Most of us are quite aware of the power of words. From advertising (Just Do It), internet vitriol, to the positive support of an encouraging teacher or friend, language matters. The words we employ when we communicate with our loved ones, coworkers, and others do have impact on our feelings and behavior.
If we are unconscious of the habitual ways we talk to ourselves, and take as factual an internal monologue potentially laced with negativity, black and white thinking, or even grandiosity, then, we increase our suffering.
Yoga, Self-Knowledge, and Suffering
What brings you to the practice yoga? Certainly the physical experience and therapeutic effects are reasons many individuals are first drawn to yoga. Eventually and incrementally we become more aware of our mind states. Ultimately we realize our true selves, our beautiful potential.
Avidya is the Sanskrit word for ignorance or delusion and is believed by the Yogis to be the root cause of suffering. Through the various yoga paths, we have the potential to move from a state of avidya to self-knowledge. As we journey to self-understanding, self-compassion, and self-realization we suffer less, understand ourselves better and treat ourselves and others with greater compassion.
Word watch-A simple self-observation practice with profound effects
One of the many benefits of meditation as part of our yoga practice is the increased ability to cultivate clear thinking and objectivity. This objective wisdom part of ourselves is variously referred to as the seer, the wisdom self, or the buddhi mind (buddhi-that which can discriminate or one who has awakened.) In my experience, meditation practice helps me connect my wisdom self, watch the mind’s activities, yet decrease attachment to the stories I tell myself.
Get rid of the MOANS!
MOANS is an acronym I developed in my years as a a counseling faculty member guiding students in paths to self confidence.
MOANS stands for:
These words impose unwavering, rigid demands on yourself, others, or the world. Demands that are impossible to fulfill 100% of the time. They lead to internal guilt and feelings of “less than” for oneself, and when we impose these demands on others similar feelings as well as defensiveness can occur.
MOANS: “My partner is always arguing about money”.
WISDOM FACT: “My partner argued with me about money last Sunday.”
MOANS: “ I should have been screened in for that job interview”
WISDOM FACT: “I would really would have liked to have been screened in for that job interview. And I have no knowledge of other factors that went into the decision.”
MOANS: “I’ll never learn my accounting”
WISDOM FACT: “I may learn parts of accounting practice, however I don’t think I want to spend the time and effort to learn accounting perfectly”.
Catching yourself when using faulty language may seem simple; however if you believe in the power of words, and their impact, the knowledge of your self-talk will help to shift your day to day feelings and outlook and decrease suffering. And that is a path to self-realization.