Tongue and Speech

Words are powerful. What we say, how we say it often has consequences attached to it. Words have the power to uplift someone or break them depending how you say them. I express some thoughts around it in the linked article.

There’s a reason why the tongue, just a small muscle but that has a capacity to bring out so much good or cause much damage, is caged behind the teeth. If the lips were an entrance to the prison, the teeth and jaw comprise that prison. Tongue is the prisoner. Why? Because we should only speak when necessary.

Rumi said, before you speak let your words pass three gates. Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

In today’s world, this has somewhat changed. We can speak online via blogs, articles, comments, opinions that can be shared with the whole world. Or as many people that read those thoughts/online speech. There is a blur between speech and thought.

Like how I am currently writing out my thoughts and turning it into an article without saying a word. My tongue is still in its cage, yet it speaks. It speaks through words that have been typed.

This is why in today’s world, this golden narration that mentions the best of you are those from whose tongue and hands others are safe, becomes even more relevant.

Hands are not just used to cause physical harm to others in today’s world. Hands can partake in emotional harm that we can cause to others by typing out thoughtlessly, by uttering hate speech, online arguments, trivial talk, online gossips, backbiting through private messaging, spreading rumors. The more I think, all vices that were committed by the tongue prior to Internet connectivity, can be now committed remaining silent. I am silent in my speech yet my mind thinks, the hands and fingers type.

Now it is up to each of us individually how we make use of this thinking and typing. Do we use it to spread love, peace, goodness, call to peace or whatever other good there is? Or do we use it for malignant purposes?

Unlike being able to sense other person’s energy in real life, you can’t sense the electrical signals that type out those words.

It is still possible to grasp some of it through well articulated thoughts, articles, opinions etc.

Trying to follow down the spiritual path, I try to restrain my tongue and increasingly my thoughts. I smile as I write this thought because I do think since starting blogging regularly and with more consistency, I have allowed myself to become more quiet. I talk less, reflect more, prefer solitude, even though I score quite high on extraversion on the personality tests. Regardless of how extraverted I may be I think that I am well balanced with introversion and extraversion. Simply put, I am an ambivert.

This said though, I do see this online crises of trivial talk, disputes and arguments, hate speech worsening. Why? Because of rising inequality, a continuing widening of gaps; political, social and wealth.

Ever since I learnt martial arts and became confident in my ability to fight, I saw fighting as useless, something that will not bring me any good. I stopped being the aggressor. I stopped being the provocative type, I stopped being the mocking type who would push others in an argument to get physical.

Similarly learning and spirituality has helped me overcome some of my other faults. I am not implying that I have reached some sort of enlightenment, I can only hope to get there, some day perhaps? I don’t think I am at a level that can come close to the great spiritual leaders.

Because I am thinking out loud and not muttering the words writing this article, I am shifting from thought to thought. The direction I was trying to steer my thoughts after mentioning the rising values, social, political and wealth gap is how the Internet helps fuel all this. The media and news puts more light on fear and despair. The media and news does more to divide than unite. In addition, the rising populism of the extreme right and extreme left is very quickly reshaping many narratives. Combine this with the Great Reset and trying to shift the paradigm towards environmentally friendly world. What we see so far is like Dr. Anas has mentioned in this thread The mother of all Enrons. Carbon neutrality is just another window dressing and accounting fraud. In reality, current policies are exacerbating a brewing crisis.

I can’t help but think that what is actually happening is that the widening values and social gap is being taken advantage of. Totalitarianism is swiftly taking over under the guise of Liberal democracy. While some groups are being empowered currently, it is being done so without them realising that in actual fact, their freedom and rights too are being jeopardised. Haven’t the masses learnt the oldest trick in the books yet? We keep repeating this over and over again throughout history. Divide and rule! Take a moment to think about this, you are empowered to speak up but the speech creates a shift in the other end of the spectrum leading to an increasing divide. The two sides then, are pitted against one another.

This is a world wide phenomenon being actualized in different ways in different countries, hence why I am speaking or rather thinking about it in general terms. The biggest driver behind it was covid. It’s like, a mass experiment is being conducted in various ways. It’s most vivid in the so called Western democracies.

I stand for peace, I neither see myself on the right nor the left. We don’t know whether in the coming years this will resolve without a conflict or there will be a lot of internal and external strife before a resolution. Rather a revolution!

Lol I am neither a conspiracy theorists, nor a revolutionary. I much consider myself a wanderer that likes to observe and think. I would like to think that my views are formed after a lot of research and learning about different social, values, political and economic issues. But I leave it here for you to decide. Think things through…are you a pawn on the bigger board? Is the force behind you leading you to the other side? Will that happen through strife and unrest or through sensible agreements and disagreements? Is the force pulling your strings allied to you, or is it associating itself to you for their purpose, gain and glory?

You don’t have to think of the whole world. Because I am thinking in general terms. A good place to start is by asking which group do I belong to? What is happening around us? What forces are empowering us? What forces are engaged in the disenfranchisement? Are your rights and freedom in jeopardy? What can you do to engage your community to raise this awareness?

