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Words, Words, Words

102. Words, Words, Words

I’m back to writing about words because I think they’re so important. As children we chanted: sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me. And it’s just not true. Words can wound and wound deeply. As Emily Dickinson wrote:

A Word is dead

When it is said,

Some say.

I say it just

Begins to live

That day.

The Sufi’s talk about three gates that words need to pass through. At the first gate, you ask yourself “Is what I’m about to say true?” And if the answer is no, then you can stop right there. But if what you’re going to say is true, you go on to the second gate to the question “Is what I’m about to say necessary?” And I would imagine that a whole bunch of proposed talk would stop at that one, but if it is necessary then you go on to the third gate and hear the question “Is what I’m about to say kind?”  Try that one for a week—or even a day.

I haven’t totally learned this one yet. I’m still working on it. But I’m trying because I think it connects with peace—–keeping words true, necessary, and kind.

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