Wise/Right Speech

At the beginning of this calendar year,  my partner shared with me that one of his New Year intentions was to practice Wise/Right Speech. I am continuously amazed at his perception of the world and ideas such as this one.  I quickly agreed to also explore Wise/Right speech over this year and it has been a wonderful practice in awareness so far.

What is Right/Wise speech?  It is part of the Eight-fold Path, which is the Buddhist practice of living in such a way as to end suffering and achieve enlightenment.  Do I believe that this is the way for me?  I don’t know. (Stay tuned for a future blog in which I will share my thoughts on secular mindfulness vs. Buddhist meditation).  The purpose of Wise/Right Speech is to become aware and thoughtful in how we communicate with others and with ourselves.  The components include: being truthful/avoid lying, use kind speech/avoid abusive speech, don’t gossip/avoid idle chatter.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Eightfold_Path#Right_speech).

Over the last few months, I have definitely become more aware of how I speak of others and the choice of words I use to communicate with others.  I think I have gossiped less and notice some negative feelings within me when I do speak of someone else, especially in an unkind way.  I have found myself pausing before I share some arbitrary event with my partner and recognize that I just want to create some sense of camaraderie.  There are other ways to connect.  This doesn’t happen all the time, of course.  I also notice more quickly when I am short or rude in my speech and am able to more quickly connect what’s happening within me with how I communicate.

I am starting to notice more often how my mind communicates with me: the anxiety stories, the harsh critic, the loving self, etc.  In the moments when I know it is just my mind doing its thing, I feel some more freedom from attaching to what my mind has chosen to ruminate over.

I read the following acronym somewhere, and I appreciate it.  I don’t know who the author is, so I apologize for not citing the source.

Before you speak, text, type…THINK:

Truthful (Is what I am communicating truthful?)

Helpful (Is what I’m communicating helpful?)

Important (Is what I’m communicating important?)

Necessary (Is it necessary?)

Kind (Are my words kind?)


Thank you for reading.



About ogrocks

My current focus is to become 100% a human being rather than a human doing. I was introduced to mindfulness many years ago and began an active practice in 2007. The ebb and flow of my commitment has been curious and I am exploring...

Posted on April 22, 2014, in Mindfulness. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I love this, thank you for posting. It’s so difficult sometimes to be mindful of speech, especially when we are emotional. If I say things that I didn’t “THINK” about, I often have a semi-conscious notion that I will be using words of reparation later… I learned a new acronym (for me) that can also be helpful: HALT.


    If I feel any of those, it’s probably best to refrain from engaging in a situation/conversation until I have gotten back on track, so to speak. It’s all a work in progress. ;}

  2. Thanks for the comment!
    HALT is one of my faves. 😉

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