The Stature of Words


The words of any language are a complex set of sounds, or written alphabets or symbols. Languages throughout the world have the unique distinction of adding new words and expressions depending on how each generation views the changes that take place in their respective cultures and communities. Also, important to note is that, “the times we live in”.. has a huge impact on new words flooding dictionaries in all languages.

2020 has ushered in some unusual combinations of words governed by the emergence of Covid-19. We now use newly coined words such as ‘new normal,’ lockdown, social-distancing, shutdown and self-isolation. These words together with additional new neologisms coined by the frustrated younger generation and perturbed general public will be added to the 2020 dictionaries in every language.

Every decade has seen the influence of movies, songs, literature, media and also innovative teenagers creating new neologisms that find a place in dictionaries. Just as Globalization operates on an international scale, these new age words transcend cultures and languages and create something akin to a new liberated language, with (Urban) dictionaries of their own. Current neologisms will lose popularity when new ones are coined.

Then there are words that have come down through the ages and stood the test of time and grown in stature – AWARENESS, PERCEPTION, CONSCIOUSNESS, MINDFUL, EMPATHY are stalwarts that separate cacophony from harmony in the human mind. What is truly interesting is that each of these words are closely related to each other depending on the connotation of usage. However, out of all of them, AWARENESS and PERCEPTION stand apart. These two words have numerous synonyms that make them difficult to grasp clearly and fully. This makes the essence of their meanings somewhat elusive to those who are seeking the path of pure joy that comes with inner peace. Where awareness directs us inwards to introspection, perception uses our senses to look outwards. Perception without attentiveness (synonym of awareness) creates doubt in what we have perceived. For example, when we look at something without really seeing it because we are preoccupied, or, listen to what someone said without hearing what was said because we did not pay enough attention. Perception can often be judgmental. With the alarming flood of authentic reports, media news, fake news and hearsay Covid19 has taken over the global population in more ways than one. Therefore, how we perceive is crucial, particularly during this pivotal time for the human race. The Global Community needs to be embraced in healing and compassion through meditation.

Yoga and Meditation teach us to gently navigate our way through the complexities of mind and body. Emotional and mental loads that we’ve been unconsciously carrying for most of our lifetime become part of our psyche, blocking our awareness. As we practice yoga and meditation on a daily basis, the word ‘awareness’ becomes clearer and we realize that we are becoming more self -aware. We become conscious of how we sit, stand, walk, eat, notice the moments in our day, how we choose the words we utter and how we perceive that which is outside of us.  In the practice of Meditation the beginner in Yoga learns how to create a distance between one’s awareness and the mind /body component. Meditation when practiced daily is a profound experience. Because the senses are not involved in any way, the more one practices, the clearer it becomes that by distancing the mind/body component, that which remains is awareness. So, the question arises; if awareness directs me inwards, is awareness, me?

St Francis of Assisi put it like this: “What you are looking for is where you are looking from”

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