Inner Michael » The Spirit of the Word

The Spirit of the Word

From the tiniest atom to the vastest galaxy, everything is energy. Atomic energy powers everything in the Universe. It’s all atoms, all energy, all elegance. The elegance and the expression of elegance is invisible. We can’t see the atoms, we can’t see the molecules but we know they are there. When they slow down or brake, we can view them as something solid or with mass— solid, liquid or gaseous. So if the Universe is made of atoms, what exactly is the “stuff” the atoms and therefore the Universe, is made of? What makes it elegant?

 It is spirit. When we talk about the “spirit” of something, we speak of its essence and qualities and its mode of expression in the world. There are many derivatives of the word “spirit:” Inspiritu in Latin means “in truth and spirit;” “inspire” means in-breath or to fill with spirit; when someone is “dispirited” we know them to feel defeated, hopeless or despondent having incurred a loss of spirit. Spirit is a vital thing; it connotes vitality. To breathe in is an inspiration (anabolic) and to breathe out or take one’s last breath (catabolic) is to expire. One gives life, one brings death.

When we speak about spirit in conjunction with a person, we mean the aliveness that animates the body, mind and soul of the human. When we say “team spirit” we mean the demonstration of the collective qualities or essence of the team. The spirit of a team is real and factors into its failure or success—ask any coach, president, or group or organizational leader. The spirit of humanity is the collective frame of mind or frame of reference that holds the prime qualities (either life-giving or death-producing) expressed in the collective invisible essence of a group or mass of humans. The collective can mean a few, many, millions, a certain population or all of humanity.

“Power,” refers to an energy that is related to humans, is life producing and infers a vital and growing magnitude of intangible essence. “Force” on the other hand assumes a push or outward motion or depletion of something meaning a thrust toward decay. Which is more desirable: Power? Force? By way of example: Charisma is a kind of power. Bullying is a use of force. Power is an attractor field; force is a decayer. Power is a fountain type of energy; force comes from deploying brute strength. Which would you prefer?

When individuals, cultures or nations lose their spirit, they lose their self respect, their life giving and sustaining force, their compassion and love. That loss can lead to violence because if there is nothing worthwhile (human or humane) to preserve, there is nothing of value to respect or to lose. That sets up a sense of something vague but valuable gone missing or an onset of scarcity that is played out in the culture and the world as selfishness and violence.

There is a “spirit of man” or humankind and when it is lost, the enterprise loses its soul or is no longer soulful. When the soul gets lost, buried, hidden or removed, the idea of the brilliance or specialness of the human and its spirit and soul, dies. A group, culture, nation or world that is dead to its own spirit or essence is dangerous.

When something is spiritual or soulful, it is filled with the brilliance or “bright shadow” that is the highest and finest expression of the human spirit. Shadow is the human capacity for darkness and violence. Bright shadow is the ability to shine with human compassion, agape and love. It is the tendency to embrace, nurture, encourage, showcase, treat tenderly and applaud the human spirit and celebrates and encourages the expression of human bright shadow.

Spirituality is not to be confused with religion. Religions are formal structures that usually form around an individual considered holy and are designed and constructed by humans to explain the mysteries of the Universe. “Religious” does not always mean “spiritual,” nor does spiritual mean “religious.” Some terribly unspiritual things have been done in the name of religions or their founders. Some dangerous, violent behaviors have been perpetrated by one group of humans on other groups in the name of a God or religion.

Occasionally the world is visited by an individual who embodies and channels great power and spirituality. The principles they embody and convey affect the lives of many, even millions in the brief time they spend on the planet. An example of this is the master teacher Jesus who only taught for three years yet his teachings have endured for two thousand. The power of these principles has not diminished over time; only the conveyance has weakened by the “watering down” or adulteration of the original message. But the essence survives.

