A short time ago, a friend and I were talking about bad language. Swear words. I use them often. There’s a “study” that makes rounds on Facebook every once in a while that apparently legitimately indicates that people who swear regularly are statistically more honest. One of my favorite things about my maternal grandmother is her swearing ability. Truly, par excellence. She can fit 6 swear words into a 4-word sentence without violating any rules of grammar. Swear words are descriptive in practically artistic ways. I speak English and much German and I’ve encountered swear words in French and Gaelic and I’ve noticed that calling someone a certain swear word in one language doesn’t necessarily translate to the same in another language. I could provide you examples, but I won’t.
Why won’t I? Because it’s likely – even very likely – that you are already programmed to think swear words are really and truly bad words. So many people have believed this that you could say there’s an alternate vocab list that can be used instead and which let’s the user off the profanity hook. For instance, if I say darn or shoot then you probably wouldn’t flinch. You know exactly what I’m meaning to say, but for some stupid reason there’s a difference in your head between shoot and shit, darn and damn. Trust me, there isn’t really.
But we typically think there is, because of impressions we carry. Those impressions can go quite deep – so deep we’re no longer aware of how they influence us. It’s said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Pulling a gun’s trigger is pulling a gun’s trigger. If you’re intending to hit a “bad guy” but instead hit and kill an innocent bystander – does that change anything about you firing the gun? Nope. You intended to hit a person and so you fired a gun. Sorry about your bad aim and that innocent’s unfortunate karma, but nothing changes in that situation just because you intended a different target.
When I was a teenager I had a friend – a sweet Christian girl named Stephanie who only a month or so ago died of cancer. She always wore glitter eye shadow. Always. If anyone was ever the human equivalent of a Care Bear, Stephanie was. (That’s not a jab at her). She was kind and sweet and nearly always smiling. And when she stubbed her toe or someone made her mad she would say, “PINEAPPLE!” – and she said it with gusto! For any situation where I might say shit or damn or drop the f-bomb, Stephanie would use the word, pineapple. Similarly, I’ve heard people say things like, “Bananas!” or “Fudge!” When I was growing up and yet living at home, my brothers and I weren’t allowed to say “freakin'” because, as my mom once made very VERY clear to me, “That’s about as close to FUCK as you can get!”
You see? There’s no difference. If I say fudge and I mean fudge, then I’m saying fudge. Simple. Equally as simple, and yet somehow twisted among the impressions we carry regarding this, if I say fudge and I mean fuck – I’m still truly just saying fuck. You can argue that there’s a difference and that saying fudge when you mean to employ the f-bomb is somehow better, but the truth is that sugar-coated poop is still poop.
The programming or impressions that most of us carry regarding this are something that should be managed in a healthy and effective manner. Sometimes, when I’m engaged in my Heartfulness meditation practice, things like this surface and knock my socks off. Sometimes you don’t realize how frankly ridiculous you’ve been until you enable yourself to step aside briefly and see from a different angle, as the Observer. Without this, it’s like walking across a dirty floor time after time and always having dirty feet as a result. We come to recognize dirty feet as a norm, but shouldn’t. It’s good – and necessary – to stir that dirt up and get it off the floor so that our feet can become, and stay, clean.
In our meditation practice there’s a cleaning that happens. A lightening of these sorts of burdens. In fact, this is a significant part of an individual’s process of self-evolution and integration. It’s healthy. In order for us to move forward and become a better Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Atheist or Manager or Cashier or Mom or Dad or Prostitute we need to take a look at these things that are weighing us down unnecessarily and discard them as the lunacy they are.
Another bit of dirt clinging to the bottom of your foot and which you might want to look at is the reaction you had when I mentioned becoming a better prostitute. Thanks for reading.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti