How often do we really speak constructively? Meaning, communicating on a topic that is meant to help, guide, or enlighten a person or organization toward a worthwhile goal. If we look at ourselves realistically, the time spent on edifying conversations is woefully low compared to our daily output of speech.
This is not to say that all pleasantries should be discontinued, or time spent on idle fancies should be suspended – only that if we can’t be productive – be at least neutral, not negative in a personal sense toward others.
When you see a problem, analyze it and attempt to rectify it. Whining and complaining about the people who may have started the debacle to begin with does no good. It will only serve to waste time and to raise defenses amongst those who perceive they are being blamed.
The spirit realm notifies us that we need to learn to control our speech. In the book Our Daily Bread, by the spirit Emmanuel, we are told:
“The tongue holds the divine spark of the word; however, people usually divert it from its edifying function and place it in the swamp of subaltern thoughts. This is why we see it at the forefront of nearly all the folly of suffering humankind, which is dead set on its petty objectives that lack humility and love.
War is born from the language of unsatisfied criminal interests. Great societal tragedies are often caused by conversation based on inferior sentiments.
People’s tongues have seldom consoled or edified their brothers or sisters; instead, they are always ready to excite, argue, depress, slander, accuse and harm mercilessly.”[i]
Who hasn’t the family member, friend, or neighbor that loves to reveal the latest gossip to you? Particularly, gossip that has been directed at you. They consciously or unconsciously love to get you to
stoop to their level of constant agitation. They only seem happy when drilling one more hole into your peace of mind.
There is an infinite supply of people and circumstances to rile up. The vast majority of our media exists on the precept of distressing people instead of healing. This is why one of the first steps to stay in the zone of constructive speech is to eliminate or cut back viewing news programs. It is perfectly fine to watch or read about analysis on events, but always try to discern the biased view of the journalist. They are not providing news, they are selling. Usually they are selling a concept to keep you angry, so you are motivated to continue reading or watching to determine the outcome.
Reject their view of the world. It is one based upon crass consumerism. In most cases, it has to be, because if not, they wouldn’t be paid to promote it. Search out those voices of reason and good cheer, who remain positive and are motivated to see all sides of a story. Look at events from a platform of love and fraternity. Analyze everything from a long arc of learning – since everyone is on this planet with the aim of paying for past wrongs and experiencing new trials to promote their better character.
Speech is Initiated by Thought
“It is a bad habit to cultivate destructive, pejorative, troubling thoughts because emitting them will create factors that facilitate their condensation in the emotional and physical arenas.
Every time one thinks about something unpleasant that is expected to happen and it actually does, it is time to change the way one formulates ideas, constructing them in an edifying and positive manner. Then, one will see that events change, become happier and more comforting.
We do not mean to say that the mere fact of developing an idea, what one wants or plans for will necessarily happen. Nevertheless, the mental wave will act as a propitiatory factor, which will contribute to rendering the desire viable. In addition, one must not fail to invest effort and intent so as to make it real, constructive and edifying.”[ii]
The spirit Joanna de Angelis provides valuable instruction to not only help us on earth, but more importantly, to prepare us for life on the other side.
On earth words flow out and dissipate into the atmosphere. The vibrational sounds travel only so far and are lost. Spoken ideas are limited and transitory. They mainly serve to set up action or feelings.
On the other hand, words, which are in reality vocalized thoughts, are real in the spirit universe. Thoughts are action and thoughts are reality. Our outlook, ideas, views, and beliefs shape the world around us and place us with others of like mind.
This concept, this eternal truth, cannot be stressed enough. We shall leave this temporary and brief moment on earth and be reborn in the realm of spirits. Hence, when Andre Luiz’s poem “Inner Peace”, extols us to have “A constructive speech”, he is in fact foreshadowing our future. Our destiny as a spirit, is to reside in a land that was created by thought – not by natural forces.
