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WHY WORDS CAN HURT MORE THAN STICKS AND STONES

 

By Roy Masters
May 23, 2011
NewsWithViews.com

[A selection from "The Secret Power of WORDS" Available on Amazon.com]

I remember one time, when I was a young boy, someone said something mean to me. All at once I became conscious of my reaction. I wondered, “How could mere words hurt so much?” After all, no one hit me with a rock. Already a searching soul, I was standing back and looking at the awesome effect of words. I saw how my ego was built out of them.

I remember that I would sometimes ask myself a question, and words would come back from within my mind. I thought, “This is ridiculous! Here I am, asking myself a question, and this part of me that sounds like me, but isn’t me, comes up with an answer.” I saw that I still didn’t know the real answer, even though it pretended to be me giving me the answer.

You too have this language spirit, a descendant of the spirit of doubt that was present when Paradise was lost. It has been passing from mothers to children ever since the fall of the first man and woman.

Whenever you indulge in any sin, the spirit of that sin gets inside you. When Adam partook of the fruit of pride, the sin that was on the outside made a home in him. It has operated from its new home in all of us ever since. Even in your own not-so-original traumas, you will find the same phenomenon going on. Whatever is present in the trauma scene effects a change in your nature, and your changed nature henceforth answers slavishly to those people, places and things that excited the change, until you find the truth that sets you free.

The trauma of original sin is the trauma of language. Language, women, food, and later on other fascinations began to affect man more than the God of his conscience. Remember how Adam received his instruction concerning the danger of reaching away from understanding, toward knowledge, toward pride? What caused him to doubt and fall? Wasn’t it, in part, the spirit of language, spoken through a guileful woman? Adam listened to the words of his wife instead of the wordless language of his own heart. To this day, deceitful people have sway over our souls.

Look within and behold this tug-of-war between listening to what we know deep down and the seduction of language. Somehow, instead of believing in ourselves, we allow ourselves to be affected by the words of others. We simply can’t stop compulsively believing the lies and confusion emanating from others until we are redeemed from the tyranny of language. That is the redemption that faith alone can vouchsafe us.

The scriptures say something very interesting about this: “Faith cometh by the word, and the word by hearing.” Perhaps because faith was lost by the word, it must somehow be returned through the word. Those who rule this world are powerful manipulators of the human condition. Their power depends on your reacting to their words. They would be powerless if you failed to react to them. It is your own resentment, your pathetic struggle against their words, that feeds their power.

To free yourself from this involvement, the first thing you must do is realize what the problem is. Until you do, you cannot be saved. Discover now how to separate your consciousness from language.

Have you ever experienced saying a word, and as you repeated it, it began to sound like a strange, unintelligible noise? Let’s take any word, like “potato.” If you close your eyes and stand back from saying the word “potato,” soon it will sound like a silly noise. As you become separated from the earthly association, the word is seen to be what it is—just noise. As you stand back from language, you will feel stupid, as though you know nothing at all—you will have given up involvement with knowledge (words) and discovered the first humbling truth—that you don’t know anything, and that nothing you can ever learn by rote is worth anything. Quite often you will feel dumb and stupid because, in truth, your whole sense of worth has been derived from being involved with the deceitful spirit of language. Your sense of who you are is bound up in words. You think in words, you speak in words, you make decisions through words, and that “conscience” talks back to you in words—the false conscience, that is. You are totally involved with language; words direct your whole life.

Someone calls you a “stupid fool.” You react emotionally, and through that reaction you come to believe you are a fool. In your emotional bonding, words are the same as the thing they stand for, so you have no resistance against what they imply.

You feel inferior simply because you have reacted in an inferior way. It is the compulsion to react that lowers you, and now the words fit the condition that the wicked spirit behind the words wanted to create. So you compensate; you try to prove that you are not a fool. You labor to hear words of praise. You try to make people undo with compliments the hurt that degrading words have inflicted on you.


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You’ve spent a lot of time seeking praise and approval to make people take their words back, to “eat” their words. But what happens if you succeed in making others praise you or tell you how wonderful you are? You will just be believing words again—lies—because you are not wonderful. You stopped being wonderful when you stopped listening to and believing what is right deep down in your heart, and all the praise in the world cannot put Humpty-Dumpty together again.

The problem, again, is very simple. You tend to believe in words more than in your true original self. If you resent the implications of words, the trauma of doing so turns you into what you resent. React and believe that you are stupid, and you are stupid. You’re stupid for believing that you’re stupid! Believing is a thing of compulsion—of faith or of sin. It is the sin state of believing that we need to be saved from. That’s why you need to listen to men like me who represent the spirit you have fallen from—so that you might believe truly. You must see how pride makes you fall from understanding, as it enlarges itself on words that lie, until eventually the lie, leading with confusion, takes us to our tragic death.

