One of the first serious spiritual practices I learned in my early twenties was to watch what I was talking about. It is unfortunate but not surprising that most people have no idea what they are saying, to whom, and the consequences of that on themselves and others. If we want to be happy; don’t gossip, don’t spread hate, don’t talk about other people, don’t spread fear, don’t complain, don’t relay stories which are detrimental to the well-being of those around us. That will cut out the vast majority of most people’s conversations. There is a time for honest, well-intentioned directness but it is not found in common conversation and it is a learned skill. Be a bringer of peace and healing. It’s a discipline, for sure, but one that will transform our lives.
As spiritual students, we need to be careful that the influence we have on other people in our conversations is for good only. We also need to be careful about what we allow into our own thoughts. We become conscious of what we do and say, and of what we see and hear. We do not engage in idle or intentional gossip which undermines someone else’s integrity or which spreads the seeds of fear by talking unthinkingly about illness, disasters, and all the other fears that run rampant in the world. We may talk lightly but never carelessly and we constantly keep at bay the flow of common, ignorant thought which runs its damaging course through the pathways of ordinary human conversation. Whenever there is an opportunity, our conversation seeks to validate, in some humble way, the beauty and love which constantly upholds us all.
It is helpful to remember that true love is communicated nonverbally. It is set by our intention. If our intention is not at a level that is gracious, compassionate, and loving then no amount of sweet talk will ever convince the recipient of our goodwill. On the other hand, if our inner-being radiates peace and unselfish care then our presence will have a reassuring, uplifting, and healing effect, no matter what we say or omit to say. The recipient of our words will have a tendency to respect and appreciate us and will gravitate towards us.
Article was originally written in 2010 (as part of The Love of Being Loving) but this is the first time it has been published on my website.