2021-06-15-The Dharmic Life (2 of 5) Attention to Speech
2:33AM Jun 16, 2021
So the topic for this week is how to replicate at home in your daily life. Some of the benefits that come from living a kind of a religious life in, in the Dharma. So for example, living on a retreat, at a retreat or living in a monastery, some people will have a strong desire to really plunge more deeply into the practice. And sometimes because of family and work and stuff, they can't go off and maybe spend some serious amount of time kind of devoting themselves to the Dharma. And, well, that's a quite a, you know, a wonderful desire to deepen that way, and they support it wholeheartedly. And you can get a lot of the benefits in your daily life by practicing in ordinary life. And, and sometimes they're practicing in everyday life and not leaving to go someplace special. The practice has a kind of honesty to it or, and a richness, and a, you know, it's really addressing some of the issues of our life rather than avoiding them and thinking that by avoiding them off in the monastery, we can somehow make progress. And so, there are some simple ways that in principle, are not very complicated, I think. But in practice, you know, can be quite significant, profound. The and so yesterday, I talked about, you know, just bringing more attention to the body, living a more embodied life, going back to your body over and over again, throughout the day, whatever you're doing, and seeing and understanding what's happening in the body and the experience of the body learn from it. Today, I want to emphasize speech, how we talk. And that can be talking with our voice, it can be the communication we do, electronically, it can be how we talk to ourselves. So we talk, you know, self talk. And, and there's many things to say about Right Speech and speaking well. There's a tendency in Buddhism when we speak about speech and right speech, to look at it more on the ethical sides of it, and like I did it last Sunday, where we evaluate it, and in particular, about the impact or how it is we're doing it. But the other way is to practice mindfulness of speaking. So not so much looking at whether is it beneficial, what we're saying is true. What we're saying is what kind what we're saying, is a timely, what we're saying, all good criteria for knowing how we speak. But, but just to simply bring non judgmental awareness, mindfulness, to speech itself, and to our communication itself. And, and then as we do so, to become more aware of what, how we are as we speak, what's what's prompting us to speak? What are the emotions? What are the body sensations? What how's the body activated as we speak? Are we settled in our body? Are we outside everybody? leaning on our body, pulling back with our body? What's happening with our body as we speak? What emotions are there with this speaking, we have? To what degree is there impatience when we speak? To what degree is there a kind of forcefulness? Like, you have to get your word out and get the person stopped speaking so I could speak. There's all these there's a whole slew of things to become aware of, if we simply stop, or me not to stop, literally. But if you start becoming a tuned to what's happening with you as you speak. So just practice mindfulness of speaking. And one of the reasons why this is so powerful, is that speaking is a tip of the iceberg. It represents so much of our beliefs or assumptions, our desires, our aversions, our orientation, about life or belief about what's the purpose of life is and our sense of self that's been we've constructed and live with. There's so many things that are kind of like underneath that tip of that iceberg, that if we just stop and take a good look at it, we start seeing some of these underlying things. And we learned so much about ourselves.
And if you want to do like, for example, if you want to do one thing that can reveal so much is, before you speak, ask yourself, why are you speaking now? Why do you want to speak? And maybe don't settle for the first answer if I want to speak because they asked me directions. And so I want to give them directions. Maybe that's true. But that's maybe a little bit this, you know, might overlook the benefits of this exercise. And he said, you ask, yes, they asked me directions. And so I wanted to give it to them. But what deeply Why am I speaking, oh, I'm trying to prove them, I'm a good direction giver, or I want them to like me, or, or I don't want to be seen as being unfriendly. And so I want to try to make up for it, or, I mean, there's all kinds of things that can be there. And there often isn't just one reason why we speak. But there's multiple reasons why we're going to say what we're going to say. And it can be quite humbling to see all the motivations we have, as part of it. And so it's a window into what's under the water of the iceberg, you can see so much more of who we are. One of the interesting areas to look at with speech is through them. The idea that sometimes given that leaders sometimes lead in front end, sometimes lead from behind, leading in front is like they're leading the charge and pushing ahead and, and bringing everyone along or encouraging everyone to follow. leading from behind is more encouraging. It's more like letting other people take the lead and giving them kind of enough space to be who they are and go forward. And then to kind of offer like a shepherd offered support guidance from behind encouragement from behind that other people don't feel like they're in the wake of a leader, they don't feel like they're