Loving Speech is speaking from the Heart

“Words can travel thousands of miles. May my words create mutual understanding and love. May they be as beautiful as gems, as lovely as flowers.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

How often have we allowed ourselves to say a harsh word or two to a friend or a family member in a moment of anger or irritation? I have witnessed too many parents berating their children in public, sometimes over the slightest mistake made by the child or when the child was simply being playful like how most children would be. I have seen the spirit of these children diminish as seeds of fear, anger and frustration were watered before my eyes. Words have power. They can be used mindfully and responsibly to inspire motivate, create, heal, and offer guidance and support. They can also hurt, abuse, divide, attack, lie, gossip, judge, and diminish.

Buddha once said: ‘A person is born with an axe in his mouth. He whose speech is unwholesome cuts himself with an axe.’ The blade wounds us, for what we say of others is often true of ourselves. Our communication often reflects the seeds within us that have been nurtured or neglected.

Jerry Braza shared in his book “The Seeds of Love” :

Loving speech implies deep listening, taking the time to be still and quiet long enough to listen to what takes place in our minds and hearts so that we are better equipped to respond mindfully to others. We usually tend to speak from the head rather than from the heart. It is typical to be thinking and planning what to say from the head. At other times, the need to be right interferes with heart communication. Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?

When we focus on feelings and happiness over righteousness and superiority, we create a communication from the heart. These are the cornerstones for emotional intimacy and a means of developing a deeper connection with others.

“No man should talk one way with his lips and think another way in his heart” – The Talmud

How do we water the seed of loving speech?

Thich Nhat Hanh said: ‘Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope.’

Jerry Braza shared further: ‘In every moment, as you are about to communicate electronically or verbally, mindfully stop and realize the potential impact of the message you are about to send. Does it inspire confidence, joy, and hope? Or does it foster greater suffering in yourself and others? A friend who responds to your illness with ‘I send you healing light and energy’, versus ‘Why haven’t you taken better care of yourself?’ is watering the seeds of loving-kindness in you with loving speech.

Loving speech is best achieved by our awareness of how our words reduce suffering and inspire hope – or how they create more suffering. Knowing the power our words can have, it is important to consider the impact of what we say.

How will our next words water the seeds of joy, compassion, and equanimity?

How do my words fuel the seeds of anger, fear or jealousy?

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