Damn! When I started writing this article, I had no idea my thoughts were going to go down this path. I guess I have been thinking a lot. Or perhaps I have been reading a lot and reflecting on the many different things I have been reading. But reading books only empowers me to think things through different perspectives. It spurs different thoughts about current affairs, both political and economic. At the same time, these are loosely held opinions as I am not trying to speculate on the future, I am not trying to delve into the unknown.

I am content and living in the present because I know ultimately what my beliefs are. All that is happening, has happened or will happen is through the divine will. Our choices are merely manifestations. I just have to work and make efforts to choose wisely and ask for wisdom to be patient with things that are not in my control. I’d like to urge you to do the same whatever your beliefs. Focus on making the best choices in the present moment.

To get a further idea on what has shaped some of my thinking before, take a look at this post. I wrote this at the end of 2019 reading some history books, and all of Ray Dalio’s then published work. However, I found that my thinking was too idealistic and looked at things from an unrealistic perspective. International relations, geopolitics and politics itself has a big influence on how things unfold/transpire.

Writing this once more, my thoughts turn their attention at the power dynamics that is in play between nations/countries, between different ideologies, different groups and the individuals themselves that are power hungry. So far as the human nature goes, power corrupts humans. Yet without their being an authority, civil strife and chances of anarchy increase. Ok… I think if I keep carrying on I will not stop writing this post. The original purpose of my writing this post was to remind myself, how blur is the line between keeping others safe from my hands and tongue. It is essentially the same in this day and age. Another important reminder that I have mentioned in prior posts comes to mind here paraphrasing, kind words are better than charity followed by injury and insult.

Finally, a new lunar year starts tonight or tomorrow depending on the new crescent. I don’t usually make new year’s resolution. However, this being a special day today, I want to commit to introducing some new changes. Developing a winning mindset. Here’s the linked 2 videos I watched in the morning to feel inspired. Muhammad Ali and Kobe Bryant, two top athletes talking about how to be the winner. While I practise writing without muttering and just paying attention to my thoughts and being cognizant of my thoughts. I wonder whether any of you feel an electric pulse run down the centre left and bottom part of the brain, when you feel inspired or when you feel focused. Often when I feel inspired and create a connection for that inspiration with some of my already set goals, I feel this electric pulse in the centre left side of the brain that runs down towards the bottom left side of the neck. Like something getting rewired in me, it is motivating, the sensation and the feeling itself. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

So recently, I have been listening to exegesis of some chapters for the purposes of spirituality, reading some philosophical books. Eric Fromm, currently reading Fydor Dostoevsky, and will probably revisit some Theology and Nietzsche after going through Dostoevsky’s work. This extra reading is to satiate the curiosity and thirst for learning more and looking at the world through different perspectives.

What I wish for is the ability to be able to read a book from a writers perspective, that would be a powerful thing. Imagine reading it from writer’s perspective and then reading it once more shedding that perspective and bringing in your own insights. It can be done I think, because some of the fictional works I have read e.g., Dan Brown, Robert Ludlum, J.K Rowling and Haruki Murakami, some of my favourite authors whose works completely captivate me and I can just immerse myself into a different world and at times feel so in tune with writer’s thoughts that I can see how the story is growing but at the same time, the curiosity and escapism keeps me latched on to read more and more.

Haha, this is what happens when I write spontaneously and just listen to my thoughts and type them out. I guess last year and when I first started writing on here, this was very much my style. Now, I sort of try to stick to the topic but that makes it sort of tedious.

Here once more, I have to remind myself the importance of humility and knowing the Creator of the thoughts. Recognising the apparent and real ability and be grateful for the many opportunities and vigour that keeps me at learning more stuff. Imagine the amount of knowledge there is in this world. Of the past generations and the present, if that knowledge is equivalent to the oceans. Then my knowledge is probably equivalent to a single molecule of water. It won’t even equal a drop.

While it is great to acquire more knowledge and learn more, it’s even better to specialise in a niche field. That’s where my current focus is. A winning mindset is essential to successfully specialise.

What do I talk about when I talk about balance?

One of my starting posts on this blog site was about Balance.

As I write this blog, I want to reflect on balance once more. What do I talk about when I talk about balance? Rather, imagining balance once more.

To summarise my previous blog, if you don’t feel like clicking on the link above or here, I wrote about emotions felt as a result of imbalance. I then, presented 2 ways of dealing with this imbalance to find balance. 1) Solution oriented approach 2) Getting at the root causes approach. I then added a bit of wisdom from one of my favourite characters uncle Iroh. Wish he was my real uncle lol 😆

Here’s another one of my favourites

I could just post all the Uncle Iroh’s pins and end this blog. But let me reflect on balance 🤔

Hope and strength is what you give yourself in dark times. That is the true meaning of strength. This is another one of Uncle Iroh’s quotes. I wanted to expand on hope.

What is hope? If I take no action towards my goals, can I hope to reach them?

If I refuse to change my habits or set ways, can I still hope for a better future?

