For my first (and long overdue) post here on KIN, I’ve decided to re-post something from my own blog, Emerald and Black. I suppose I could be accused of laziness, but the subject of this post is an important one to me, and I believe it deserves to be repeated. I hope you enjoy it.
The ancient Egyptians had no shortage of creation myths. My current favorite is the Memphite Theology, in which Ptah is the creator deity. Unlike Atum who masturbates Shu and Tefnut into creation, or Ra whose tears form the first humans, Ptah’s method of creation is an intellectual one. In his heart, Ptah conceived of all things in the universe: the earth, the other gods, humans, animals – everything. He then spoke their names, and they came into existence. According to this myth, ours is a world created entirely by words.
I’ve always been a pessimist. When so many aspects of your life seem not to work, it is easy to fall into patterns of negative thoughts, lowered expectations, and negative speech. It’s also easy to find well-meaning optimists who are all too eager to give unsolicited advice, which often just boils down to “be positive!” To someone with a pessimist’s mindset, it is not so simple. Aside from sounding like fluffy self-help nonsense, the advice, in a sense, asks the pessimist to deny reality. How can you be positive when you can’t find a job, when your relationships are failing, when your dog dies? The notion seems to belittle what you are experiencing, and couldn’t possibly change your situation for the better.
But it’s all about perspective. We all know how words can affect us; we’ve all been insulted and complimented, been inspired by a speech, touched by a poem. Yet the abstract “be/think/speak positive” meant nothing to me because I simply had no way of relating to it. This is where heka comes in. Heka can be defined as “magical speech,” the power of words to affect change. As in Ptah’s creation myth, the words we speak give life to what is in our hearts and minds. They create our realities.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of heka, which in turn has me thinking about the words I speak. I’ve had a lifelong habit of defining things in negative terms. I can’t. I don’t. I won’t. How can I have balance in my life if all I speak is negativity? How am I serving Ma’at if my words only create impossibilities and unhappiness?
I still don’t know how far positive speech can go in changing my outlook on things, much less my own reality, but for once I’m willing to give it a try. Whatever the result is, whether or not I change my mindset, I have nothing to lose for the effort. At best, I change myself for the better; at worst, nothing happens.
There’s nothing in this world that’s as safe a bet as that.