New Thought Editorials > Words, Words, Words


Autumn 2009

Words, Words, Words

"Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words!" exploded Eliza Doolittle in one of her songs from the musical comedy My Fair Lady. She was complaining about words used in place of actions, which, as we know, speak louder. But words judiciously used can be a form of action; they are one of the hallmarks of New Thought.

In order to change our actions even slightly, our thinking must have already changed at least slightly. Thinking at some point usually coalesces into words that can declare our intention. Speaking, silently or aloud, involves the power of words, which represent ideas. The spoken word is a form of action.

New Thought author Catherine Ponder points out, "The words utter and outer have similar roots. What you utter becomes outer in your world!" She adds, "Because of the power of words, whatever a person voices he begins to attract." Business counselor Jane Elizabeth Allen notes, "Your brain hears what your mouth says." For this reason, we must keep a careful watch on what we think, and even more, on what we say. This is no mere superstition; the effect of words has been demonstrated and replicated many times in scientific studies. It requires enormous self discipline to monitor one’s thoughts and speech, but that is exactly what is necessary in order to attract the beneficial results we all desire in our lives. New Thought may be simple, but it is anything but easy to practice.

The New Thought founders all based their work on the Bible, which is brimming with references to word or words. In the Old Testament, we find, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21); and "Thus saith the Lord . . . concerning the work of my hands command ye me" (Isa. 45:11). We are fairly familiar with the notion that God spoke the world into existence, but the idea that by our words—our spoken command—we are commanding the power of God, should blow our socks off. New Thoughter Terry McBride used the power of his own humbly astonished statement, "I command the power of God", to drive the necessary changes first to his mind and later to his body, enlisting the help of reluctant medical personnel along the way. From a discouraging, humiliating, seemingly hopeless major health challenge, Terry co-created with God a complete, spectacular, lasting cure. His own God-aligned, God-directed thoughts and words attracted the necessary support of all kinds.

In the New Testament, Jesus taught his followers the Lord’s Prayer, which is a series of affirmations, spoken words. In Matthew 12:37 he stated, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." We rise or fall on the basis of our own words, which we have freely chosen. The context makes clear that we are responsible for our words and our thoughts from which they flow.

It is all too easy to allow ourselves to be jerked around by the words of others as a substitute for doing our own thinking. It is also too easy to succumb to the popular Humpty-Dumpty notion that words mean only what we say they do, with no ultimate God-given set of values concerning right and wrong to back them up. Words—our own and others’—drive our emotions, and whether we lead with our intellect or with our emotions, it is the emotions—the feelings that arise from our words—that govern our outcomes. When we stay the course, aligned with God’s guidance, those outcomes are good.

The secret at the heart of New Thought is and has always been the art of aligning our thoughts with those of God, fully in the present, rather than allowing ourselves to be jerked around by fears from the past, worries about the future, or ideas from people who are out of integrity. Our resulting words, silent or spoken, govern our actions and our feelings, which lead in turn to future actions and feelings. The alignment with God is like turning on the electricity in an electromagnet. The same magnet that could lift only two pounds can lift two thousand pounds when electrified. Our carefully chosen words allow us to feel that power and use it to accomplish great things.