Chandira Hensey | Language and Consciousness

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Upon realizing the shared space between science, language and mysticism, Nobel Prize-winning Danish physicist Niels Bohr converted to Buddhism. Bohr’s understanding of the unity of reality spawned the great term “quantum psychology,” which then became the title of a book by Robert Anton Wilson. Not since the Renaissance has anything united science and mysticism as closely as modern physics. And for this, we have new patterns in language to thank. Left to its own devices, scientific materialism might not offer any better answers than the bygone eras of dogma and religious superstition. 
The second part of the title of Bandler’s major work, “Neuro-linguistic programming” (NLP), says it all. Rumour has it that he was asked to think up a title for his work under some duress, and the phrase just sort of fell out of his mouth in some kind of magical act of spontaneous poetic creation. I like to think that was true—that it’s a phrase straight from the mouth of the muse herself. Bandler realized early on that language has an extraordinarily profound affect on the constant programming and reprogramming of our brains—and, by extension, the way we live our daily lives. He realized that through changing the language in any one circumstance, we can change our responses; we can even change things as seemingly ingrained in us as our own self-image and the way we think about our health, wealth, and our relationships. Eventually, we can even alter our body chemistry and states of consciousness—and in doing so, we can change the very fabric of our lives.

Masaru Emoto, the Japanese author, documents some very interesting phenomena gleaned from his energetic experiments with water in his book, Messages from Water. In one experiment, pure water—uncontaminated by chemical treatment and, as much as possible, the field of human energy—was drawn from a well in the mountains. A little of the water was put into a number of small bottles, which were then individually labeled with strong words such as “love,” “peace,” “hate,” and “Hitler.” Music was also played to some of the samples. The water was then frozen so that any changes on its structure from the exposure to the words and music could be seen. Remarkably, definite imprints seemingly caused by the words and music appeared, frozen into the water crystals as the ice formed. Looked at under a microscope, it was clear what effect different kinds of energy and sounds did for the water: positive words and music made beautiful crystals, just as negative words and music made ugly ones.

Being, as we are, composed mainly of water ourselves, isn’t it time we became more conscious of the language we use? 
 
Coming home on the bus from work tonight, allowing ideas to flow freely through my brain tissues, I came to the realization: language is everything. Quite literally. It is the interface between consciousness itself and the apparently objective world of “things” arising around us and in us. Everywhere I looked, there was some form of language.
There are, of course, the many Zen masters, Christian monks and Hindu sadhus who insist on silence and a quiet mind—a world without language. But to quote pop-psychology, you can’t eat the menu. True spiritual life is very much a plunge into the realms of feeling, direct experience, gnosis, epiphany—and not a life spent alone on a mountaintop, or reading countless books in search of quiet. At the end of the day, that state of quiet mind isn’t something readily accessible to most of us, is it? Not when we have to negotiate our way through rush-hour traffic on any given day. I, like many people, have not been graced with the life—or patience—of a hermit this time around. I can’t sit around for indefinite periods waiting for this elusive state to come upon me, as I expect most people can’t. There has to be another way.

Language is not self. Self is the place of no language, ultimately. But language is certainly the finger pointing at the moon. We need to be able to communicate where the moon is. The paradox of that, of course, is that language was probably what made us look away from the moon to start with. But somehow it seems logical enough to me that it also represents the means for remembering to look back up again, until we find ourselves seeing the moon again directly. 

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