The Power of Silence
When a man enters upon the path of aspiration: when he is Theosophist, and his all-dominating problem has become, How to make himself valuable to humanity: certain energies, subtle and spiritual, the reaction to his aspirations, seep down from his Higher Ego daily and hourly into his personal mind; the stronger and more constant the aspiration, the greater, naturally, will this seepage be. These energies he has to learn to use in the best and most economic way for the betterment of the stuff of humanity.
Now that part of the personal self which we may call the human elemental is apt to find in this force from above something alien to itself, to be distrusted and feared, antipathetic; likely to impose conquest and discipline on it; and so seeks to unload itself, as quickly as may be, of the burden of it. The cheapest and easiest way to do so is through talk. Idle chatter; talk about oneself; the recounting of one's remarks and exploits; personalities, and then more personalities; jabber; detraction and unkindly criticism of others; the slighting "clever" remarks that damn the absentee of whom they are spoken, and much worse the one that speaks them. Talk for talk's sake; multiplication of words.
This accounts for a tendency to follow a meeting, in which the purpose has been serious and high and the normal seepage consequently augmented, with floods of frivolous, meaningless, personal talk. This tendency, when given way to, can be very harmful indeed; it is utter waste of life at the worst. "Words are things," said William Q. Judge; living things, that carry out with them something of the vitality of the speaker; and he adds, "let us use with care those living messengers called words."
In the Mystery-School of Pythagoras, it is said that the disciples, as part of their training, had to pass seven years in speechlessness: a discipline, one can well understand, that would make most modern Occidentals insane. But the Theosophist who wants to be of value to humanity should school himself with at least some little part of it. Our meetings are excursions into the Impersonal: and nothing but impersonality is appropriate at them or after them. A good rule is to avoid using the personal pronouns; especially the word "I" should never be heard in a lodge-room; where pronouns cannot be dispensed with, they should be the impersonal ones only: "one," "you" (not you), "we," "they"; or in Welsh, where possible, the impersonal forms of the verb. Talk only about ideas, never about people: give the message of Theosophy; use the tongue only to convey kindliness and to illumine thought and life; bring nothing idle or personal into the lodge premises; carry away with you the atmosphere of the meeting. In that way the power that comes to us from within will be used for the benefit of humanity, and not dissipated and wasted away. That power comes especially when members are gathered together for Theosophical purposes; each one then shares in the strength drawn in by the aspirations of all; and this strength can be so stored and made use of as to fortify our lives through all the following week. But when the chatter begins, the force goes.