind shapes our thoughts.

   How do we sound? How much of what I say is negative? How much of what I say are rumours or gossip? How much of what I say is charged with negative intent towards others?

   The more you think this through, the more you realize how much we can choose to heal ourselves through how we use our voice.

   The more we remember to be kinder and nicer, the more we also notice how that positive effect clearly spreads around us. More and more it begins to lighten and light us up inside; it becomes easier around the heart, freer in the chest, the mind becomes happier and the way we look at ourselves and others becomes more full of compassion.

Right Speech means that we more and more simply stand for what we do and
who we are. In English, one version for this is walking the talk: standing for what
you say.

One of our teachers, the acupuncture doctor and daoist lineage holder Jeffrey Yuen, talks about it like this: ”In Daoism, we have what is called qingren: the Clear People or People with Clarity. We often say that they are like a drop of ink in water – unnoticeably they spread balance and compassion around them until it saturates the water where they are, the people around them.”

COURAGE – give others more than they need and do it gladly.”

                                   – poster in the clinics of Small Change Classical Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

How do you phrase yourself?

What do you say about your own health? What can you hear in your words about yourself? If you are saying a negative image then it is quite likely that a part of your mind actually thinks that might be true too. If you start to rephrase yourself a bit more positively – taking a first step on that road – then you also begin changing your internal world to have more sunlight and more flowers inside.

I am so bad at doing things.”

I am not worth feeling well.”

I am such a negative factor for people in my surroundings.”

...etc. All just programmings, negative programmings we have had in us like computer viruses.

Shall we take a look at them again?

   ”I am so bad at doing things.”

Have you never done anything good at all? Have you never done something that made another human being happier and lighter, even if just a little? If you want to, you can keep doing good things and just practice how you can make them even better for yourself and for others.

I am not worth feeling well.”

   Why wouldn´t you be? Everybody is worth feeling well in their life and becoming more compassionate. If someone told you this a long time ago, they probably just spread the programming they had inside themselves. That they spread this says much more about them and the dark, unpleasant internal world they sadly live with twentyfour hours a day.

It is exactly in things like this we can see how incredibly far negative speech can spread – it can spread like weeds through generations. Instead of this, we can chose to phrase ourselves more carefully and more positively, and let this become positive rings on the water. Kind and positive phrasing to someone can become a seed that strengthens them over their entire lifetime.

I am such a negative factor for people in my surroundings.”

   We are never only a negative factor in our surroundings. We can choose if we want to become more positive, if we want to spread positive rings on the water arround us or spread negativity where we go. The first step is often to simply start noticing what we say and how we say it. Slowly we become more neutral instead of negative. With more time and training, we become more positive for ourselves and for the people around us.

If someone says negative things about you or someone else, one way of solving this is to pleasantly ask, ”Exactly how do you know that?”. Few people who spread rumours dare stand for their opinion, because they know it´s empty. It is the same thing with facts; facts take a long time to learn, which is why so many rather have opinions, as opinions are fast to get and weigh nothing.

Another way of gently dissolving negative comments from others is to pleasantly ask, ”What makes you think that?..” Always try to be curteous if you can, the best situation is if you can help them open up their heart a little at the same time. We can´t always do that, but if we can, that kind of discussion has the greatest healing-effect in the long run.

The more you work with Right Speech, the more careful and cautious you become with what you say. The clearer and more whole one becomes, and the freer one´s own life gets, filled with compassion and warmth.

Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”

                                                     – J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Practical advice for phrasing

Think through what you have done every day. Give yourself praise for good things, even if you think they seem small. This slowly changes how our mind works and how we see ourself and the world. If we have been programmed for years or decades to be negative, eventually parts of our mind might begin to think so too, even though it´s incorrect. We only have to start changing those negative programmings and keep changing them, and things get better. Like they say in China, one step at a time and you get there.

People who gossip about others and are negative near you, do they seem to feel well? Do they seem happy about who they are? Do they seem compassionate towards others, and a positive factor in their life? It is when we really start to look at others that we see how damaging their negativity really is, both to themselves and to others.

If someone is negative near you or towards you, see if you can let that go and stay with them. It is part of how their internal world is, and it is great pity if they live in the middle of a rainy, cold to the bone November day their whole life without an umbrella. We can let those problems stay with them, and keep sunlight in our own internal world.

In best case, we can help them become better too, but the only thing we can do for certain is to be improve our own skills in Right Speech.

Look at how you phrase yourself. Are you using negative phrases and words about yourself? Are you negative towards others? Try then to just gently rephrase what you say to something nicer, kinder, nourishing or positive. Every second in our life we can choose whether we want to live it as a positive factor for ourselves and our surroundings. The choice is entirely up to us: after that, we only take one more step at a time on that path, and become more and more skilled at Right Speech, and more and more healed and whole and compassionate inside.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”

                                    – Dalai Lama XIV

Daniel Skyle © 2015