There are “ideals” that mankind strives for that when lacking, cause suffering for humans. Individuals who lack these qualities suffer and those around them suffer when these ideals are not embraced, shared or expressed collectively. Whether unconscious or acknowledged, these principles are known and felt as soulful expressions of the human experience. Many of the great planetary teachers and religions built around them try to confer guidelines for this soulful expression or bright shadow of the human. The Golden Rule, for example is bright shadow in action. The expressions of charity, humility, unconditional love, empathy and admiration are ideals of bright shadow.

We know this kind of power by its effects not by measurement. We feel it as an energetic (an energy that emanates from an individual, group, population or organization.) We see the impact it has when employed. We know the energy of someone who exudes compassion, love, wisdom and tolerance. We feel their essence, their aura or vibe. People with bright shadow in vitality are said to have spirit or soul and be and do soulful very well. We admire them, like being in their presence, feel safe and breathe more deeply when they are around. “She’s a breath of fresh air,” we exclaim. He’s so genuine and kind and humble.” We know them by their fruits or what they gift to the world with their presence. They sparkle. They are generous with their affection. They see the divinity in the human—all humans.

We also know the energy of someone devoid of those qualities. And we know the dark energy of someone who deliberately employs anger or engages in evil. Whether conscious or not, we process this information and we make conclusions about their energy, their inherent qualities and from that we extrapolate, the intention of such individuals. These are the people who feel icky to us, or sometimes creepy. We feel icky or creeped out in their orbit. They can be gloom and misery personified and that is what they spread around themselves. They suck the goodness right out of a room and they suck energy leaving us feeling empty—of our joy, our humanity, our appreciation. They are the misery people—they are so we should be. They are the “be careful,” “watch out,” folks who feed on misery and trade in it—their own and others.’ They gossip, expose, point, condemn and humiliate because of their own internal emptiness and pain. They project darkness onto others because it is too painful to acknowledge their own. You know them. You know how they make you feel. They are the walking wounded and because they are so wounded, everyone should suffer similarly. They use words to embrace and convey the darkness. Make no mistake—this is violence. This is dangerous to our humanity.

There is nothing soulful about gossiping, exposing, accusing, humiliating, condemning or impaling people for sport. There is nothing spiritual about taking solace or glee in witnessing someone else’s life circumstance as a testimony to how your own is. There is nothing humane about making fun of someone’s woundedness, damage or injury. There is nothing sporting about either idolizing or vilifying a celebrity with words—both are inauthentic and counterfeit. Feeling better about yourself after engaging in projecting shadow onto someone else is not humane or soulful or spiritual. Feeding off the bleeding of somebody while they are sustaining a wound or ingesting the latest juicy salacious tidbit about them is sadism and cannibalism not empathy. There is nothing human, humane, spiritual or soulful about it.

It all begins with words: The words we use; how we say the words we use; what we repeat in words; what we admire and use our words to express; saying who we wish we were being in words; by our projections on to others using our bad words, using words to critique others to avoid our own wounds; doing violence to ourselves by the self defeating dialogues courtesy of the inner critic; the internal condemner and what he has to say about self and others in words (which really reveals who we are being;) the words we utter under our breath; the prayer that leaves our lips; the sincere compliments we give to others; allowing the complimentary words to sink in when they are directed toward us; remembering the harm we suffered by unkind words and so withholding our own; the vows we make to the Universe and the future—whether consciously or unconsciously and the consequences of that single act—the vow.

Everything is energy. All exchange is the exchange of energy. Words have energy. Dialogue is the exchange of energy with words. Discourse is the verbal interchange of ideas in words. Diplomacy is the offering humanity and the invitation in words to be an ally in this world. It all begins with words.

Have you visited Words and Violence yet? Using your words, who have you told about it?

Voices Education Project

Here is the updated version of the postcard template. Please use only cardstock paper (ask your printer to use postcard paper) There are 4 cards on an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet. Please do not change any of the text without permission. When you talk with people about the curriculum and its content, they will ask if you have a card– hand them the postcard. The back is blank in case you want to write your contact information or if you want to mail the postcard. Happy networking!