All objects in the spirit world were manufactured by the expressed will of high spirits. Whether it was the mountains, the seas, the cities, the plains, the castles, the flowers, and the evolution of animals – all born of an idea and formed by collective will power and faith.
Hence, to rise, to take your place amongst the spirits who create, you must have control of your mind. The starting place to control your mind is to control what comes out of it … your speech.
The Road to Self-Improvement
The first step is to stop complaining. At the least consciously pare it down considerably. That is what I am trying to do. Have I eliminated this facet from my character entirely? Unfortunately not, but I try to catch myself, and then I try to think of things to be grateful about.
In the book Our Daily Bread, by the spirit Emmanuel, psychographed by Francisco (Chico) C. Xavier, there is a chapter titled “Complaining”, it starts with a quote from Paul:
“Do everything without complaining or arguing – Paul (Phil. 2:14)
There has never been an argument that was not preceded by complaining. It is an ancient habit of thoughtlessness to seek ingratitude, moral misery, pride, vanity and all the other scourges that ruin souls in this world in order to organize conversations of darkness, where goodness, love and truth are the focus of malice.
When someone begins to find little reasons to complain a lot, they should perform a rigorous self-examination to see if they are not suffering from the terrible illness of complaining.
Of course, those who are carrying out their duties on the list of righteous activities will not have time to complain.
The disciple must be on guard against accumulators of destructive energies, because, generally speaking, their pernicious influence has invaded nearly every corner of struggle on the planet.
They are easy to identify. For them, everything is wrong, nothing works, and one should not expect anything better in anything. Their speech is constantly irritable, and their remarks are unjust and discouraging.
Let us strive with all our might against these humiliating mental attitudes. Trusting in God, let us expand our hopes, and be assured that, as the old Proverb says, an optimistic heart is the medical prescription for peace and joy.”[iii]
Hence, remove that poisonous sac from your body. Cast off that urge to remonstrate to the world everything you had found to be lacking. But, you may ask, why should I? There are many injustices and I shouldn’t have to suffer so!
Here is another great lesson given to us by Spiritism – the circumstances you detest, the reasons that you feel are responsible for your inability to obtain your desires – are all there for a purpose. Each and every large and small obstacle is but one entry in your grand lesson plan – the blueprint of your life, which traces the major and minor events that you will endure. All for one reason and one reason only – to help you improve and grow. To modify your character and personality to be able to enter the spirit realm ready to ascend.
Therefore, complaining about your life is the same as your child complaining about school. You tell your wonderful and beautiful off-spring to stop complaining and learn what the teacher is trying to teach you. You love the child, but you know they must learn how to learn and they must accumulate enough knowledge to make them a responsible adult.
The spirit world sees us in the same light. The courses have been carefully planned out – all with our benefit in mind. A billion variables – our parents, our friends, our accidents, our spouses, our careers – all have been traced out to make our life on earth as fruitful as possible. Not for our pleasure, but for our education and transformation. From immaturity to maturity.
Don’t Give Up
The road to self-improvement is not without great hurdles and disappointments. Restructuring your entire outlook and basic philosophical foundation is not a trivial task.
Think of the revolution of ideas that must have occurred to the disciples of Jesus. In the book Jesus in the Home, by the spirit Neio Lucio, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier, a taste of the difficulty of changing everything you have learned is discussed.
The book records dialogs with Jesus and his disciples in the homes of several of his apostles. Many of the conversations took place in Peter’s house, where at the end of the day His close followers would discuss what Jesus had revealed. They would ask for clarification and guidance, and sometimes they would express their frustration in their ability to transform themselves into the vision laid out before them by the teachings of Christ.