becoming you know, that they're only doing someone else's bidding kind of thing. So the same way. When you when you have self talk, when you talk to yourself, are you asserting yourself, when you are speaking? Are you to others? Are you asserting yourself? Or you're pushing ahead, or you have some agenda that you want to do? Are you kind of leading in the front? Are you kind of pushing yourself into the forefront? Or is there some appropriate way to lead from behind with yourself talk or with your target talk to other people were leading from behind means that we're not asserting ourselves. We're not trying to manipulate or change situation so much as the as the driven kind of way. But rather, we certainly can still be involved in changing what needs to be changed. But maybe there's more of a sense of cooperation, more sense of receptivity, more of sense that we're coming from a place of really more in touch with ourselves more connected to ourselves, then sometimes, if we are, if we're, you know, advancing in the front and leading the whole show, sometimes by being ahead of ourselves and trying to focus on what we want, and what we want to accomplish in our speak, we often kind of lose touch with ourselves. We're not so much in touch with the feelings, the emotions, the center, pneus, we're not resting on ourselves. And I've certainly talked sometimes where I felt like I was in front of myself, I wasn't not really inhabiting my body. And so when we lead from behind, then you know that we're at rest here, we're connected to ourselves, we know what's happening, we can track our feelings and emotions, we can recognize when we're speaking in unwholesome ways, much more easily than if we're leading in the front. We're not really following and tracking ourselves as carefully, because we're trying focusing on the, what we're trying to accomplish what we're trying to get across. So, so do become aware of what are we doing and we speak? Why do we speak? Why are we saying what we want to say?
And go through layers of that. Be aware of the mindfulness of the body as you speak, be aware of what's really happening in the bigger picture of yourself around what you're speaking or wanting to speak and say, and, and then where do you Where does it? Are you being? Are you being driven by your speech is this speech, kind of a Is your speech and your thoughts, your ideas ahead of you pulling everything else about you with it. So leading from, you know, leading from the front, or is your thinking, of coming along with something deeper motivation, deeper way of being in the world, and supporting and guiding and, and, and offering some leadership, but from behind route, so where you're connected and supportive for everything, that's who you are. So mindfulness of speaking, and that leads us to have the wherewithal to have more choice about what we say, to track what we're about to say, to notice what's wholesome, and what's unwholesome, what might be of negative connotation, consequences, what might be hurtful, what we want to say, versus saying things which are supportive and kind positive. And, and then be hanging out better able to choose not to say this, but wait and sit, wait, no speak until I have something better to say something more useful to say, or, or more useful way of saying it. And so there's a saying that, I think that ancient saying that speech is more like arrows than a sword, a shoot an arrow, you can't go pull it back. But you pull a sword out of a sheath, you can always put it back in the sheet. So be careful with our words, what comes out of our mouth. And, and by practicing mindfulness of speaking, we might have the end kind of leading from behind, in a sense. So we're seeing what's coming with seeing what words wants to be said, then we have much more wisdom. And if our words are going to be a sword that we're going to stab someone with, and we can see it, then you can put it back, put it back in its sheath. And, and see if you can say something more supportive or helpful or beneficial in the situation. So mindfulness of speaking, so of course, you don't have to do this. But if what you want is to live a dharmic life and have the Dharma much more fully in your life in a way that is as beneficial as going on retreats or going in a monastery. This is a way to do it, it's fun, it's a tremendous benefit, tremendous good can come out of this, do it and start slowly. Don't feel like you have to do all or nothing, you know, don't go from zero to 60, with mindfulness speech, speaking in three seconds, maybe you do it over days, where you slowly begin to stretch yourself into this world of speaking so that you're leading from behind. So you're tracking and watching and, and attentive to what's the whole world that's happening in yourself as you speak. And one of the great benefits of this is certainly you can speak into the world in a way that's more beneficial for others. But also, he began kind of shifting how we talk to ourselves. And maybe you'll find yourself with more often with wholesome self talk, instead of unwholesome self talk. So, in these next 24 hours, certainly, you might want to take time to practice with this and look at it then. One way to do this that supports this is to talk with friends about this thing of mindfulness speaking in less than what they've learned or tell them what you're learning or what you're experimenting with. And then do the experiments through the exercise and see what you're going to learn today by pausing more, and, and pausing more and thereby be more mindful. Thank you.