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March 16, 2020

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Guarding the Tongue: The Importance of Right Speech

Sometimes we speak clumsily and create internal knots in others. Then we say, “I was just telling the truth.” It may be the truth, but if our way of speaking causes unnecessary suffering, it is not Right Speech.

– Thich Nhat Hanh –

Guarding the Tongue: The Importance of Right Speech

“A few years ago, I went through an estrangement with a close friend because of the words I used to refer to her partner’s behavior. Although he did not hear what she and I said in our phone conversation, by “chance” he saw my e-mail that followed it. I meant no harm. I thought I was being supportive of my friend. But it was careless speech on my part, and it has cost me dearly. The painful repercussions of my experience awoke me to a simple fact. While I had been careful in watching the movement of breath in meditation, I had not been as attentive in watching the words coming out of my mouth. I’d neglected an essential aspect of spiritual practice–“guarding the tongue.”” More in this thoughtful essay. { read more }

Be The Change

Experiment with right speech in your conversations with others this week. What situations are you most challenged in? What do you notice coming up in yourself when you “guard the tongue”?

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