Say Nothing At All
Most of us have heard the phrase “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all.”
As a student of truth, I am always doing inner life exercises so that I am able to see the old, mechanical nature in me more clearly. In seeing those parts more clearly, I am able to sacrifice them (let them go) more often.
An exercise that I’ve used time and time again, is to work to say nothing at all. Here’s a recent example. My sister sent me a text and asked me a question about the past. I responded that I couldn’t recall what she was referring to. Her response was “Wow! Ok…” An old, mechanical part came up in me in seeing those words “Wow! ok”. That part first said “Well, I’m sure there are plenty of things you don’t remember”. It then prodded me and wanted me to respond with “I don’t waste my energy getting caught up in thought like that.”
In other words, it wanted me to “push back” in order to create a certain response in her that would illicit a certain sense of self. That’s how it continues to live through us. The first thing it said to me was an avenue through which it wanted to justify itself. The second thing it said to me was a way that it could feel superior to my sister.
If there was identification with those parts of myself in that moment, it would have created not only another sense of self that would come around again and need to be sacrificed in the future, but that identification would also trigger a sense of self in my sister that would automatically be identified with because she doesn’t understand these principles. So the old, mechanical self would have won yet another victory using both of us as its instrument.
Instead, I said nothing at all. Saying nothing at all is a beautiful thing really. There is a deep meaning to “Silence is Golden”. When I didn’t say anything after my sister’s comment, it gave my sister an opportunity to see herself (if she used that opportunity that is) because she was left with herself, “her words only”.
Think about this. If you said to someone “You are a horrible, miserable human being!”, and the person didn’t respond, what happens in that moment? You are left with hearing your own words that came out of your own mouth. And yes, if we aren’t aware of ourselves, there can be immediate identification with guilt or justification for saying those things, but it does give the person the opportunity to better see themselves if they choose to do so.
Whereas, if there was a response by the person to whom the comment was directed with something such as “Oh yeah, well you are no prize yourself!”, those words are the last words that the mechanical nature hears and uses to replay over and over again in our minds so that it can build a certain sense of self that is filled with anger or resentment directed at person that made that comment.
If you can take this simple example and see how it plays out in your own life, you can see how things get mucked up all the time.
When our child does something that elicits anger in us, it is best to say nothing at all. It is best to wait and watch that fire in us and allow it to move through before we give any response to our child. Otherwise, the response will come from that fire, which means it will be something old and unhelpful and not something new and renewing.
Most of us live from mechanical behaviors. We can’t forgive others until we see how we ourselves do the very same thing. We say things from that part of us that we truly didn’t mean to say or do. If we could have done better in the moment, we certainly would have.
Starting over is everything. We start over moment to moment. No carryovers. We just work to do the best at watching these parts of ourselves that want to live their lives through us. Those old parts have had their time, and now its time for something new to be brought into this world.
You have to choose to be that person that wants that for yourself, for your family and this world. Make that choice and be that warrior. For you see, the other choice is really no choice at all, but simply an old default way of life.
Image courtesy of: Jelleke Vanooteghem on unsplash
Exercise for the Week: See how often you are able to say nothing at all when everything in you wants to say something. Agree to stay in that place until the fire passes and you will understand the miracle I speak of.