One of my rituals for each new year is to choose a word to influence me for the year. My word for 2011 is EXPERIMENT. To support my EXPERIMENTAL focus, I commit to post the results of a new experiment each Sunday of this year.
Earlier this year, I experimented with not offering my opinion unless I was specifically asked. This week, I carried that experiment a bit further.
Have you ever been asked for your opinion/truth – and after offering it, wished you hadn’t? Sometimes we humans don’t really want truth. Sometimes we want someone to just agree with us or worse – lie to us.
So this week, before I spoke my opinion/truth, I ran what I was going to say through a filter one of my teachers gave me: “First, what’s your intention with the words you’re about to use? Second, is what you’re about to say True AND Helpful?” Whew.
The Buddhists call this Mindful Speech. In that context, it’s part of the Noble Eightfold Path to ending suffering. In a recent podcast, Buddhist sensei, Tara Brach describes the process of Mindful Speech in a way even I can understand.
I don’t know about you, but the longer I live, the more I realize that just because I understand How To Do something doesn’t mean it’s easy for me to do. I found myself being quiet – A LOT. I also found myself saying, “hmmmmm” often.
Ya know what else I discovered? I listened better – because I wasn’t planning what I was about to say. I also felt less responsible for others’ actions and reactions – because, well those are things for which I’m not responsible.
How does Mindful Speech work in Your Life?