In one such gathering, Thaddeus expresses great concern over his ability to spread the Gospel to humanity when his mind is full of conflicting thoughts. Then Andrew joins into the conversation with his lament:
“’Master, what will become of me? By your side I am an obedient sheep, but when I am away from you, all it takes is one meaningless word of misunderstanding to undo me. I can’t put up with insult or injury. Is it right for me to continue to teach others to practice the good, when I believe myself to be so bad and imperfect? …’
Peter interrupted and said:
‘On my part, I can see that I am no more than a miserable, indebted and very imperfect spirit. I’m the worst of all. Every night when I go off by myself for my daily prayers, I’m perplexed by the sudden inner courage with which I am embracing my current commitments. My weakness is great; my debts are enormous. How am I to serve the sublime principles of the New Kingdom if I am so insufficient and incomplete?’”[iv]
Neither Thaddeus, Andrew, nor Peter felt themselves making dramatic progress. All were frustrated with the pace of remolding their philosophy and re-wiring their responses to the daily trials of life to conform to positive thought and action.
Whereupon, Jesus listening to the hardships of his disciples smiled and told them this:
“In reality, the paradise that we dream of is still very far away and I don’t see any winged disciples here. In my opinion, the angels in heavenly dress have yet to find a home on the rough and dark ground upon which we walk. We are the students of the good on the way to the Father, and we shouldn’t belittle the blessed opportunities to grow towards Him, just as the grape vine reaches for the sky after being born in the dark bosom of the earth, spreading out mercifully to produce comforting wine for everyone’s happiness. If you declare yourselves to be weak, hardened and evil debtors, but are not the first ones to work so that you become strong, redeemed, dedicated and good to benefit the overall work of salvation, it doesn’t look to me like the angels should descend from the glory of the Most High to replace you on the field of earth’s lessons. Medicine, above all, is for the patient; learning, for the unlearned. Otherwise, I think the Gospel of Salvation would disappear because it is inadequate and useless.”[v]
Jesus told his disciples, it is the trajectory that is important. They were striving to do their best. That is all that is expected. The fact that they were valiantly trying to re-make themselves means they were performing exactly as they should be.
The spirit world doesn’t expect us to read or hear a passage of how to behave and presume an immediate change. They well know the time and effort it takes to break down old habits and to reform primitive emotions which could rise up at any slight provocation. This is a daily, and often hourly, struggle. We just need to keep observing ourselves and continue to instill new habits of positive thinking and speaking.
An important aspect of formulating constructive speech is to first listen. There is guidance on this from the spirit Emmanuel, in the book The Way, The Truth and the Life:
“But everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. (James 1:19)
Otherwise, it is impossible to carry out the simplest task in the ministry of the good. Only after listening carefully can a person speak in an edifying manner while on the pathway to evolution.
Those who listen, learn; those who speak, teach.
One keeps; the other spreads.
In the good experience, only those who keep can spread successfully.
Therefore, James’ advice represents an undying appropriateness.
It is important to remember that, just as people should be quick to listen and moderate with their words, they should be slow to anger.
Of course, each and every day the human pathway offers various reasons to act quickly. However, whenever possible, it is best to put off till the next day any expression of anger, for that will provide an opportunity to examine the matter more wisely and the cause of the anger might disappear.
We should bear in mind that all are born to carry out specific functions. If they always listen, they can be sure that they will serenely achieve the purpose for which they are destined, but if they are always talking, they might lose sight of their endeavor halfway through it; and if they are always getting angry, they will probably not accomplish anything at all.”[vi]
The spirit world perfectly understands us. They have lived in the same shoes as we have and they have experienced the deluge of a thousand different pinpricks attacking our calm demeanor. Life as a human entails numerous obstacles raised before us and behind us.
Learning to filter out the trivial and reflect upon the major distractions is part of our training. Guiding our inner selves to the path of perfection is like flying a jet, we can’t jerk the pedals, or the plane will spiral out of control. When we see danger ahead, we need to analyze, plan, and then act. Our action involves speaking.
Speak when you have understood the circumstances, and the long-term effect of your proposed actions. Think through the ramifications of your plans. Visualize the possible future options and your next move … and your next move after that – only then act.
