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Diane Dreher's Tao Leadership Blog

Right Speech

The legendary peace rose

The Tao Te Ching tell us:

 

"Those who know do not speak.

Those who speak do not know."

 

How much of the speech we hear is truly meaningful today? The media is filled with invasive noise—misleading advertisements and corporate PR propaganda. Too much of what passes for news is celebrity gossip, one political crisis after another, and a president's emotional late night tweets.

 

Beneath all the surface noise, where can we find the truth?

 

For centuries, Buddhists have taught "Right Speech"—mindful, compassionate communication.

Wise Buddhist masters recommend pausing before speaking, asking ourselves:

 

Is it true?

Is it kind?

Is it necessary?

 

If more of us asked these questions, we would have less dishonesty, less hurtful conflict, less noise. Practicing Right Speech could create greater understanding, compassion, and peace within and around us.

 

Take a moment now to focus on Right Speech.

 

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and slowly release it. As you breathe slowly and deeply, feel your body relax with each breath.

 

Now think of a recent interaction with someone you know. Ask yourself if your words were true, kind, and necessary.

If so, breathe in the warm glow of that memory.

If not, send compassion to yourself and the other person with this Loving Kindness meditation:

 

  • May I be filled with loving kindness. May I be well. May I be free from suffering. May I be peaceful. May I be happy.
  • May you be filled with loving kindness. May you be well. May you be free from suffering. May you be peaceful. May you be happy.

Breathe in loving kindness and breathe out peace.

 

And next time, before you speak, remember to ask yourself:

Is it true?

Is it kind?

Is it necessary?

 

Practicing Right Speech will help heal the discord on this planet, one mindful interaction at a time.

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