Poet and writer Suha reflects on the tools of her calling.
The music of Gianni Ferrio’s song, Parole parole (Words, words), with the unique voices of Mina and Alberto Lupo, is what has been echoing in my ears during the last few days. It buzzes around me like a group of flies that daze me. I wonder what the path of words is, what their sound, their weight, their silence is!
This morning something happened: a few words written to a friend, which had come innocently out of my heart, threw open a door into a world of silence. While I was writing them, I felt as innocent as a child who is seeing and telling the truth, without any filter, without any control. A gentle strength guided them.
The friend’s answer made me realize that my question had crossed an invisible threshold he needed to protect. I acknowledged this and went on to ride my wave.
I happen to increasingly often express myself in public, to expose myself with words that I choose freely. But it is precisely about this choosing freely that I’m beginning to have some doubts: I realise that I’m censoring myself, that I see what I keep silent about. What if freedom of choice consisted in not choosing at all? In being an empty vehicle that lets out what flows from the heart?
Void taking shape and becoming word.
What if the passage from the heart to the lips were the very space of silence from which words take shape? And I wonder how it can be possible for them to agree, one within the other: silence and word.
After all, void is everywhere, like water: it surrounds and embraces everything; it is transparent and vibrant.
Words that come from silence are sacred: they wait, unhurriedly, only for the breath of the soul. They are not sharp-edged, they are rounded, they are calm, they are true. Then, for the listener, they slip like a balm and move directly from the ears to the soul.
Words as a vehicle of silence: and what does our beloved Master do? Words chase each other, play, distract, while something else is possibly being understood.
There are fair, honest words; words that make you think; words that sing, bother you, attack you; words that defend themselves, inspire you with confidence, nourish you like a caress. There are devious, indirect words that make me feel dizzy. There are powerful words that are like a punch in your face. There are words that yell. There are words that are as cutting as blades, that are turbid, that are blackmailing: I largely ignore them.
Words that are fragrant, like a bunch of flowers. Words that change a perspective, that make you feel confident and as light as a breeze. Words that dissolve the mind and make you feel capable of being free. There are words that are dry, and words that are sticky and do not breathe, like a gob of spit.
There are evasive, shifty words, like looks. There are words that die on the lips of the heart; and there are sincere, whispered words that are as refreshing as spring water.
I love words. I can easily fall in love with a sentence. I am wild about combinations of words that were not meant to be used together but make an unsuspected impact. Sometimes I use words seriously. I believe in them. I like them. If I’m not careful I might even identify with them, become attached to a sound of theirs that comforts me.
How do I use words? The inward journey stirred up a fire within me. Now – as a magician – with invisible needles – I weave light’s threads between words.
There may not be, however, a word that corresponds to what I feel. Too many emotions are crowding in for me to be able to define them or focus on only one. In these cases I say: “I don’t know.”
Looking for the right word is like adding the spice that was missing to give flavour to a dish. Each of us is entitled to the “proper” word, that makes us feel we are seen and listened to.
And does it not look strange that sometimes the proper word can only by conveyed by silent listening?
Words are like musical scores: I realise when there is an out-of-tune note in what I’m saying, in what I’m hearing.
It can happen – when listening – that a friend is repeating mechanically words which correspond to a past reality, while he is no longer the same person. This immediately strikes me as a false note !
…To use only the words that are strictly necessary, to let the body speak too, and yes… to allow silence to breathe between the words…!
Article first published in the Italian Osho Times, translated into English by Marta Innocenti.