Welcome back to Unity Spiritual Center!
I do hope you are enjoying our trip into the wonderful music of Motown. I have been enjoying researching it and listening to the songs we will be discussing.
This week, we listen to and explore the sound of Marvin Gaye and “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”
This song is a simple but still powerful example of gossip.
It was the first of Gaye’s songs to hit #1.
What is gossip? It is casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true
To hear something through the grapevine is to learn of something informally and unofficially by means of gossip and rumor. The usual implication is that the information was passed person to person by word of mouth, perhaps in a confidential manner among friends or colleagues.
When I was young, (very young!), our families often vacationed together, a couple of my dad’s brothers and sisters. All the families often went to Cowen’s State Park, in western PA. One of the games we played when we all gathered together was called Telephone. Did you ever play it?
We made a big circle in one of the cabins all sitting on chairs and benches. We’re talking 30-40 people. One person would start by whispering some word or phrase into the ear of the person next to them and it would be whispered around the circle.
By the time it got all the way around, it usually was nothing near what it started out as.
My Dad was usually the guy who came up with some weird phrase that usually ended up with the most laughter.
But gossip is usually not a funny thing.
And this is a good example of the dangers of gossip. What may, and that is a huge may, have started out as an innocent comment, most often turn out much more damaging.
When we talk about other people, we may end up ruining another person’s reputation. A reputation is very fragile. When you gossip, you are helping to destroy something extremely valuable.
There’s a story about a man who lived in a small town. He was new there, so most didn’t know much about him.
One person started to gossip, saying some unaccounted things and it quickly spread through the town. The man was deeply hurt, and finally confronted the gossip. After explaining how wrong the information was and how hurt he was, the gossiper asked how they could repair the harm they had done.
After thinking a bit, the man said to take a feather pillow, go to the top floor of their home, rip the pillow open and send the feathers out an open window.
Then, go out and try to gather all the feathers up.
This is the harm of gossip. Once the words are out, you can’t take them back. Those words can ruin friendships, marriages, word relations, lives.
Gossip and rumors can destroy a person’s self-confidence and affect their self-esteem. It also can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, anxiety, and a host of other issues.
Too often we have seen the affects of gossip leading to a child taking their own life.
Words are powerful. Just ask any child who is being bullied.
Or as Professor Dumbledore stated: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”
If we search the Bible, there are many references to gossip, in both the Hebrew and New Testaments. There are many references in Proverbs:
Proverbs 20:19 A gossip betrays a confidence; so, avoid anyone who talks too much.
Proverbs 26:20 Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
Proverbs 16:28 A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.
Proverbs 11:13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.
And the Book of James is filled with such references: James 3:1-4:12
This section of James’ Epistle is so clearly written that very little comment is necessary. Careless talk and idle gossip caused dissensions and disturbances in many of the Christian groups, and James felt it necessary to admonish the offenders. “The tongue is a little member and boasts of great things,” he wrote, but see “How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!” (James 3:5). James thus indicates that offenses of this sort could endanger the entire church and should be immediately checked.
Gossiping often carries an element of malicious criticism and judgment of others, and so it also strengthens the ego through the implied but imagined moral superiority that is there whenever you apply a negative judgment to anyone.
Metaphysically, we could ask ourselves why can we become so jealous and manipulative at the thought of hearing through the grapevine that our lover was leaving us?
The Course in Miracles tells us: the ego lives in comparisons; the ego attempts to always feel special and melodramatic.
As we move away from fear-based ego & onto our spiritual journey, our relationships may turn to fear, our partners want us to change back. This is ego, asking us to go back to what we were.
It is up to us to stand strong and see this as an attempt to keep us from moving forward.
Here is a response to the question: “How can I stop gossiping?” from G. Leroy Dale, Unity Minister—
All of us were given freedom of thought when God created us, but few of us have realized our personal responsibility involved in using thought. All that we think, say, and do registers in our subconscious nature and comes forth again by the law of attraction, to bless or to injure us or others.
A Truth student who realizes his personal responsibility for thinking discovers that what he thinks frees or binds him. So, he studies Truth to learn better ways of thinking, and thereby frees himself from many unhappy experiences.
If caught in a gossipy “talkfest,” simply keep thinking thoughts similar to the following:
What is being said here is of no consequence to me. The perfect action of God is taking place here through all concerned and only Divine Mind ideas are being contacted and expressed. Kindness, love, generosity, and understanding manifest through and for all, myself included.
The result will be that your own soul will not be contaminated, the so-called “gossips” will soon stop gossiping, no one’s reputation will suffer, and peace for all will prevail.
And I conclude with this message from Eckhart Tolle:
Here’s why you should not GOSSIP:
In Ancient Greece, Socrates had a great reputation of wisdom. One day, someone came to find the great philosopher and said to him:
– Do you know what I just heard about your friend?
– A moment, replied Socrates. Before you tell me, I would like to test you the three sieves.
– The three sieves?
– Yes, continued Socrates. Before telling anything about the others, it’s good to take the time to filter what you mean. I call it the test of the three sieves.
The first sieve is the TRUTH. Have you checked if what you’re going to tell me is true?
– No, I just heard it.
– Very good! So, you don’t know if it’s true.
We continue with the second sieve, that of KINDNESS. What you want to tell me about my friend, is it good?
– Oh, no! On the contrary.
– So, questioned Socrates, you want to tell me bad things about him and you’re not even sure they’re true?
Maybe you can still pass the test of the third sieve, that of UTILITY. Is it useful that I know what you’re going to tell me about this friend?
– No, really.
– So, concluded Socrates, what you were going to tell me is neither true, nor good, nor useful. Why, then, did you want to tell me this?
“Gossip is a bad thing. In the beginning it may seem enjoyable and fun, but in the end, it fills our hearts with bitterness and poisons us, too!”