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EBS23: The Power Of The Spoken Word

Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #23

Delivered by Eric Butterworth on May 22, 1975

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About the turn of the century, Charles Fillmore said, “Words are the most powerful agents of the mind. Every time we speak we cause the atoms of the body to tremble and change their places...” I can imagine that such a statement caused quite a snicker by scientific minds. It was probably called the obvious idealism of a mind unrestrained by a knowledge of the structure of natural life. Yet recently, in Science Digest, an article appeared that showed the correlation between body function and speech. During a period of four years. Dr. William S. Condon of the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine, found that “The body does not simply move randomly as a person speaks...nor is it still. The body dances to the rhythm of speech.” Thinking back to Charles Fillmore...maybe the old boy was right!

Legends from time immemorial have told of witches and fairy queens who have had command of a secret phrase that could accomplish miracles. There is, of course, no power in “abacadabra” or “open sesame”, but they were on the right track. There is tremendous magic in the ordinary words we use in our daily living.

Jesus was keenly aware of this power of the spoken word. He said, “Not that which entereth the mouth defileth the man; but that which proceedeth out of the mouth...” “And I say unto you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thou words thou shalt also be condemned.” Isaiah seems to have grasped this also: “So shall my word by that which goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I send it.”

Actually, we see this at work all the time. Let a healthy man say, “I am sick,” and he will eventually judge himself to be sick, and he will be sick. It is the nature of thought to find its way into action, and the process is accelerated when that thought is expressed in the spoken word.

Men have talked themselves into the grave. And optimistic men, stricken by the shadow of illness, have talked themselves into radiant health. Poor men have talked themselves into success and prosperity, and people of means have repeatedly voiced fears of lack and crisis in their affairs, and have talked themselves into financial chaos. The study of truth without the use of this method is like driving a car with the brake on.

One student habitually used the phrase, “I am burned up over that!” As time went on, she began to have fever every afternoon and unpleasant night sweats which left her exhausted in the morning. Her family physician found nothing wrong, and X-rays revealed no more. Finally, a doctor suggested Unity to her. As a last resort, she read some literature, saw a counselor, and finally discovered where her trouble lay. She began to put positive power in her words. Instead of being “burned” by people, she blessed them. She affirmed “I am at peace within myself and with all about me.” Her fever has long since ceased.

We all should honestly evaluate the things we say, as they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Such power resides in: “I’m a perfect wreck”, “I’m sick to death of this thing”, “Everything happens to me”, and “I never have good luck.” Begin to change your prophecy. Make a positive law for yourself.

What you say reflects a state of consciousness, and consciousness is forever projecting itself into manifestation. Certainly this is a sobering thought, but it also opens new horizons of possibility for you. You can create and heal and change things through the power of the spoken word.

One good Truth student felt pressed for time with the usual responsibilities of life, and often said, “I wish there was a time when I had nothing to do but spend my time reading Truth literature.” Not long after, she had a serious fall. Thus incapacitated, she had more than sufficient time on her hands to read everything in her library. But at what a price!

Later, she corrected the speech habit, and gave thanks that her healing was swift and complete. She affirmed that she was God’s whole and perfect child. And, though her physician told her that she could expect to be inactive for many months, she was back on her feet within a week, giving thanks for the lesson she had learned through hard experience.

Thought is the great power of life, yet we often wonder how we can control it. There is an easy technique: watch your words. Words reflect thought. But, by the law of reversibility, words can influence and change thought. Thus, begin to work with that which you can change. Set a tight seal on your lips. Say only those things that you want to see manifest in your life.

I like the story of the little girl who had hurt her knee from falling off her bicycle, yet was bravely enduring the pain without a whimper. A man passed by and asked her why she didn’t cry, and she responded, “I just say to myself, ‘Stop that!’, and make myself mind me.”

Say what you want to say, not what you impetuously are led to say by the habit of thought. Don’t keep telling yourself how awful you feel, or how hot the day is. or how miserable your, job is. Say to yourself, “Stop that!” Make yourself mind. Say what you want to be true, and say it as if it were already true. This is the whole secret of affirmation.

Affirm for yourself that there is strength in your weakness, that there is good in your mistakes, that there is wisdom in your confusion, and that there is allness within your illness. Believe this, and then make yourself mind you as you speak the word of truth. The usual trouble is that we are not exacting enough with ourselves, and give up the discipline without a fight.

You can become a bold, strong character, and go on to success and decisiveness and confidence and joy. The next time you find yourself in a discordant mood, when you feel cross and out of sorts with everyone, when things rub you the wrong way and you aren’t getting along with your boss or the office boy or your husband or wife or mother-in-law, try this experiment:

Stop what you are doing...get out of doors or at least out of the room. Get out of the atmosphere of the heated situation and have a “man-to-man” talk with yourself. Like the little girl, if you are tempted to feel hurt or angry or anxious, say to yourself, “Stop that”. Tell yourself that you are an integral part of a wonderful Universe. There is enough love to go around—enough life, enough substance, enough opportunity. In the Unity of all life, there is plenty within you with which you can meet this situation easily. Ask yourself, “What would I like to see manifest?” “How do I think things ought to be?” This oughtness can lead to an isness when you speak the word.

I sometimes wonder what would happen in our land if we devoted one disciplined day, equivalent to a Jewish fast on a high holiday, if every American would fast from negative words—if we only spoke when we had something important and positive to say.

First of all, it would be a mighty quiet day! But more than this, the thought atmosphere of our world would be charged with positive power. Hospitals would find their patients recovering more quickly. Offices would find an upsurge of efficiency and harmony. It would be like the “green vapor” of peace as mentioned in one of Jules Verne’s science fiction stories.

But then you can go on such a fast yourself. Try it and you will find it to be such a profitable experience that you may want to maintain the process at all times. It will certainly change your whole life.

© 1975, by Eric Butterworth

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