Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Spouting Poison, pastel chalk by Tobias Mayer, 2023

For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:7-8

Beautiful, powerful poetry in these verses, the tongue can no man tame. It is indeed like a wild beast sometimes, the tongue, the mouth, the words we spill. Our word holds so much power, the power to hurt and the power to heal, the power to bring forth hatred and fear and the power to bring forth love and compassion. The tongue is a dangerous tool, a double-edged sword needing careful handling. I am reminded once again of the Toltec agreement, "be impeccable with your word".1

We humans have the gift of the Word, and we too often use it carelessly, thoughtlessly, forgetting—or maybe never knowing—its value and its power. The Word is so much more than a method of communicating. All animals communicate, all make sounds, initiate gestures or emit smells to inform or alert others of their species. Only humans though have nuance, subtlety, the opportunity to express emotion and idea, to articulate our dreams and imaginings. We have this amazing gift, something we could truly call awesome, but so familiar is it to us that we take its presence for granted.

Perhaps take an opportunity to step outside yourself for a moment, and observe yourself speaking. Watch the colours being created, the magic being woven. The Word holds our history, our stories, our desires and longings, our truth and our fiction. The Word whether spoken aloud, written down or merely thought is almost all of who we are.

Our tongue is not our Word, only the transmitter of it, but it is the device we need to take good and wise care of, to protect, to pay attention to, and yes, often to tame. Give your tongue too much freedom and who knows what it will do with your word. Like a child, our tongue needs freedom to express, but it also needs boundaries to hold and nurture. Today, consider the tongue, the mouth, the throat, the voice box. You are an amplifier of God's word, yet sometimes there is interference in the airways. Take heed.

1 The first agreement in Toltec wisdom, as described in The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, 1997, and previously mentioned in the reflections Word and Impeccable