Reflection on Loving Speech…
A reflection on practice by Gina Sharpe
The fourth precept is to refrain from false, harmful & reckless speech. Speech is a primary way in which we relate to & communicate with each other. It can enhance connection, or be the agent of disconnection. In expressing our intentions & aspirations, our words, mindfully spoken, can remind us of what we hold most dear.
This precept is perhaps the most difficult to undertake, as it is truly a moment to moment, constant practice as we navigate & speak into our myriad relationships. It takes presence to notice the impulse to speak & before uttering, to pause, ask whether it is kind, true, necessary, useful & timely. What would the world be like if everyone practiced in this way? Imagine friends, family, even politicians, all practicing together, then decide how you want to speak.
Why do we lie? Perhaps to aggrandize our sense of self-importance, or to avoid the consequences of our actions. Of course, it simply overlays untrustworthiness on a difficult truth. Yet, honest speech without compassion can have the seductive power of self-righteousness & be cruel. We see how subtle & nuanced this practice is.
Implicit in refraining from speech that is untrue, harsh, useless or judgmental, is our ability to see intention. We can pause & consider before we speak, uttering what is based on loving kindness, truth, helpfulness & timeliness. Imagine how this will save energy for other endeavors!
It takes discipline, kindness & mindfulness.
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