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Home / Articles / Columnists / Life 101 /   A President’s Words Matter (So Do Yours)
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Tuesday, November 3,2020

A President’s Words Matter (So Do Yours)

By Cary Bayer  
During the last stages of the 2020 Presidential election campaign, former Vice President Biden, as the Democratic Party’s nominee for the presidency, often used the expression, “A president’s words matter.” He spoke these words himself to criticize what he saw as Mr. Trump’s welldocumented 20,000-plus lies, barrage of insults of respected people, and otherwise reckless disregard for language. He’s right; a president’s words do matter. And do you know what? So do yours. This column will be more about your words and how you use them than President Trump’s and how he uses his.

As you have no doubt learned from even a cursory familiarity with the teachings of the East, as well as the 10 Commandments from the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus from the New, what you do, think and say have an effect in the world and come back to you from the Universe. In the East it’s called the law of karma. In the 10 Commandments that Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai, God said, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Jesus put it slightly differently: “As you sow so shall you reap.”

So Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism and Sikhism all believe, in one form or another, in the notion that your words matter. And what you say with those words comes back to you. John Lennon liked to say that it comes back to you right away; his song “Instant Karma,” after all, speaks to that. But the Universe takes a longer time for its delivery system than the Beatle liked to think.

So how should we speak?

I’ve enjoyed watching a lively exchange on this subject when I teach it in my “Conscious Communication” class. I also wrote about this extensively in my book, “Conscious Communication.” The question at the beginning of this paragraph is a variation on the question posed by Pilate to Jesus:

“What is Truth?” I compare the two because they both partake in Universal laws.

1. Tell the truth: This is something we’ve been taught since we were old enough to understand language. Our parents taught it to us; then, we were reminded of it in our churches, synagogues and mosques; and the lesson was reinforced further still by our grade school teachers.

2. Be kind in your speech: This one is a little subtler than the first. There’s a Sanskrit expression from the wisdom of India that goes: “Satyam bruyat priyam bruyat.” It translates as “Speak the sweet truth.” Transcendental Meditation founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who I studied with for many years, and who taught me how to teach meditation, used to say a lot, “Speak the truth but speak it sweetly.”

As the proverb, far from the shores of India or Mt. Sinai, goes, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” It’s unclear where it originated, but a very similar version of it is found in Benjamin Franklin’s publication, “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” from 1744. In it, he wrote: “Tart Words make no Friends: spoonful of honey will catch more flies than Gallon of Vinegar.” Salesmen, politicians, lawyers, and anyone interested in the art of persuasion know that polite requests spoken in harmonious tones go a long way toward getting your way, far more than rude or crude negative speech ever does.

3. Be a word watcher: You’re well aware that people who want to lose weight often have turned to Weight Watchers for guidance.

If you would like to gain in spiritual evolution, learn the art of restraint. Not everything thought that pops into your mind has to be acted on or expressed as speech. To avoid being negative, you can say it constructively rather than destructively.

That’s why you have filters in your consciousness.

While you’re not running for president, you are walking the path of spiritual development, whether you realize it or not. In the same way that a president’s words matter, so too, do yours.

 

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