Gossip: A Universal Pastime
Gossip: A harmless habit or divisive energy drain?
We alarmingly took notice to the exclamations of “Oh my god, did you hear…” that dominated our high school conversations. Guilty of the valley girl cattiness, my friends and I decided to quit gossip altogether. With the majority of our topics now extracted, we searched for what to speak about. Occasionally, the awkward silence would break to discuss the weather. We lasted three days.
It’s an evolutionary aspect of our biology to share information about one and other. How are we supposed to function as a clan if we don’t know who’s sick, defiant or hungry? Listening to a segment on NPR, a guest speaker praised the joys of gossiping as listeners confirmed, “It brings a sense of intimacy between the sharer and receiver, it provides amusing anecdotes of life.” A graduate student from China yearned for gossip to resolve his homesick woes.
Sure, there are various forms of gossip, some more harmless than others, and we may all agree it’s morally wrong to talk negatively about someone or to share rumors that may be fictitious. Yet, there are other reasons besides the golden rules of morality, to not gossip…
i. It can lead to energy depletion. There is often a “sigh,” that comes after exhausting all angles of some juicy news. Is it relief or depleted energy? Even if it is an energy release, mightn’t that energy have been more wisely spent?
ii. Our body is a physical extension of our mind. Feel the body after partaking in gossip that is particularly judgmental. Does it feel constricted? Or, do we feel like we are “getting off” on the gossip. Investigate the quality of energy that is aroused via gossip and you will find that it likely has a sexual root – and thus we are wasting our creative life-force on the dramas we indulge in.
iii. Gossip is just another way for the mind to fall back into the temporary pleasures of distraction. Speculation is often the motor behind conversational gossip. We cannot know someone’s motive until we directly ask him or her. We are not being of much benefit in assuming, so why try? In doing so, we may loose our present moment awareness (PMA). PMA is the only possibility for real change in life, not to mention effectiveness, happiness, true sanity and health. Distraction, believe or not, is perhaps the principle reason why we are all so tired and energy deficient. We may think we are saving energy by shutting down and numbing out – but its actually not true.
Now, this is not to say we’re solely limited to the topics of weather conditions. But, maybe as a new years resolution even, we can reflect before we share…
1) Why am I sharing this? (Do I just want to indulge at the expense of another, to cut awkward silence, or is there some value in sharing this information to all persons involved?)
2) Am I speaking beneficially, kindly and truthfully as I share this? Sweet words come from and lead back to a sweet experience of life. Cutting others down, no matter how seemingly justifiable, merely fortifies our own self-abnegation.
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