This week’s post is written by Rebecca Eldridge, a teacher at the CFM.
6 Points of Mindful Speech
Chögyam Trungpa writes of 6 Points of Mindful Speech. I am working with these points as a practice (my comments and wonderings are below each point).
1. Precision: Enunciate your words clearly.
Can I hear the beginning and end of the words that I speak? Do I trail off at the end of sentences? Do I project? Can I remember that when others have to strain to hear me, frustration and confusion can arise?
2. Simplicity: Choose your words well.
Do I need as many words as I’m using? Do I ramble? If so, is the rambling because of insecurity, cluttered thinking, a desire to monopolize the conversation, or something else?
3. Pace: Speak slowly, without speed or aggression.
Do I speak as though I’m handing words to the listener, or as though I’m tossing words at the listener? When I “accost” people with fast talk (even though this may not be intentional), it increases anxiety and frustration.
4. Silence: Regard silence as an important part of speech.
Do I honor the silence between words? the silence between taking turns with another person when talking? When I don’t honor the silent spaces, I butt in, run my words together, and start thinking of what I’m going to say next instead of letting my words be informed by a bit of space. When I talk over top of silence, is it because I’m uncomfortable when things are quiet, that I think that my words are more important than those of the other person, or for some other reason?
5. Others: Listen to the words, texture and quality of others’ speech.
Beyond listening to what another person is saying (the words), can I listen to how they speak? Hearing only the words of another person is like reading the lyrics of a song without hearing the accompanying music. I can glean a lot by listening also to pitch, rhythm, speed, and so on. I may find that they are saying something different from, or in addition to, what their words convey.
6. Self: Focus mindfulness on your speech.
When I bring awareness to exactly what I speak, as well as how I speak it, I can clarify instead of confuse, uplift instead of frustrate, and unify instead of divide.
Do you find any of the 6 points challenging in your day-to-day communications?