High creative spirits plan for the long-term. When they commence a new project, they fashion their conception to be dynamic, to grow with changing environments and factors. High spirits, Angels, Lords of the Higher Plane understand the need to approach every challenge with first understanding the situation, the entire problem and the atmosphere around it and the cause.
They analyze the possible solutions, not just the immediate aftermath, but the long-term consequences. They build into their solutions the ability to grow and become better.
This all appears to be rather complicated and time consuming. But isn’t this exactly what you do with your children every day? You weigh the pros and cons and the long-term effects of every action you take with your child. If they do something wrong, it would be easy to punish them severely, for they would be so frightened they would never make that mistake again. But wouldn’t that set-up a general weariness of doing anything else? Wouldn’t that instill a fear of their parent? Therefore, correcting their course must be subtle, if the parent wishes the child to retain their ability to explore. The parent desires the child to be prepared to act and then learn from their mistakes.
Imagine if we took the same care for any of our reactions to other people who intrude upon our lives. That we listened to them, understood their point of view and examined their circumstances and reasons for their actions. Then and only then did we compile our response; a reply with the good of that person in mind. The world would be a different place. It would be a world similar to heaven, where love is at the forefront.
The spirit Emmanuel sent this message to a Spiritist meeting, led by Francisco C. Xavier, it was reproduced in the book Spiritual Wisdom: Missives of Hope:
“Observe the extension of human suffering and make your speech into an instrument of relief and peace.
You will find infirm individuals of the soul around you appearing from every place; some with psychological maladjustments from other existences, presenting obscure traumas in the mental field; others who could not fulfill their commitments, and who now wander in this world in self-loathing; desperate others, who walk the fine line between delinquency and a productive life; and the afflicted ones, almost all of them tied to the process of anguish.
They are all infirm individuals of the soul who must be medicated, first and foremost, with a curative dialogue.
At home, have compassion with your relatives and try to radiate the light of understanding that might establish tranquility and safety, in the work place, as much as possible, transform yourself in a cleanser of bitter confidences, substituting goodness for incomprehension, and blessings for acrimony; in public manifestations, select concepts that promote ideas and opinions so you may not stimulate violence or discord; and in public places, mobilize solidarity and kindness, decreasing the tiredness and loneliness felt by the companions who bear conflicts and trials that you might perhaps ignore.
Do not carry your speech with fulminating vibrations when surprised by the intemperance of others; otherwise, besides not curing the infirm, you will become even sicker yourself, especially under circumstances when facing particular adversaries or supposed aggressors.
Place yourself in the other person’s situation and imagine how your reactions would be if someone spoke to you with bitterness and lack of consideration.
The denser the clouds in the environment, the deeper the mental imbalances around us.
The more dissonance embraces us, the more necessary it is for us to elicit a curative dialogue, capable of suppressing infirmities and obsessions at the incipience.
Regardless of the circumstances you find, blend your words with kindness and understanding.
We all know that sufferings, tears and fires of dissent and tribulations are all abundant on earth.
The Lord, however, does not expect from us any miraculous formulae that will immediately extinguish the fires of agitation; however, wherever we are and with whomever we are, He asks us to provide a glass of cold water.”[vii]
There is no better survey of constructive speech that I have found than what was sent to us from the spirit realm, via the spirit Emmanuel, to the late great Brazilian medium, Chico Xavier.
[i] Xavier, F. C., Our Daily Bread, EDICEI, pp. 353-354
[ii] Franco, Divaldo, Life: Challenges and Solutions, Leal Publisher, p. 154
[iii] Xavier, F. C., Our Daily Bread, EDICEI, pp. 163-164
[iv] Xavier, F. C., Jesus in the Home, EDICEI, pp. 143-144
[v] Xavier, F. C., Jesus in the Home, EDICEI, pp. 144-145
[vi] Xavier, F.C., The Way, the Truth and the Life, EDICEI, pp. 167-168
[vii] Xavier, F. C., Pires, J. H. Spiritual Wisdom: Missives of Hope, Spiritist Alliance for Books, pp. 189-190