The Power of Words | Literary Podcasts


Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of wearable inspiration for a better world. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from the book The Mental Cure by Warren Felt Evans, published in 1874…

One of the principal mediums through which mind acts upon mind, is that of words, spoken or written. Words are the representatives of ideas; the outward manifestation of thought; the symbols of our hidden spiritual power. They are things that have life in them, which is communicated by them. They are not mere empty sounds, like the sighing of the wind or the noise of a waterfall. If this were the case, they would be of no more consequence than the breath expended in producing them.

The whole soul is sometimes in the words we utter, especially when, to use a common expression, they come from the heart, that is, from a love of life. The outward material body is not who we are, and is not a necessary part of humanity. It is the mind that defines you. And the mind is composed of two departments: love and intellect—which are outwardly manifested as affection and thought, and ultimately expressed in the words we say.

Your words are charged with the very life of you — the vital force of your soul. They affect not only the mind, but they sink into the interior depths of our being. They are not like leaves loosened from the trees by an autumn wind, and strewn upon a lake to float upon its surface. They have spiritual gravity, which causes them to sink into the hidden depths of the spirit.

Words are the index of character. They enclose within them our thoughts, and the tone with which they are spoken indicates the state of our affections. The utterance of a single word can reveal the love, fear, or hate that lurks within it, and, as such, our life and character are laid open to public view. By the effect of our words, others can perceive the cause. The heart is the fountain; words are the stream. If the fountain is clear as crystal, the issuing spring will be the water of life.

However, if the heart is like a bitter well, there will be no sweetness in the words. Even idle or aimless words, and mere fashionable talk, which are like the bubbles or foam floating on the stream of life, though they may assume the most beautiful forms, and steal the tints of the rainbow, will be internally like the acidic heart from whence they come.

Jesus declared a great truth when he said that “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.” The Greek word translated here as abundance, signifies a fullness that overflows. When the heart is full of love, it overflows in kind and gentle words. But when a heart is full of anger, it is like a volcanic well that boils over in scalding words.

If there is melancholy in the heart, and the soul is full of sadness, there is a dirge-like strain in the tone of the voice, like the sighing of the midnight winds through the leafless trees of a cemetery in winter. However, if joy and serenity pervade our inner being, the cheerful music of our voice will mix and mingle with the grand chorus of the music of the spheres.

This is not to say that to the blunted perceptions of most people, our words will always reveal our guiding love and inward character. Our words may indeed fall from our lips unheard and unremarked, gathering like cooling pools of wax around a burning candlestick. Yet we must burn on for those who can see the light.

Words are wonderfully mysterious things. When spoken in the presence of mind, they do not waste themselves upon the illimitable and desert air, but cleave to the soul of those who hear them like nails driven into the walls of the house. Who has not been troubled by the involuntary remembering of hurtful comments made years long ago in childhood. They often light down like a flock of crows to pollute our peace of mind. They come unbidden to mingle with our meditations, and perhaps even with our prayers…..

Read The Entire Essay in Evergreen: 50 Inspirational Life Lessons

50 Inspirational Life Lessons