Speak or act with a pure mind
And happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakable.
~ Buddha (Dhammapada)
In her Civil Conversation Project, Krista Tippet says, “We are starved for fresh language to approach each other. We need what Elizabeth Alexander calls ‘words that shimmer’ — words with power that convey real truth, which cannot be captured in mere fact.” Throughout the ages, wise people have recognized the importance of the word. The Buddha spoke of infusing our “wise speech,” with these key aspects:
- absence of false speech
- absence of divisive speech or slander
- absence of harsh or hateful speech
- absence of idle chatter
In Patanjali’s “social restraints” (Yamas, in Sanskrit), non-violence (ahimsa) and truth (satya) are two of the virtues we are asked to apply to our interactions with others.
As you move through your days, how can you bring your mindful self to shape the words that originate in thought, then manifest in action or speech?