"Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech, and the inability to listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering."
Mindful speech and listening practice provides an excellent opportunity to cultivate more skillfulness and self-awareness related to interpersonal communication.
Anchor your attention to your present moment experience. Attend to what is currently happening in your body, heart, mind, speech, and actions. At the same time try your best to be aware externally — the environment, and of others. It is easy to become distracted by patterns of indifference, reactivity, thoughts, emotions, judgments, beliefs, etc.
Intentions shape our life. Speak and listen with kindness and compassion. Kindness fosters a safe and supportive environment. Compassion recognizes that sometimes, uneasiness or difficulty may be present within oneself and others — and is motivated by intention to restore well-being. Ultimately, our kind and compassionate intentions are rooted in goodwill instead of ill-will, healing instead of harmfulness, connection instead of divisiveness, and generosity instead of self-centeredness.
We bring awareness to speech and listening to grow our wisdom and understanding. Wisdom, along with compassion, empowers us to recognize what is wholesome and respond in beneficial ways. Mindful speaking and listening are above all, anchored in goodwill. Additionally, they are intentional, sincere, appropriate, helpful, non-harmful, non-divisive, and in service of clarity and truth.
Our capacity to listen with presence, compassion, and wisdom — to ourselves, others, and the world around us — is miraculous . When we listen deeply, with curiosity, and with an open heart and mind, we become more awake in life. Also, when we listen deeply, we hear beyond the noise of our personal biases, identifications, and other forms of self- preoccupation that hinder our ability to listen fully.
Our words are reflections of our hearts and minds. Mindful speech helps us express ourselves with greater sincerity and authenticity. We invite our words to be intentional rather than reactive. Because words can be healing or harmful, it is worth paying attention to the intentions behind our words.
Sometimes a mindful pause and noble interpersonal silence is more appropriate than speaking. Pausing can provide an inclusive space for reflection and deeper insight. Noble silence allows for deeper, sometimes quieter truths to emerge. Silence gives space for integration. Silence also allows us to witness nonverbal expressions of the body, heart, and mind.
Words express, they do not define. They bring an expression to the present moment experience. When we hold words lightly, we receive or offer them just enough to sustain wise and compassionate presence. At the same time, we let go just enough to allow for integration, growth, and new possibilities. Finding the right words does not always come easily, and do not reflect the speaker’s deeper intentions. Holding words lightly allows for an open-hearted grace and room for growth.
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