There was a time when word limits used to frustrate me. No no, I am not only referring to University or Academic essays, but also to the character limit imposed anywhere, including the likes of Twitter. Not very long ago, I would take pride in explaining myself through long essays. Although it seemed quite appealing at the time, it baffles me now. And to top it all off, I would get equally excited in reading long replies.
At some point, over the course of our lives, we somehow take up the belief that we must explain ourselves to others in the most explicit way possible. And as we build up this habit before we know it, we become experts at writing essays or talking endlessly for minutes… hopefully not hours. And God forbid you find yourself talking a lot in the company of a quiet, blissful, enlightened being who doesn’t need words to understand you, and He only smiles as you waffle. (If you see what I mean:))
But do we truly need that many words? Over a period of time, through Swami’s teachings and grace, I realized something profound: When we have a clear mind and truly understand what we wish to share or communicate, very few words are needed. The language we use to communicate is deeply flawed. If we were to dissect our messages/emails/speeches, we would find that there are endless labels attached around the core message which we wish to convey.
Let’s say, for instance, that we wish to thank someone for their love.
The simple way could be: “I am deeply grateful for your love.”
However, our flawed language and habit of adding labels of self-judgment would push us to end up with something like:
“I am not worthy of your love. Thank you so much. I don’t know what I have done to be here and deserve it all, I am a sinner, yet you love me. I am so grateful but yet so undeserving. I know I should accept it, but I don’t know if I can.”
Although the latter statement seems overdone, we, including me, have all fallen prey to such ways of expressing ourselves. This statement is filled with labels such as ” not worthy,” “sinner,” “undeserving,” as well as the whole story we told ourselves of what someone “should be” like to “deserve” love. Any of these labels and additional words are what I call ‘Mindy’.
“Mindy” because they arise from our conditioned mind and are not pure truth. Instead, they are rigid beliefs we have about ourselves. We are certain about what’s right for us, yet we are determined to convince the other person that we have certain labels stopping us from achieving what we need or want.
Other “Mindy” statements or stories which we tell ourselves, some of which we may dread to share, could include:
“I tried, but I am not good.”
“I know I should, but you don’t understand…..!”
“I always fail.”
“I am impure.”
“I can never get anything right!”
“I will never be loved.”
“This is how my life is, and I can’t do anything about it. God has given me Suffering!”
“I am sorry I was wrong. I always make the wrong choices!”
These “Mindy” statements are ingrained in our manner of communicating, including in our subtle innocent self-dialogues. It took me a few weeks to overcome this habit of adding all sorts of self-defeating labels, presumptions, or self-created scenarios to sentences whilst communicating, hence lengthening sentences. Of course, we can also add labels and mostly unnecessary words to formal communications as well.
In a similar way, much of what we share with others consists of useless information. In the Black lotus app, when there was the feature to ask Swaminar questions, there was a 250 character limit, and it was hard to understand at first. But now it makes all the sense in the world. If we are truly clear about what we want and what we wish to ask or convey, only a few words are required to phrase any question or message.
It is paramount to analyze our conversations, to obtain this clarity, and sometimes if you have a friend or partner in crime to help in this endeavor, it’s even more fun. Going over past messages with a dear “almost-self-realized” friend, I recall laughing at my inefficient use of words in long replies.
I believe that if we always make an effort in thinking and getting to the point while communicating, not only are we respecting the other person’s time, but we also save our own time, reduce our mental conditioning and solve problems much faster. In fact, when we use minimal words and reduce the input of information into our minds, we also avoid any unnecessary problems from arising.
Here are a few questions which I personally ask myself before sending any message or email:
- What do I need to say? Write it simply.
- Have I attached any labels to my sentences in the message? If yes, remove them. They are not needed and arise from the preconceived ideas of the mind.
- Have I told myself a story and added it to the message? If yes, remove the story. It’s not needed, you are making up things, Komal!
- Have I joked? Yes. Great! Is it a formal email? If yes- Get a grip Komal! Be serious, remove the joke! Right.Now.
- Was I genuine but kind? No? Edit and be!
Now, I am not saying that we should become robots, but essentially, we can definitely communicate in less words. From “Mindiness,” i.e., using “Mindy” statements, I then found myself becoming “Mindless.” And no, not in a bad way. In a minion way. When we remove all the ‘junk’ from our mind, we lighten up, use fewer words and end up stating facts as they are, in a funny way. There is immense joy in mindlessness- a state where you are mindful and go with the flow of life. Worry dissipates, and you feel like a minion, in awe of everything around you. No labels. No self-judgment. No certainty. Just truth, laughter, and fun.
When we speak using fewer words, but in a meaningful way, I noticed that our relationships flourish unexpectedly. We then realize that everything is just noise, and contentment is even more possible in moments of pause. Life becomes so beautiful when we eliminate our ‘Mindy’ statements.
It turned out to be a long post. Words are needed to explain why words are not required. I say no more:)