I ran across this article discussing the groundbreaking research of a prominent neuro-scientist named Andrew Newberg, M.D., whose research demonstrates the tremendous power that simple words hold for either harming or healing our brains. Many people today are rediscovering, for instance, the healing power of words through the simple repetition of a mantra (a simple word word or phrase) during meditation or during a simple prayer form such as centering prayer. On the other hand, how many of us (parents, bosses, spouses, lovers) go about our days, mindlessly barking at one another, failing to consider the lasting damage we may be doing to others?
Here, then, is a link to the brief article in question which I invite you now to read and consider now:
I, for one, find that Dr. Newberg’s research (as science often does) simply confirms what I have long known to be true based on my own personal experience and observation. How often have we heard our parents and mentors reminding us: choose your words wisely. Easier said than done, of course. I am reminded of a passage from the New Testament Letter of St. James where the author discusses the importance of and the challenge involved in learning to “control your tongue”:
As a Roman Catholic who is entering into the spirit of this new liturgical season called Advent, I am find myself applying the insights of this article toward me taking up the resolve to attending specially to two practices that should help me grow: first, I will return to a daily (rather than sporadic) practice of centering prayer and meditation on scripture; and secondly, I aim to be more mindful of the words I choose in my everyday conversations and interactions as to their power to lift up or potentially cripple others. I can only hope that, should I be faithful in these practices, a few weeks down the line my family will find me just a little more peaceful, loving and kind.
For those of you interested in learning more, here is a podcast that is steamed online featuring an interview with Dr. Newberg on the same topic of the effects of words on our brain: http://www.holisticsurvival.com/hs-140-words-can-change-your-brain-with-dr-andrew-newberg/