As mentioned in the chapter above,the components of the Eightfold Path are divided among the three forms of training. The training in Wisdom, Ethics and Mediation. Ethics consist of correct speech, correct action, and correct livelihood.
In part two we will look at speech. Here's some quotes that sum up how we should use speech. I am sure you can come up with many more.
Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not be. James 3:10 (KJV)
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29 (KJV)
“I’ve learnt that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou
'Speak only if it improves upon the silence' – Mahatma Gandhi
'Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another' - Napoleon Hill
In speaking, it is best to be clear and say just enough to convey the meaning - Confucius
“You are master of what you say until you utter it, once you deliver it, you are its captive -Ali Ibn Abi Talib A.S
Are you aware of you say? Strange question, as most of us 'hear' what we say. Maybe my question should be 'do you think before you speak'?
The quotes above gives us an indication of just how powerful the tongue can be. In caring for our Mind, Body and Soul what is said or not said revolves around the Eight Path Wheel as Right Speech and falls under Ethics training which includes, not lying, gossiping, not using abusive speech but using your words to teach and to be kind.
The aim of this chapter is to alert you to what, how and to whom you speak. It will remind you to be mindful whilst communicating verbally and of your responsibilities to yourself to care for your Mind, Body and Soul.
In my book SELF=YOU (Chapter ten) Tongue- What damage have you caused? I outline the reasons we speak to others and its effects. You will find that depending on your relationship with that person and where you 'class' them in your hierarchy of friend or foul, liked, disliked, tolerated, respected or not, you will speak to that person with a certain level of decorum, respect or distaste! That could be to your partner, child or children, other family members, friends, work colleagues and or other professionals. You may even use a different language or dialect, perhaps to emphasise a point. Another consideration in speaking to someone, is the reason you are speaking to that person, this could be day to day chatter, to be sociable, in response to a question, to gossip, scold, argue or to discuss an important issue. (My list above is by no means exhausted). Above, we have outlined 'who' you speak to, 'how' you may feel about them and the reason you may be speaking to that person. Let's incorporate my three elements Life, Situation and Yourself regarding your speech.
What do you speak over your life? I say over your life, because the spoken word has more power than just being heard or acknowledged. With that in mind, saying anything regarding your life should have been thought-out. I understand that this not the case for many of us, as people can be heard degrading their lives by saying 'Life is xxxt', 'life is hard', 'life is a struggle', instead of proclaiming that 'life could and will be better', 'life has its ups and downs, I just get on with it'. As you have learnt, what you say and think about, you bring about. The more you say something the more you invite it. When asked 'how are you'? What do you say? Is it something positive or negative. Consider your life, does it mirror what you often say about your life? Do you believe, life happened and you are just voicing what occurred? Or could it be that you voice something that happened and continue to voice it until 'it' became the norm? Perhaps you have a name for your life e.g 'I'm a divorcee' or 'I'm a xxxxxx victim' 'I'm a business woman/man' OK what I am getting at is, what you say about your life, is often the life you live! I knew someone who for years, would say that 'I am just trying to get by' She would often complain that had tried this or tried that to get by. Getting by, was what this person did, she only began to excel, when she changed her mindset and words. We often live by the title we have given our life. Consider one of the chapters in your life entitled 'I'm a divorcee'! What is running though your mind right now, about a person who calms and voices that title? We see in the chapter above, a life view of..life is a cycle, If this happens, that will follow. So when Harry was late for work, he immediately felt he would be reprimanded, which could lead to him being sacked. With that said, what do you speak over your life? Let me know email@example.com Perhaps, you may need to give your life a new title. If you have given your life a title that does not serve your Mind Body and Soul, it is time to start a new chapter!
How you view or voice prognostications of your life will have a bearing on how you deal with situations. Let's test this theory, consider how a person who states, life is xxxt! will view any stressful situation they find themselves in? …...... No need for me to give you a scenario, because i'm sure you can imagine one for yourself. I propose that that person will just use the situation as 'proof' that life is 'xxxt'.The more they believe life is xxxt the more they will encounter stressful events. Unless this person changes their mindset or how they view or voice, what they believe their life to be, life may continue to prove to them that life is xxxt!
Now, as we are all human, I understand that, not so nice thoughts may run through our minds when stressed. In my book 'SELF=YOU' (Self=You, Angela Scott, (2017),Amazon,chapter 7 Patience) I recall my thoughts, whilst pacing the floor as my daughter didn't answer her phone or decided not to return home for three days!
For me, I acknowledge that an incident has occurred and then my mind immediately goes to how I can rectify the situation. For many, some situations require conducting a military operation to sort it out. There are other situations that requires us to do nothing, as we come to the realisation that nothing can be done, but wait. While we wait, however we have to ensure that we do not start the bad scenario routine again. I have a mindset, that if things don't work out how I want them to, (namely, the situation resolving itself quickly) it will work out in my favour eventually. What do you say to yourself in situations like this? Do you say to yourself 'It was my fault' 'I never get things right' or do you start beating yourself up with 'I should haves'? Degrading or blaming yourself will never get you the outcome you want, it will only get you more situations that will have you blaming or degrading yourself. Anything that makes you feel less than is not serving you, plus it is not the act of caring for your Mind, Body or Soul.
