A Yoga Teacher Talks About the Power of Profanity.
I tried to give it up, but it didn’t last. I’m not sure I even made it a full day, to be honest.
I’m talking about swearing here.
There is something to be said about keeping your speech clean, kind and conscious. It’s important, really. Yet I think profanity has a place there too. At least for me it does.
The power of sound is called Matrika Shakti in Sanskrit, and is a key concept to understand. It applies to everyday speaking as well as chanting and formulating phrases of intent:
Every sound carries vibration, and vibration is what makes up our world. So when you say something mean, or angry, or self-depreciating, it adds those vibrations into the make-up of “What Is.” If your speech is of beauty, integrity and compassion, that is what you contribute.Every sound and word conveys power.
Which is why many of the people I admire have refined their speech.
I’ve done this to a certain degree as well, though perhaps my speech is slightly more spicy than you’d expect for someone so dedicated to a path of higher frequency. I will give myself credit for dropping a lot of the vulgar things I used to say to myself. Not nice at all. I actually made a vow to stop beating myself up with thoughts of self-hatred. It’s been a hard road, and I sometimes slip a little, but I’ve come a very long way in that regard.
However, I acquired a fine appreciation for profanity at a youngish age, and it’s more or less stuck. Possibly the years I rode motorcycles and wore lots of black leather had something to do with all the creative swearwords I’ve collected in my vocabulary.
Yet, knowing that sound carries power, how is it that I still find myself dropping the f-bomb so often?
I was just lying on my back on the floor and the only word that properly described how I was feeling was “Fuck.”
Eloquent, I know.
Yes, I’ve done yoga today. Yes, I’ve meditated today. More than once, in fact. But sometimes life interferes with even my best efforts of staying serene and blissful and I find it appropriate to pull out some less than G-rated language.
You’ve got to move the energy somehow, right?
At the same time, I am aware of the tone behind my words. Sure, I’m a real human being with all the emotions that come with embodiment. But I’m not mean, and I try not to be crude or ugly with my words, even if they involve profanity. I think there is a difference between swearing and vulgarity, and the line is drawn in the tone of intent.
What I’m saying is that, there is, with this as with all things, a balance. Can you bring out four letter words in a way that is yogic? I think you can.
But beyond that, I’m writing this as a confession of sorts. Or perhaps it’s more of a statement of realism: that even while walking the path of love, aiming forever at the eternal state of oneness and unity and peace, there is something powerfully satisfying about saying it like it is—in whatever language you deem best!
Editor: Kate Bartolotta