Thursday 9 January 2014


A few years ago, my daughter, with beautiful child-like honesty, confided in me that she was afraid of people who looked like they were from another country. My initial reaction was horror that I could have produced a child that was intolerant of differences, but after a little more conversation I discovered it was about the language difference. She was afraid that she would not understand them and they would not understand her. It was all about communication. 

Language is so important in our lives, whether it be the language we speak, our body language or the words we use to speak of things that are beyond language. I admit that these days I have a similar fear to my daughter when speaking about all things spiritual. Will other people understand what I am saying? Will I understand them? Will there be misunderstandings? And how can we even find language to describe that which is beyond words?

For me the key is to listen beyond the words. It is like learning a new language with all it's nuances and culture. It is in the conversation that I discover that we are actually talking about similar experiences, we have just found different ways of expressing that and drawn on our diverse vocabulary. I have long left behind the days of being threatened by people who use different names for God or ways different from mine to express their spiritual journey. My hope for this year is that people will really listen to each other and try to understand the different languages that we use.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, Cathie, and I, too, am moving (ever so slowly) towards a new language that feels authentic to my experience of spirituality / the Divine, and also doesn't alienate others with different experiences.