“Gossip is the Devil’s radio”–Beatle, George Harrison
We have all indulged in idle talk about the goings on of other people. We may inflate the virtues of someone we love or admire, or more commonly, participate in passing along rumors about famous celebrities or people we dislike. To do so is so ubiquitous, we rarely recognize that we do it.
When we think of the typical gossipers, we picture political commentators, politicians, moralistic busy-bodies, celebrity hangers-on, and gossip writers. The truth is, that we gossip. Our insecurities manifest by what we say about other people. We participate in pro-active gossip in the belief that we won’t be gossiped about. In our weakest moments, we point out other people’s quirks, virtues, and flaws in order to make us feel good about ourselves. We find gossip at each social class, ethnicity, political leanings–everywhere in society.
I posit that we participate in gossip because of our restless “monkey minds”. A monkey mind rarely stops chattering. It craves constant stimulation. It seeks to be occupied with sensation, passing interests, and intrigue. The monkey mind is the opposite of calm awareness and earnestness. The monkey mind loves to communicate about the actions about oneself and others–whether pleasantly, or more commonly, viciously.
The monkey mind often concerns itself with other people’s affairs. It finds endless gratification by listening to or reading the works of celebrity and political commentators. The monkey mind finds vicarious enjoyment when listening to news reports about divorces, criminal behavior, and tragedy. Such a state of mind anxiously seeks out information that validates our worship of authority figures and denigration of their adversaries. This is a manifestation of our levels of externalization. Our addiction to sensational distraction feeds the monkey mind.
We have been conditioned by social institutions and personal habit to engage in agitated, restless thought and speech. Such superficial activity and distraction is carried out in pursuit of personal validation and self-defense. This is another way of defining resistance. When we resist, we prevent understanding.
Speculation about other people’s actions and the propagation of these notions are symptoms of restless thinking or monkey mind. Regardless of how clever such speculation seems, understanding and joy fall victim to the products of the monkey mind.
We must remember that this activity of the monkey mind, gossip, is a very dangerous act. We need to practice more awareness of those who gossip and the underlying message they wish to relay to us. The same caution is important when we talk about others.
Gossip is ubiquitous. We encounter and engage in it in one form or another each day of our lives. How we react to it and whether or not we help propagate it, says a lot about our level of awareness. How we interface with gossip and rumor shows where our hearts lie.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the Mexican author of Toltec spirituality and neoshaminism, Don Miguel Ruiz. “Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”