Semantics is the study of meaning, usually in language. The word “semantics” itself denotes a range of ideas, from the popular to the highly technical. It is often used in ordinary language to denote a problem of understanding that comes down to word selection or connotation.
It came up last night in meditation class- the use of good and bad, the use of “negative” self talk… does it really make a difference? For all the New Age/ Law of Attraction die-hards, it does!
Words are an extension of what is happening on the inside. So, maybe it is not about what we say, but more about what we think and feel- but you know that! I have worked for YEARS (feels like dog years some days) on my internal thought/ feeling stuff, and in the past five years have really paid attention and altered the way I talk. Why? Well, I had a really, really good coach, David Koons, who kicked my butt every time I was not using “supportive” language.
Ok, so I bought into the whole positive self-talk (and also how I talked to others about life and myself). Now, I take a compliment, I don’t make my prettiness small, or my fabulous clothes (I never shop, but if someone notices that I manage to pull old clothes into looking fab, I take the compliment, period.)
Why did I buy into it? Honestly, who wants to hear negative talk? I avoid negative people like the plague- I don’t want to hear it from anyone, so I don’t subject the world to have to hear it from me. And five years later, I like the results (not perfect, but considering I am half Indian and half Venezuelan it’s pretty good… we Indian/Venezuelans love a good drama story). And by all this I don’t mean that it is no ok to feel raw, intense emotions, not at all, what I am talking about is a perpetual state of yuckiness.
But let’s get serious for a minute, is there any truth to this? Does it really matter what, how, and why I say this word or that word? Does it? Really? Prove it!
I can’t prove it. There are tons of people who spend their entire lives studying Quantum Physics and can tell you the science behind all this, but I will say that I started getting it when 3 years ago, I did the Ganesha Mantra. In Hindu tradition, the Elephant head god who is the remover of obstacles.
So, what does Ganesha have to do with semantics? It turns out that the Hindus believe in the power of these sacred syllables. So much so, that most gurus do not give mantras to their disciples until they have the right pronunciations of the Sanskrit language. (Specific mantras are given to disciples as their way to work through this life’s karma and into what they are intended to be in this life) So sounds like the Hindus take it very seriously.
Part of me laughs when I use ancient traditions as examples which we should follow. See, I know they have problems too. They have poverty, they have no water, so why are we taking advice from them? Well, did you know that most Hindus take their troubles to the multiple temples in their neighborhood? Yep, they don’t go see therapist, they go straight to the god of choice. If it’s money problems, they go to Ganesha and then Lakshmi (oh, yeah, and they are so equal opportunity- Women Goddesses so revered), if they want to harness the super natural powers, good ol’ Hanuman is worshiped.
Yes, they have problems, but they also have a collective desire to connect with the Divine. And so, I pay attention to how they explore their spirituality. The mantras or ancient words are a big deal- these words are your soul’s liberation.
So, I have to wonder if one Sanskrit syllable pronounced incorrectly can have a total different effect on my life, is the way I speak important?
I’m going with David’s advice on this. Yes. My words are the outside expression of the inside, but if I say different words, can I change the inside? Is it like the what came first, the chicken or the egg type thing?
Try it for a month… accept compliments, change I can’t to I will, look for possibilities where wishful thinking resides… try and see.