Let’s say someone called you a stupid fool in Japanese. Would that disturb you? It might disturb a Japanese person, but it shouldn’t disturb you because you wouldn’t know what the words meant. But the words “stupid fool” have associations for you, and so you react to their meaning. However, it is an external meaning, not an internal one.

I have a boat, as I like to fish. There’s a red warning light on my bilge pump panel. When that red light goes on, I have reason to worry, right? But if you didn’t know what the red light was for, you might just say, “Oh, look at that red light!” Perhaps you’d think it means that I need to change my oil, and then you wouldn’t be too bothered. But if you realized the red light meant that there was water flooding into the bilge, you’d react, wouldn’t you? When you know what something means, you react to it.

Words have two kinds of meaning. For instance, I could tell you with love that you were stupid, and I could thus wake you up to the fact that you were. I could bring you to your senses. The same thing, uttered by a not-so-well-meaning person, would have an entirely different effect on you.

Look now at your folly. Isn’t your ego too involved with words? Perhaps your mother’s words are loaded. Her attitude shoots word bullets at you as if from a loaded gun. It makes you hate her, doesn’t it? Until you learn the secret of life, you will always resent the cruel words of others and become degraded; you will find yourself reacting to them as if they were the real thing. But I’m saying words are not the real thing. Stand back from the experience and you will see that those words are unreal.

You are too conditioned to language, and language continues to reinforce what language originally did. Adam reacted and believed Eve; he believed into her. When you believe something, you buy it. You believe into. You go into it, and it comes into you; and it acts through you. You are acted through by the spirit of your violation. What those words say is what you become. Your faith is locked into the word-giver. No longer do you have faith in the God self, the wordless Word within. In order for you to be saved and have faith again, you have to become separate. You must become objective to your own self, to the speaker’s self, and to the spirit of the speaker.

I am a mouthpiece of language, but mine is the language of spirit. “Faith cometh by the Word.” I’m saying, doubt education as a means of becoming happy. Your problem is that you have fallen into education, into the hands of the pseudo-intellectuals who emphasize knowledge before understanding, just as the serpent did when he tricked us out of Paradise. Such knowledge induces pride, and pride swells the soul up into conflict with the parent self, the supreme ego of the universe.

I am only just beginning to understand the power of the wordless Word, and just learning to overcome the power of the worldly word. The main thing here is to realize that you must be more objective and less resentful. Resentment is your own willful struggle with your problem, and it prevents you from realizing and re-experiencing the truth. Your own challenged will becomes the extension of the will of another when you answer the challenge in kind.

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You cannot struggle against anything. Resentment is the energy of your pride struggling against the world. You struggle and struggle, and you become more and more upset and defeated. The more upset you are, the more word-sensitive you become. The resentment makes you guilty and the guilt makes you think to yourself, “Maybe they are right about me.” And so you will abandon yourself to the lying word completely and die as though you were abandoning yourself to the truth.

Now, just wake up and observe yourself, go out into the world and be conscious of words striking you. Watch your reaction to them, and you will survive.

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Roy Masters—who in his 80s continues to broadcast the longest-running counseling show in talk radio history, his internationally syndicated daily radio program Advice Line, grew up in pre-WWII England. He started his journey toward understanding human nature when as a teen he saw a stage hypnotist at a vaudeville show in Brighton. The hypnotist easily put volunteer subjects in a spell and made them do outlandish things, like dancing with a broom and forgetting their own names.

Puzzled by the hypnotist’s mysterious power, Roy distinctly remembers pondering the question: “Why can’t hypnotism be used to make people act sensibly, rather than foolishly?” Inspired by the idea of harnessing this baffling force for good, he later pursued the art of hypnotism and established a successful hypnotherapy practice.

After several years of practice, Masters made his central and pivotal discovery about the root of people’s emotional problems, addictions and complexes. He realized that people did not need hypnosis, because their core problem was that they are already hypnotized—not by a clever stage performer, but by the stresses, pressures and seductions of daily life.

He used his knowledge to discover a way to help us become de-hypnotized, and discovered that the root of the power of negative suggestion lay in our wrong emotional response, that of resentment. Masters’ remarkably effective exercise, a simple observation technique called Be Still and Know—is at the core of his unmatched track record in helping people overcome even the most serious mental-emotional problems, and is the centerpiece of a successful program within the U.S. military community (“Patriot Outreach”) that is helping thousands of military personnel and their families cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Whenever you indulge in any sin, the spirit of that sin gets inside you. When Adam partook of the fruit of pride, the sin that was on the outside made a home in him. It has operated from its new home in all of us ever since.