Words: From the heart, mind and lips
Every memorable conversation is built on a foundation that is deeper than the words we articulate. In such conversations, all participants will likely gain something new and beneficial. Our words are like flowers on a plant. Flowers that are fresh and in full bloom, filling the surrounding air with a beautiful fragrance attracts not just pollinating bees but are also used as symbols of expression of one’s love. Words coming from the heart may be compared to such flowers. On the other hand, artificial, wilted or dead flowers cannot emit any fragrance. The words that often originate in the mind or the from just the movement of the lips may be compared to such flowers.
Words coming from the heart have an underpinning of genuineness. The fragrance of a flower comes from every petal of the flower, one cannot say it comes from some petals and not from others. Each one is equally fragrant. Even when a flower is plucked or its petals are crushed, the flower and its petals continue to remain fragrant. Similarly, the feeling and warmth reflected in words coming from the heart remain long after they are spoken.
Words coming purely from the mind are like plastic flowers. They may appear real and attractive but on close inspection, its artificial nature will be evident. The mind is a master manipulator. When one speaks solely from the mind, there is usually an underlying motive. Praising someone with a hidden expectation, even if it is not obvious to us, is an example of the mind speaking. Often times, clever word craft makes up for lack of genuine empathy, some but not all are swayed by such words.
Then there are words that are blurted out without thinking. These “reflex” sounds are sometimes accompanied by actions which may be undesirable. When power is combined with such words, it can be very intimidating to whoever is at the receiving end of such a conversation. Being in a position of power, there is often no subtle or overt secondary gain and this shuts the filters of the mind, which can soften verbal blows. Words spoken without thinking can inflict deep wounds.
It is easy to converse with someone who truly speaks from the heart. Their speech will be soft, slow and welcoming. Speech that emanates from the mind is tricky to deal with. Our senses go on alert and the heart closes up. We start to use the mind and end up questioning every word and gesture. Invisible walls go up and the verbal exchange ends up being more business-like.
Listening to harsh words spoken by those who are in power brings out the fear, fight or flight response. Oftentimes, fight or flight is not an option and this leaves fear. No one likes to live in fear, even if it is intermittent. It may be virtually impossible to counter, through words that come from the heart, people who intimidate others. Another option is using patience and silence, which are qualities linked to the heart, rather than using words. Sometimes being silent and letting the other person speak in such situations and complete their sentences without us interrupting can douse the fire in the speaker quickly.
Standing up to such people with patience and silence may be far more effective than trying to reason, argue or simply give in. No matter what the other person says, when one speaks patiently and listens in silence, words that eventually flow will have great impact. Like some species of flowers, such as the Chinese Hibiscus that bloom all through the year, words and actions emanating from the heart spreads a comforting fragrance that will one day move even the hardiest and stoniest of hearts.