There is a special power that comes from learning new words and from learning new meanings for familiar words. The eminent psychologist, Dr. Roberto Assagioli, wrote, “Words possess the power of stimulating and arousing activity associated with them. They evoke and make operative the meanings and idea-forces that they signify.” But I would add, they only do so when we tap into one of the deeper levels of meaning behind them.
Everything has a multitude of levels or dimensions, and our vocabulary is no exception; it evolves as we do. So we find new words for new experiences that come to us, and we find new dimensions that give deeper meaning to the words we now use. Words like “self” and “love” have many meanings, and the meanings we give them depend on our developing experience.
We can take any word our intuition underscores as important, and use it meditatively. It’s good exercise to proceed as if we don’t really know the meanings of important words we use. On some level this is always true. For instance, we might take the new word “spirit” into our vocabulary and see it in a completely new way, as if for the first time. Likewise, the new word “love” will have for us a spectrum of meanings not yet divined. We can always seek behind our words, going one dimension deeper into meaning. And when we have done that, then stay open for the next layer of meaning, and the next….
“But customs make one customary. Therefore, I urge you to look at the sky as if for the first time.”
Leaves of M’s Garden II, 191
Semantics is the study of meaning in language, thought, and communication. Our thoughts are embodied in language and images. We give our thoughts bodies; we create these bodies in the act of forming words and pictures. We incarnate in our thoughts and words and become identified with them. This identification is apt to create an illusion in that we feel we have hold of reality whereas in fact, we often only have hold of the words, some mental pictures and associated intellectual constructions.
The soul of words is the meaning, the experience that our words point to, or should point to. It is this living experience, the consciousness behind the forms that ensouls words. By this understanding of the nature of our verbal and conceptual incarnations we arrive at the possibility of Transpersonal Semantics. The word “transpersonal” points to that which is beyond the personal. “Semantics” refers to the meaning of words.
Let us define Transpersonal Semantics as spiritual-perspective-semantics. It is a way of thinking about body and soul with special reference to the way we humans use language in thinking and communication. So, a certain approach to semantics becomes an art of spiritual interpretation–a way of thinking and talking about spiritual and material problems and their solutions. In this sense, a key to better thinking is found by constant awareness of the difference between form and essence, between word and reality, between thought and the silent reality behind thought.
Everything is gateway and symbol. See these dots: . . . They’re an “ellipsis,” a form of punctuation indicating an omission. The word “ellipsis” is from Latin and means, “to fall short.” When we speak, write, or think, we always fall short and the ellipsis reminds us of it. Therefore, add an implicit ellipsis to each thought and expression.
The ellipsis is the most important form of punctuation. It should be burned into our memory like bright dots of fire. These little dots are not dots at all: they are points of light opening into the larger cosmos. The ellipsis has a powerful gateway attribute. It’s one of the most useful symbols in an open-minded person’s equipment. It reminds us that there’s always more to everything than is said or expressed. This means that no book, group, idea, teacher, philosophy, religion or science, ever tells us all we need to know about anything. There is always more beyond what is given.
Also useful for our understanding is the word “etcetera,” from the Latin, “the rest.” It is an antidote to our human tendency of period-and-stop thinking. The word should remind us of the bad habit we sometimes have of picking up a piece of the truth and saying with it. This is simple and obvious yet rarely understood and applied.