Golden Lake Village
View of the Nant Ffrancon Valley, Snowdon
Continuing on our theme of silence, have you heard the story of Golden Lake Village?
The people of Golden Lake Village were silent, they did not have the power of language. Life there was peaceful and contented, and as a community they were caring and loving. One day some travellers came to the village. The elders of Golden Lake Village were intrigued by the spoken language of these visitors and they prayed to be given a language so that they too could speak to one another. In a dream, the chief elder was told that everyone should go to the Golden Lake at midday and drink the water, and the gift of language would be granted. The villagers did as instructed and drank the water. Immediately they began to make sounds, starting with a low murmur but soon turned into an enormous loud racket. That night a fight broke out among the villagers, which led to a fire being started, destroying most of the village. The elders assembled and discussed the destruction that talking had caused. They prayed again, this time for the gift of language to be removed, and the power of silence to be once more restored. This was granted and the village once became peaceful and loving.
I love this story, it reminds me of both the power of silence and the power of language.
Despite there being no physical contact, I know that I have been hurt by the words of others and sadly, I know that I have hurt others with my words. Words have the power to wound us deeper than any knife, but equally kind and loving words have the potential to raise and uplift us as high as the sky. Yoga philosophy asks us to choose our words carefully, to speak with loving kindness (this doesn’t mean rolling over and accepting wrongs, you can be firm yet kind and honest). Take a little time before speaking to feel the sweetness of the words on your tongue before you let them out. A wisely chosen sentence can make all the difference to the outcome or the response you get.
Being aware of my words and how I speak them is one of my big life lessons. Left uncensored my words can be harsh or thoughtless. This is another example of where the power of silence helps me. If I am in the present moment (which I am more likely to be if I have had a period of silent reflection (meditation) before my day gets started) then I am more aware of the words coming out of my mouth. If I am unsure that what I am about to say will improve on silence, I can be silent until I am sure that my words are the right ones. The older the get the more I think that not offering an opinion is definitely the way forward, though I need more practice on this! Here’s something to think about – has anyone ever thanked you for pointing where you think they are going wrong or how you think they could do things better? 🙂
When I have observed periods of silence, I find the need to be right or to get my point across subsides. I know I need to return to silence if I find that my words are becoming insistent and pushy. When I come out of silent times now I am much slower to speak, thinking about what I want to say, how I want to feel when I have spoken, and how I want the recipient of my words to feel.
There is a great yoga saying, suggesting that before you speak, think and ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say true? Is it kind? Does it improve on silence?”. Great advice for all I think. Ix