What you Mutter does Matter

I like to listen to people.

In particular I try and listen to the words or phrases that are repeated. The little phrases or sentences they might say either verbally or non-verbally.

The deep mutter that reveals what is happening on a subconscious level. This little mutter has been shaped over many years of repeating the same thought over and over again. The mutter could be distilled down to a few key lines. Here are some examples.
  • ‘If it’s going to be, then it’s up to me’
  • ‘I never succeed at anything’
  • ‘I never get anything right’
  • ‘I’ve had a tough life, you owe me’ What do you mutter?

The fascinating thing is that one of the meanings of the word ‘meditate’ (Hagah in the Hebrew) is to mutter.

When we think of meditation we may well think of being quiet, still, focusing our thoughts and feelings, possibly concentrating our attention on God and a verse of scripture.

David writes about this in Psalm 1.
But, what do we mutter, or allow our mind to mediate continually upon? There is a book in the Bible called Lamentations. Not a wildly popular book because it is a lament, a book of sadness and loss. Even so, we can learn much from lament. Grief is ok, it is part of the normal human condition. What we do with our sadness is what counts.What we mutter really does matter.

The writer says this

The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. Lamentations 3:19-20

Can you see the mutter? His soul is continually thinking about his affliction and his exiled state. He had been taken away from home as a captive of another nation. He is thinking of his homeland and is sick with grief. Wormwood and gall are metaphors for very bitter experiences.

Then he uses some self-soothing mutters. He disciplines his mind to remember and mutter something new.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:21-26

Some new thoughts are brought to the mind. Thoughts of hope, steadfast love, mercies, faithfulness, inheritance, goodness, and salvation.

His mind mutters something life giving.

What you give your mind to meditate/ mutter on will set the course of your thoughts and behaviours.

What do you mutter? Perhaps you need to ask a close safe friend or someone you trust to tell you what they think you mutter on.

Could Lamentations 3:21-26 become part of your daily mutter?

Happy muttering!

Barry Pearman

Image by Hans_van_Rijnberk Creative Commons Flickr
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