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.