Socrates, the wise philosopher, said that before speaking one should always ask oneself these three powerful questions: “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” As reflected in Socrates’ wisdom, we need to always remember that words are the most powerful tool that the Universe has given us. People hurt us or heal us with words. Negative words are harmful for both the giver and receiver. Positive words are healing for one and all.
As such our environment both inside and outside creates the ground from where most of us interact in this world. We can be positive or negative in our thoughts and words only on the basis of our attitude and habitual patterns. We are what our subconscious programming is, our habitual patterns of both thoughts and emotions. Don’t think thoughts are just random pieces of information, thoughts are powerful energy; they are an invitation. And it is not only what we think, positive or negative, that affects our world, inside and outside, but let us never forget the power of our speech, the spoken thoughts, manifest vibrations that can create pleasant or unpleasant situations.
One the most important things that we all need to remember is most of us, due to our natural tendency to talk and talk to prove our existence and also our place in the family or society, take words for granted or very casually. From early childhood, thus our brains are trained to not only think randomly (incoherently) but also talk mostly unconsciously and without a purpose. As a result we grow up talking and talking all the time without realizing its deep-seated significance of the karmic consequence. As such, much of our karma created daily is through our words. Isn’t it true that we often speak, unconsciously, words which are not true, and often unkind, and, of course, unnecessary. Maybe this is why the wise philosopher of all times is drawing our attention to it!! He wants us all to be watchful of our thoughts and emotions and our expressions in spoken words, for they create lot of bad karma that we all are made to suffer. When we suffer, then we ask: “What wrong did I ever do to deserve so-called negative karmic consequences?”
Many of us are used to making unwanted comments or throwing out uncalled for judgments about others. This is a pattern of opinioning. This also develops into less and less patience on our part and our willingness to give a patient hearing to others. Listening is a big art. Those who are good leaders have a keen ability to listen attentively. It is only when we listen to the other with attention we learn so much more and that we start to respect the opinion of others, which is a great leadership quality. All of it is an art of living that helps us to garner our innate divine qualities to manifest in our daily chores of life, giving us an edge over others who start to look up to us as role model.
Therefore it is always a good practice to refrain from judgmental comments. Our opinion does not always have value. Our words are not always needed. It is also equally important not to participate in gossip or negative news or conversations. These do not add value to our life, but rather drain our good energies. Choose what to say, how to say it, how much to say, and what to listen to and what to withdraw from.
When we tell our pet dog “you are a good boy,” instantly he starts to move his tail and look at us with such joy in his eyes! Tell the same dog, “you are a bad boy,” and he starts to look at us with a drooping face! That is why a pause before we speak is such an important step in mindful awareness.
The only ritual we need to do religiously is to be pleasant in our words. All unpleasantness follows the unpleasant exchange of words. By filtering our words we will save a lot of karma and eventual pain and suffering. Avoid words of complaining. Even if things are not up to our expectations, let’s try to create positive vibrations with our presence and good words. What is the use of complaining? We are here to add positive vibrations, not to intensify the existing negative situations of life. Be the positive force; stand firm with conviction that love alone is the invincible power on earth. Be the harbinger of love and peace by committing to do these mindful practices everyday.
Mindful Practices for Putting the Three Filters into Action
1. Think about the power of language and the way you personally use it to bless and to harm. Take the vow to bless all and hurt none! Resolve to pause before speaking and mindfully choose your words, asking yourself, “Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?”
2. Cultivate greater awareness of how you use words. Become attentive to the quality of your speaking. What does it reveal about who you are being in this moment? What does it contribute to others? Where is this conversation coming from, where is it leading, does it carry positive or negative energy?
3. If you find yourself engaged in a negative conversation, remember your commitment to bless rather than harm. If necessary, openly admit you feel uncomfortable with being so negative, and explore with the other person how you both can redirect the conversation.
4. If you find yourself in an angry, accusatory exchange, simply admit that this is not constructive for anyone and take a break. Search your soul for the capacity to mindfully listen and understand. Don’t come back to it until you can be compassionate and constructive, until you can bless the other person with what you have to say and truly hear their side of the issue.