What Do You Mean By That?
Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and the person you are speaking with abruptly questions, "What do you mean by that?"
Interesting question, because most people simply assume that they know...
Life's conversations are kind of interesting in that they are all dominated by personal interpretations and definitions. Though the words may be the same, each person interprets them differently.
Certainly, we have all said things that we did not mean. Our mind knew what we wanted to say, but the words just came out wrong.
The funny thing about this is, those mistakes in conversations are oftentimes the things people remember the most. You didn't mean it, but you said it... So, it is believed that is actually how you feel or how you define a person or a situation.
The other side of the issue is that people read into what you have to say and define your words by their own distorted perspective. They put their own spin on what you said, even though, in your mind, that is not what you mean at all.
I had one friend who used to truly contemplate what I said. He would sometimes ask me to clarify what I had said days before. On one side of the issue that was nice; at least he cared what I had to say. But, most of the time we ALL just talk. We say what we say and move on. It means nothing...
In terms of spiritual teachers, people always try to understand the, "True meaning," of what they have to say. This is based in the feeling that there must be some deep spiritual truth hidden between the lines of what they have said. Is there? Or, are they like everyone else? They are just thinking about what they are thinking about, so that is what they are speaking of.
Which ever way you want to look at it, words are open to interpretation. People talk, people lie, people say things they don't mean, people try to control other through the use of what they say.
Words... Don't get lost in 'em.