The Power of Speech

The Power of Speech

The spoken word is sounds that represent conceptual symbols that have a somewhat shared meaning. For example, if I speak the word “apple”, you’ll have a good idea of what I’m referring to but not a lot of detail. While misunderstanding is common, the spoken word remains an effective way to communicate between two people who experience themselves as separate.

The written word, like this article, uses letters to symbolize sounds that symbolize meaning. Some languages use word symbols instead of sound symbols, like Chinese. But either is another step removed and thus a little less powerful. In a sense, it’s a 5th level of speech.

Speech can be very powerful – partly by the meaning communicated but even more by what is behind the words, what is driving the words. A famous speech is not just famous for the meaning but for the power of the orator.

For example, when we’re angry, we may lash out with words. The words themselves may be a little foul but the greater power comes from the anger behind them. If the person listening is not transparent to that energy, is resisting, it can be like whacking or poking them with a certain frequency of stick.

Sometimes people spew with their words, broadcasting their angst to anyone who will receive it. I “enjoyed” that in a restaurant recently.

Thus, words can be weapons to attack. They can also obscure or confuse by manipulating meaning, redirecting, or being vague. People can be saying one thing but sending a different energy signature. “Oh, I’m fine” when you feel panicked, for example.

The mind likes to feel it knows what’s going on so it can feel in control. It fears change even if it’s for the better. And it makes stories to explain events to feel it knows. It then tries to share that story with others, hoping to reinforce it. This has the unfortunate effect of sustaining pain and the mask that obscures it. And yet that familiar pain can be oddly comfortable as it’s a constant.

If you ask the average person how they feel, they often won’t be able to tell you. Not knowing how to let go and resolve feelings, they disconnect instead. As a result, the mind drives many peoples words. Then they’re dry and lifeless. They may just be regurgitating the same story over and over, by rote.

Repressed emotions have a habit of leaking out, so peoples stories gain a charge of emotion, sharing with the story. This doesn’t resolve the charge but can reinforce it.

The combination of stories and charge are very common in modern communication. But we can also use the mind to clarify, to soothe, and to inspire.
If we can go beyond the mind, we get a little less local and personal. We gain access to intuition and fine feelings. Then we can share insight and compassion. Deeper still, we can share bliss. Our words can come from an open heart, sharing qualities of love and openness.

Deeper still, we can speak directly from Self. Then the person is just the vehicle of expression. Source itself can speak through us and stir the same in others. We can share deep flows. Deepest of all would be Divine flows directing the course of expression. In that case, voice would be just one aspect.

Few people are completely clean and it takes practice to break old communication habits. We’ve lived a long time as a separate person.

Remember this is not about trying to control – that leads to suppression. It’s about noticing our dynamics and becoming more conscious. Then we can choose what to favour with the magic of our attention.


Last Updated on June 25, 2023 by Davidya

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  1. Michael

    Good article David!

    In Highest Yoga tantra (budhhism) they say that a full buddha has the qualities of an enlightened body, enlightened mind and ….enlightened speech. 🙂

    Has it happened that pure divinity has spoken through/as you to someone? How was the effect on that person?


    1. Hi Michael
      Waking up is the easiest. Waking the mind takes time and waking the body takes the longest as it’s the most dense. But of course this is a simplification as there are more layers than this waking up and it leaves out the shift to cosmic.

      The voice sits in the middle, between heart and mind. 🙂

      Interesting question. Emotions, mind, laws of nature, cosmic and Self can all speak through the voice. With Divinity, the dynamic is different as it is arising from prior to expression.

      Shakti’s come as flows that may include voice. It can even be a soundless voice. Hard to describe and there is a new dynamic still developing.

  2. K

    Recently, a colleague was talking about calling concepts by the right names and said “words influence mindset”. This got me thinking about the famous stanza in Sanskrit (Kalidasa) “vAgarthAviva sampruktau vAgarthapratipattaye jagatah pitarau vande pArvatIparameshvarau”

    In case anyone is less familiar with this it means that “like speech (or words) and meaning are tied together, I bow to the parents of the world, Shiva and Parvati who are together – bless me with skills of word and meaning” (Kalidasa was a poet). I think Parvati is the meaning of the word and Shiva is the word in this poet’s framework. For whatever, reason this kept resonating today and this is not something which was super meaningful in the past – but is now. Not sure how to tie this to what you said in your blog. But maybe you can 🙂

    1. Hi K
      Yes, there is 2 things here.

      One is using words properly so the meaning is communicated more accurately. Buckminster Fuller was very big on that, writing an encyclopedia to describe the geometry of the world (Synergetics), avoiding any words with vague or more than one meaning.

      There is some need for that in spiritual circles too.

      The other part is known as name and form – the connection between the sound of the vibration that creates the form and the name used for it. When the name matches in speech, words can be used to communicate direct experiences for people able to listen from where vibrations first arise. This is in the bliss body or the Pashyanti level of speech, linked in the article.

      Parvati is one of the names for one of the tridevi or 3 primary forms of the Divine Mother. She is considered Shiva’s partner. In many modern takes, she’s replaced by Durga, a destructive form.

      Here, I use the terms Shiva and Shakti. They’re better understood as the observer and observed aspects of consciousness. Shiva is the seer or experiencer that experiences what Shakti creates by being experienced.

      More deeply, they are alertness and liveliness that give rise to consciousness itself, including Shiva’s ability to know and Shakti’s ability to express. They are united as consciousness.

      Both are in the word and the meaning.

      Kalidasa is better described as a Rishi, a seer who then writes about what arises in experience. His goal here is the means to express what has been experienced in words that evoke the experience in others.

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