Better than a thousand meaningless statements
Is one meaningful word
Which, having been heard,
– Dhammapada 100 (translated by Gil Fronsdal)
We come now to perhaps the biggest topic of all: how to make our talk more wholesome. After sleep, talking is probably what most of us do for more hours in a day than anything else. Therefore, it’s an activity of interest if we intend to make our inner and outer world more beautiful.
I’d like to start this topic with a reflection on how pervasive verbal action is. If you include non-verbal communication, email, talking on the phone and whatever other type of communication you use, it covers a lot of ground. What would it be like if you always knew what your intention was when you spoke? It would be a sort of ongoing meditation, I think.
If you start by really listening to all of your talk for even one day, you might be amazed at what you hear. Give it a go. How much of your talk is unnecessary? Kind and supportive? Gentle or harsh? Connected to and of interest to the listener(s)? How does it affect those who hear it? What can you discover about yourself through listening to your speech?