The continuing exploration of ways of thinking differently is frequently focused on the language that we use to construct and share our thoughts. There are organic sensations both physical and spiritual which seem to elude words. But, most of our thinking is reflected and shaped in the language we were taught and which we use.
A key focus of this can be whether we are using more nouns to describe our experiences or more verbs. A helpful image is to view nouns as being essentially “snapshots” of moments of our lives where as verbs are more like “video”. Both hold truth and give us awareness of ourselves. Though, through describing and feeling ourselves as the actions we take (being a verb) usually offers us more subtle insight into the dynamics and process of our experiences.
This is easily seen in contrasting two views of say, the common cold. When in the medical industry, a doctor says, “You have a cold.” It gives the image that the cold is something that you possess. Something like an object that you would “carry in your pocket”. This pespective would shape your thinking to see the cold and its symptoms as something that must be stopped and eliminated. In our culture, this would have us following a path of prescribed and over the counter chemicals which would focus on blocking symptoms (coughing, sneezing, runny nose, stuffiness, etc.
A different way of thinking is seen in the way a holistic or “big picture” view of describing your experience as your body “cleansing”. Symptoms/behaviors would be experienced as natural functions of the body to release toxins and waste products. One would be invited to choose actions of enhancing the cleansing process (drinking more water, eating simpler foods or fasting, increasing vitamins/nutrients, rest/massage, sauna/colonics, etc.)
With the first view our focus would be in seeing causation and responsibility as being something outside of ourselves. Reinforced by statements like “there is a lot of that going around”. The second view would offer us choices that would look toward strengthening and enhancing our immune systems. The contrast is between being a victim of circumstance or an active participant looking for opportunities for change. The approach would lead us to rid ourselves of symptoms/consequence and yet possibly ignore root causes. The second would encourage growth and fortify us for yet unforeseen challenges.
Both nouns and verbs are a vital component of thinking process. Both assist our process. But nouns are by nature more rigid in defining ourselves in a static way. How often do we limit ourselves by saying “a man doesn’t do this or that” or “that we need to act more adultlike” ? How easily we are “boxed in” by stereotypes and preconceived judgments. How is the experience different when we use “verb” language which is more fluid and dynamic ? Feelings and actions describe the subtleties that offer more unique perspective of our individual experience.
Our awareness and choice of how we use language can impact whether we experience “human being” as a verb offering a world of choices or as a noun, simply a label.
How do you think differently about these things ?