Go here to get the updated postcards.










  1. Joyce said . . .

    Rev. Barbara, I have read and re-read this post to try to take in it’s full meaning. Your words certainly are thought provoking. Our society is definitely lacking in “bright spirit and positive energy.” It seems that the more salacious and negative something is the more popular and talked about it is. With all of the choices in immediate communication and processing of “words” that exists today, it seems that we are actually becoming less compassionate and caring for one another. If it takes longer than a few seconds to get a thought across then it is not worth the bother. What has happened to actual communication and sharing of real feelings? We may have the ability to stay “connected” at all times but if that connection does not have any real feelings or emotions involved then I fear for where we are headed. Michael had the ability to make people “feel” loved, and nurtured through every word that he spoke, sang and demonstrated through his dance and movement. That kind of incredible feeling will never be forgotten! Thanks for the Words and Violence Postcard template. I continue to spread the word! Thanks again for another interesting post.

    Posted September 26, 2010 at 2:10 am | Permalink
  2. Jeanne said . . .

    I understand what you meant when you said, “they are the misery people; they are so we should be.” These people who are so wounded definitely are in need of the most love. They may have become that way because they had their fair share of misunderstandings and abuse and pain. That is all they know. When you offer them love the first thing they may do is reject this and give you a dose of the same pain they felt. When there is no fear, “love is allowed to grow.” Michael said, “We are afraid of being rejected , of being hurt once more so we keep a safe distance. We think seperating ourselves from others will protect us, but that doesnt work, either. It leaves us feeling alone and unloved.” Those were Michaels words.

    Posted September 26, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink
  3. admin said . . .

    It is important that we not stay in the fear or feeling of defeat or despair because THAT permeates and becomes our vibe. This is where shadow work is important. When the sadness and fear comes up, immediately change it in your mind’s eye, and see instead, the perfection. Visualize the situation ending with more compassion and more caring. When mean spirited words or actions come at you, declare your position- that you will not be a target. If they keep coming at you, instead of attack, step out of the way and do not let yourself continue to be that target. If we alienate enough people with our aggressive behavior, we end up alone and that loneliness can be our teacher. Sometimes we need to feel what is wrong or what is missing in order to feel its opposite. Sometimes we have to have evidence of what we don’t want and get filled up on that and maybe walk away until we decide to change that paradigm. If or when a situation, person or paradigm changes, you can always step back in. ~Rev. B.

    Posted September 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink
  4. Dalia said . . .

    The media challenges us as do people with good or bad attitudes in order to provoke us to a particular reaction. We are sending and receiving messages with different intentions. We can choose or not choose to fall into that provocation. So when you hear gossip, read a magazine or a news tabloid and process it in your mind or even discuss it with someone else, and that process is malicious, you have fallen into the “provocation” and that thought gives you a bad feeling. You know what you have said or thought is rubbish and does not contribute to anything. I’ve felt that. On the contrary moving away from shadow feels “clean”and is much more healthy. I can not close my eyes to the reality of the world around me, lots of shade, but at least if I can contribute something positive with my thoughts and actions, the light would win a little ground. That’s what Michael did.

    Posted September 27, 2010 at 3:35 am | Permalink
  5. Keisha said . . .

    What a most breathtakingly topical and poignant article! Hats off Barbara! The whole concept of violence with words is so extremely critical to understanding what is wrong with the whole approach of the media field as it exists. And this is the first time I am seeing it addressed in such a wise and profound way. Your piece deserves a very wide dissemination. If children are seriously taught about these concepts then we have achieved something wonderful… Please carry on with all this meaningful work 🙂

    Posted September 30, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink
  6. marga1961 said . . .

    Michael WAS Energy, just Energy…… ThanXX for this article Rev. Barbara.

    Posted October 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

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