For me, the most powerful spell you can utter is I AM! In chapter five (Self love) of my book SELF=YOU I write; In the quest of loving yourself, one 'is to be aware of how you speak about yourself. Anything said after ‘I AM’ must be positive, even if you are feeling unwell, you should say, when asked 'how are you feeling'? your answer should be ‘I am hoping to feel better soon’ (or words to that effect) This will take some doing, it will take practice of being aware of how you speak, think and feel about yourself. What you say will be a minute by minute task. I can tell you it is certainly worth it. You will feel better about yourself, people around you will instinctively know how you wish to be treated. […] It is very liberating. I say this after being put down, putting myself down, treating myself badly, allowing others to treat me badly and far too weak to do anything about it.' (SELF=YOU, Angela Scott, (2007), Self=You, Amazon Chapter 5 - Self love)
The reason I AM is so powerful is because, you become or remain the words uttered after it. (If said often enough). In caring for your Mind, Body and Soul we are to be mindful of our every interaction with others and ourselves. One of the quotes given above is from the bible 'Ephesians 4:29', my interpretation is: Do not say anything dishonourable, let your speech be for good, to improve and honour the hearer. This of course includes what we say to ourselves.The Buddhist way of life, considers silence. Although it is commonly associated with monasticism. We are aware of non-verbal communication, such as body language etc...Not to disregard those important aspects of discourse, but for the purpose of this chapter we will look at staying silent.
'Thinking before you speak, is one thing, not speaking out is another. Staying quiet while a ‘friend’ tears down another, is actually agreeing with what is being said. Staying silent while others gossip about another, is agreeing to what is being said. Remaining silent about any type of abuse is also agreeing to the abuse you have witnessed. No one is saying that speaking up in these cases will be easy, but one can find a way to 'whistleblow', either in person or anonymously, doing this will go some way to stop the disrespect that you have witnessed.
'Growing up, there was a saying, ‘sending someone to Coventry’ Its meaning according to Wikipedia is an English idiom meaning to deliberately ostracise someone. Typically, this is done by not talking to them, avoiding someone's company, and generally pretending that they no longer exist. Victims are treated as though they are completely invisible and inaudible.' (SELF=YOU,Angela Scott (2017),SELF=YOU, Amazon, Chp10.)
Sending someone to Coventry is bullying, there is no two ways about it. Ostracising someone is a childish way of dealing with your inner feelings, assumptions or thoughts about that person. If you had a horrid boss, you would still need to speak to that person, whether you liked it or not. Why is it different when it is someone you think less of?' (SELF=YOU,Angela Scott (2017),SELF=YOU, Amazon, Chp10) As mentioned above, depending on your relationship with that person and where you 'class' them in your hierarchy of friend or foul, liked, disliked, tolerated, respected or not, you will interact with that person using a certain level of decorum, respect or distaste! Being so upset with another, that you refuse to speak to them although they are in your presence and ostracising that person, is not the act of caring for yourself. In fact you are causing hormones to deploy in your body, your blood pressure to rise and you are also, evoking feelings of dislike, distrust or worst to boil up in your body. Non of which is pleasing to your Soul. As your intention is to make the other person feel 'less than' you can be sure someone will make you feel the same way....If this is you, hope that someone is not a loved one!
If you respected everyone you came into contact with, this [chapter] would never have had to be written. We may not like another person’s behaviour or maybe what they stand for, but when in [any type of ] interaction with them, we MUST respect that person.
Heated discussions or arguments between people who respect each other, should not be loud and are to remain on topic. Respect goes a long way to save the damage a muscular organ can cause'. (SELF=YOU,Angela Scott (2017),SELF=YOU, Amazon, Chp10)
This part of the Mind, Body, and Soul Care Chapter looked at speech, as it is in the Ethics training division of the Eight Wheel Path. Buddhist teachings state that one should refrain from lying, gossiping not using abusive speech but use your words to teach and to be kind. In Ephesians 4:29 of the bible, the same message is given. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
To incorporate my three elements, Life, Situation and Yourself. I asked, what do you speak over your life and what title you give your life? I suggested that if you felt life was not so good, any unwanted situation you found yourself in, you may use it as proof that 'life is not so good'. Regarding Yourself using the most powerful spell 'I AM' ensures that you become or remain the words uttered after it. (if used often enough). It is imperative that we become aware of what we allow to come out of our mouths in regards to speech, in-order to ensure that we do not find ourselves in a vicious circle, of not so nice situations repeating itself as we call them into our lives every-time we recall them to others. Non-verbal communication was not forgotten but for the purpose of this chapter, we considered silence and staying silence when one should of spoken up or spoken out. Should you have an issue with whistle blowing, bear in mind that not stopping or disclosing any abuse witnessed makes you a co-perpetrator! Silence as a way to bully or ostracise another ensures the same behaviour turning up in your life from someone you actually care about. To care for your Mind, Body and Soul, one has to be aware what we say to others and ourselves. Being kind in every interaction will ensure you are respectful to others and yourself.
If you have enjoyed my blog and would like to contribute to its continued help and guidance to others, please donate. All donations gratefully received and appreciated.
Check Out My New Book
SIGN UP FOR AN EMAIL, LETTING YOU KNOW WHEN THE NEXT BLOG IS OUT.