Many of us were brought up with the same lie; “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”. Do you want to bet? Think back to the most hurtful and hateful words that somebody has ever said to you. Now consider how long it takes to heal a broken bone – maybe a few months, a year. And how long can it take for someone to heal from damaging words? The verbal weapon alone has kept many a therapist in business for years if not decades.Moses takes a moment to instill the importance of vows. He explains the spiritual weight of the spoken word, the way it can cause damage and how to renegotiate a promise that has been made. The most oft-misquoted opening to the Bible is ‘in the beginning there was the word’, which is in fact the opening to the gospel of John, but he was certainly in line with the Kabbalistic perspective which outlines how spiritual worlds can be created and destroyed with the power of our words*.
We all know what it is like to be betrayed by the words of others, to be let down by somebody’s promises or perhaps to be upset by their choice of vocabulary and the intent behind it. An even more powerful insight can be to understand how we have let ourselves down at times, or the words we use against ourself.
I for one have been completely guilty of this, making huge promises to myself about creative projects I planned to launch, short films I planned to make, productions I planned to stage, books I planned to write. When we make a vow to ourself, however subtle, we create something that exists. On a delicate level, that promise exists in our heart and our mind, which is why so many people live out of the would-a/should-a/could-a mindset of things could be different if..life would be different if.
When we realise the true power of our words and the potential they can generate, we can start harnessing that energy and using for the good. We begin by keeping the word to ourself, then to others, and bringing our visions into being.
(now..pre-order your copy of The Kabbalah Sutras and help get this wisdom out into the world!).
*See Sefer Tanya, Chp 40.