Leave it to the Rabbis to say more in three simple words than most of us can say in 3,000.
In this micro-sentence – "Words create worlds"* – they affirm as an ancient truth the notion that language is much more than a code whose primary purpose is to describe, transmit or coordinate. Language is, in fact, a force – an energy that generates reality and manifests possibilities.
And that makes communication a superpower – one that’s available to each and every one of us. One we can use to nourish our relationships, or deplete them. One we can use to sow peace or fuel the flame of fury. One we can use to build bridges or burn them.
If the Rabbis were right (and I do believe they were), and our words do create worlds, that means their message is even more than a mind-blowing theory about communication as a superpower. It also serves as an admonition to us all: Along with the tremendous possibility we have to generate reality through language comes a profound responsibility to choose our words well.
With communication that is wise, conscious and authentic, we can foster connection. We can reclaim our dignity, offer respect to others, and mend the fabric of the human family. We can move toward each other rather than away. We can find a way forward together to solve the immense issues that face our planet, our country, and our families – because, really, isn't the only way forward together?
Learning to wield the superpower of language is possible for anyone, but it requires dedication and attention. It means being honest enough to see where current behaviors aren’t working, humble enough to unlearn the old patterns, and patient enough to practice new ones. It means embracing communication as an act of Love.
Don’t we owe it to ourselves, our families, our communities, our businesses, our countries and our planet to engage in this process so we can use our superpower of communication for good?
With the ability to create worlds – worlds! – at the tips of our tongues and our fingertips, isn’t it right for us to pause and consider what kind of reality we want, and how our everyday communication – tweets and all – can contribute to achieving (or eroding) that future?
* This sentence is attributed to “The Rabbis” – a term used to refer to authoritative Jewish scholars over the centuries. It came to me via the wonderful “On Being with Krista Tippett” podcast in which Krista was interviewing the poet Gregory Orr.
Here you'll find some of my thoughts about communication, contemplation, yoga, life and various other topics. Thanks for giving them a read.