The Magic Square

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Right Speech

To be right in a moral sense, our speech needs to be helpful, appropriate, and true, non-harming, not divisive, not abusive, and not negative gossip. Listening to our conscience, our intuition of rightness, can guide us in knowing what to say and what not to say. Beyond questions of morality, which concern intentions, we need to understand in advance the likely effects of our words apart from the intentions behind them.

Right Speech means conscious speech, being fully present when we speak and when we listen. While speaking we can practice the inner work of being aware of the sound of our voice, its emotional tone, the physical sensations in our throat, mouth, and chest, the meaning and effect of our words, and our facial expressions and gestures. This can be summed up as the practice of presence in body, in heart, and in mind, while speaking and while listening. Add to this an awareness of how our listeners are responding to what we are saying and we have the fullness of conscious speech.

Right Speech means speaking in a way that does not offend our conscience, speaking with excellence, not speaking from a state of identification with reactive emotions, making room for others by listening, and being fully present in speaking and in listening.

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