Cheryl is a  Learning Doula--a person who supports others as they learn, unlearn and emerge into their wealth and possibilities. budding pioneer of the field of learning and development. She is an established personal accountability and self-help author and has formed her business around the principles of autonomy, authenticity, and the courageous questioning that she writes about. Her new book, The Last Evaluation (coming soon) visits these principles in the framework of genuine and seamless living and working.




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Billy Idol

November 6, 2015


Have you ever heard the saying, “talk is cheap”? What about the saying, “How can you tell when he’s lying? His lips are moving!” I used to watch a TV show called “Lie to Me”. It was a crime drama about a man who could detect the truth by bypassing a person’s words and observing facial expressions and body language. Language was ruled out as evidence because the best way to guard against deception was to ignore all signals except those that were instantly verifiable. Words automatically failed this test.  So why is talk “cheap”? Why are words the main indication of deception? Why must someone go beyond what a person is saying to find the actual truth? In my book Tales From Eternity: Armageddon, Orgasms, Kittens and Gravity...Fun and Entertaining Pointers to Truth there's a story called “What Are Words” where I talk about my love for words. That story is my love letter to words. Writing them, speaking them and reading them, makes my heart happy. So what’s the problem? Why can’t I just remain at the level of words and take that to be the truth? Well, first of all, this blog post has nothing to do with Billy Idol. Well, not really...


If you look up the definition of “word” in the dictionary, you will see it defined as, “a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation that functions as a principal carrier of meaning. Words are usually separated by spaces in writing.”  According to this definition, words are:


Spoken sounds/written representation—they’re a representation/symbol of something that already exists. Note: an idol is a representation or symbol that is used as an object of worship.


Principal carriers of meaning—words do not create meaning, they're simply carriers of meaning.


Separated by spaces—the representation of meaning can be separated by space; words can stop and start; words can be "born" and they can "die".


In addition to defining “word” I was also curious to know how language began. What was the first word…the first spoken sound…the first carrier of meaning? According to my research, no one knows, but there are many speculations about the origins of spoken sounds, from the “Bow-wow” theory which states early words are imitations of animal sounds and bird calls; to the “Ding-dong” theory which suggests that all things have a vibration and somehow echo through words. No matter the theory, there is one commonality they all share…something was there before the word.


Words are symbols, and like all symbols they are not the truth. Words are unreliable and are always false. This applies to every word ever spoken or written in any and every language. From hieroglyphics to the words I’m presently typing. What I mean by that is, symbols always represent something else. Let me be clear; it is not the symbol that is false, it's the interpretation of the symbol, or meaning given to the symbol, that is false. For example, the word “orange” is a symbol, and it is false. Not wrong...just false (there is a difference). The meaning given to the word “orange” is not the real “orange” (whether it’s the fruit or the color). The word “Sun” is not the truth. It’s just a spoken sound…a representation…a symbol for a reality that is directly verifiable here in the present. The reality of “Sun” is here before the word. The reality of “Sun” is here without the word. I can very easily change the symbol from “Sun” to “Pin” or “Pie”. I can name the “Sun” whatever I want to name it. I can throw any symbol I want to throw at the reality…but the symbol or name does not change the reality. Neither does it limit, imprison or pin down the reality. The reality of "Sun" is not stuck or imprisoned in the word "sun". Just as the reality of  "sky", "ocean", "wind" and "blue" are not imprisoned or pinned down by the words. The same is true for you. You are not imprisoned by the words, "woman", "man", "person", "you", "tall", "sick", "fat", or _____________(your name here). These words, symbols and labels do not define or imprison who you really are. Just like the Sun, you cannot be pinned down.


For words to work, as a spoken language, listeners must be confident that the words they’re hearing are likely to be honest. Language requires a high level of honesty, trust and belief; especially when speaking about things that are not in the present moment.  Reality does not need honesty, trust and belief. Reality is always present. For example, when you feel the warmth of the sun on your face or the chill of the cold wind on your skin, this is just your direct experience and has nothing to do with trust or honesty. The sun isn't hot because it's honest and your skin doesn't feel cold because of trust or belief. It's just the reality of what's happening.  When your stomach growls, this is direct evidence of your current state of being and has nothing to do with trust, honesty or belief. You don’t need words or belief to inform you that you’re hungry. The truth of your state of being is there before the word. The word isn't even needed. Trust and belief is only necessary when you choose to believe what's false. Likewise, trust and belief is only necessary when you worship false idols. For instance, telling my children, "I love you" is a false statement, not wrong...just false, and because it is false, they have to call on trust and belief to fill the space between the symbol and the reality.  The truth of how I feel towards my children will never be captured in words. Never. The word “love” is just a symbol, a carrier of meaning, for the way I really feel. There's nothing wrong with the word, it just isn't true.  I remember my father’s mom (we called her Gamulla). She died when I was fairly young, but I do not remember her ever saying she loved me. I do remember feeling nothing but joy, warmth, and safety when I was with her. Words and belief were unnecessary when I was with Gamulla because love was my direct experience.


The problem with words is not the word. Words are innocent. The problem is with us. We’ve confused the carrier of meaning for meaning itself. We've confused what's false with what's true. We're trusting and believing in the idol instead of what the idol represents. We've confused the word “Sun” with the reality.  Reality was here before the words “Cheryl”, “body”, “God”, and “meaning”. Reality was here before the words “sight", "hearing", "taste", "touch", "smell", "space", and "love”.  Whatever was here before words and interpretation is here now and cannot be divided, partitioned and separated by the symbols and idols we make. In fact, symbols are made of it which means, they are not separate from it either! Meaning does not end at the end of a sentence. Meaning does not die when all is silent. There is no difference between the “raucous cacophony of 10,000 voices" and the “penetrating silence of outer space”. They’re just words that are pointing to what is already present. Meaning is already here. Words do not make new meaning or add more meaning. Creation is finished. Everything is already. You are not God. You are not creating anything! As sweet as that gig would be, that train has already left the station.


When I believe, trust and have faith in the truth of the words I hear and read, I am agreeing to be deceived. I am agreeing that everything is not here. Creation is not finished. I am creating something new. When I believe the thought stream of words in my head, I am agreeing to ignore reality in favor of the interpretation. When I believe what other people say to me...regardless of what it is, I am voluntarily ignoring truth in favor of a lie. I am willingly worshiping the false idol. This is akin to throwing away the direct experience of my grandmother's love for my interpretation of the words “I love you”. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to be deceived. Just realize what you're doing. Realize that you are choosing to believe what is false.


The good news is that I don’t have to do this. I don't have to believe what is false. I don't have to worship idols. I can find out what is there before the word, before the interpretation, before the symbol. It is possible to experience reality now, without the veil of what we've interpreted it to be. Any meaning you’re prescribing to the words in this blog post is false. It isn't wrong...it's just false. The meaning in these words is not adding more meaning to what is already here. The meaning in these words is not changing the meaning of what’s already here. Forget this blog post. Now look at the reality that’s all around you, right now and see that you have not created anything... it’s already here. 

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