True hope is having done the work, put in the effort and then hoping for the best. But the temporal nature of this life is such that, amidst this true hope, we can fall victim to other vices that can create imbalance within us.

An example, I write this blog for my self-development, reflections and sharing it so that, others who can relate to my thoughts can perhaps find benefit from it. But then, I start getting big headed and start thinking that I am wise and start boasting about my work and knowledge. This results in arrogance and the kind of arrogance whose roots can grab hold of the thinking, ‘that I am better than others’.

I prefer relating examples to myself because I don’t want to mention anybody else. It’s simple to use myself as an example, it’s also an antidote to keep a check on myself. It’s also a way to keep humble and knowing whether any of these vices taint my mind and/or heart.

While not with this blog, I have surely tried to get ahead of myself in other endeavours. Not thinking of myself better than others, but rather over exaggerating my skills in my own mind. This is also arrogance. Arrogance that makes me forget gratitude. Arrogance that makes me break my rules. Arrogance that causes me to praise myself and think how good I am because of my recent streak, processes and actions. Failing to acknowledge the real cause of my skills and failure to remain humble. Forgetting that all the skills, wisdom, intelligence, good habits that I have gained at all points is attributed to God alone. What I am trying to say is that ‘True Hope’ is having hope in the ‘Divine Decree’, on the condition that I do my best, put in the effort and then hope to not fall into the traps of my ego and whims. Hope to fall in love with the repeatable process to make it my instinct. Hope to improve so I can systematise it. Or better yet, another one of uncle Iroh’s quotes would fit well here.

Get help from others in areas where you are weak. Doing this over and over, you can start to see some of your blind spots. You can start to see your learnt behaviours and patterns.

I am going to pivot away from all the talk and reflection and finish this by saying, what can help me the most is being comfortable with uncertainty. It is indeed difficult to be patient over something that you don’t have knowledge of, or control. And what helps to be comfortable is meditation. It works well so long as I am not neglecting others areas and aspects of life. It is difficult to move forward keeping everything in balance. Especially when balance is frail in the first place 😅…. even then balance, contentment, equanimity can be achieved via staying and living in the present.

ps. I got the idea for the title from Haruki Murakami’s memoir ‘What I talk about when I talk about running.’

Blind Spots

One of my biggest blind spots that has continually sabotaged me has been trying to stay and act strong. When in real time, I am mentally exhausted, my emotions are not in my control.

I don’t know whether to call this a personality or character fault. It happens under high pressured scenarios where FFF response hijacks me. Looking back I can see situations where my biggest mistakes were made in freeze or fight back mode. I am trying to think of a situation where flight caused me to make mistakes. If anything, taking a step back or fleeing/ running away, seems a better option when hijacked by the emotional brain i.e., amygdala. There is no shame in surviving, live to fight another day.

As a martial arts practitioner…. what will I choose when hijacked by my emotional brain? Fight, flight or freeze? Definitely not freeze… it’s either fight or flight and the judgement call somewhat comes from experience and practise. Exposure to fighting experiences. Once more there is no shame in surviving to live to fight another day, from a position of strength. A martial arts practitioner is a smart fighter, who knows when and when not to engage in battles. He understands that there maybe losing battles, but the war is won by strategy and plan. Damn… I am starting to sound like Sun Tzu. 😅

I am writing this because I am trying to assess why in different situations, my nature is to fight back but that’s because in real time, I cannot tell that my emotional brain has hijacked me. This happens under high pressured scenarios.

Going forwards what procedures or process can I put in place to avoid this pitfall? Flight is a good option that gives me a chance to step back, cut the loss short. It gives me a chance to step away, however, it will only be effective if I can be aware in real time. The emotional brain can be very tricky and often it is very hard to know what is happening until the damage is done.I have failed to do this over and over again. I have made a lot of mistakes in life, in high pressured scenarios, in high performance activities. I guess the only way to overcome these faults of mine is by sticking to a process. It’s easier said than done in real time. But if I am able to take corrective action especially to something I have been blind for so long. I can avoid pitfalls and sabotaging behaviour. I can minimise it, I can keep it under check.

I also know that it will not happen overnight and that it will take further practise. In pursuit of any craft, deliberate practise with focused attention is what builds the necessary skills. That said, I am glad to at least have gained this knowledge through constantly reviewing my own work, performances and analysing fights.

The reason why I like to compare my behaviour and my responses in martial arts to other high performance activities is because my experience and skills are greater in martial arts than other high performance endeavours and skills I am pursuing. It provides me an opportunity to assess my nature, my learnt behaviours. By nature I am fiesty, I do not like losing, I am competitive. I like to do better each time. I am impatient and act often without thinking. Knowing all my faults, the only thing that can save me from myself is a process- one of deliberate practise with focused attention.

To summarise this to myself and hopefully it helps you too, my biggest blind spot is keep on fighting even when hijacked by the amygdala. Why? Because my character has been shaped over years such that I act strong even when I am not. Here perhaps what I am seeing is the double edged sword that resilience is. However, it is not resilience that keeps me fighting. It is my emotions.