Oral traditions, mantras, recitations, sacred syllables, confessions, calls to prayer – voices are intrinsic to countless religious practices the world over. Even outside religious contexts, the voice is understood to be sacred in many of its everyday uses. Speaking our truths, making affirmations, telling stories, and singing lullabies are some of the ways (among many!) in which our voices bring into conversation our memories, emotions, values, personalities, histories, and cultures. Our voices serve as connectors between our pasts and futures, between our ancestors and our children, between our inner and outer selves, and between each other.
The deep connections that our voices allow us are incredibly important; it is not something that should be taken lightly, or taken for granted. The importance of an intimate conversation, the power of saying “I do,” the togetherness felt while singing in a choir – our voices are vehicles that travel between each of our inner selves. They can reach out with love, convey sadness – even reveal things about ourselves we may not know until we say them.
The voice is a creator of realities – it impacts how we feel, how others feel, and how we see ourselves and the world. It is a tool for learning and teaching, building up and tearing down, reaching out and cutting off. It is a vital to creating health in ourselves and peace in our communities, and should be seen and treated as such. What we vocalize and how we vocalize is of utmost importance – the choices we make have the potential to change lives and families and worlds.
Through careful practice, our voices can be used to grow our hearts and touch the hearts of others. When we recognize the sacred power of our songs, our words, our speech, and our silence, we may also recognize that there is no way that the voice may be used unproductively. Our voice is our truth. The sound is only ours, and its effects are only ours also.