Right Speech, or Wise Speech, is a Buddhist precept, one of “The Five Gifts”. When we think of right, it may be within the duality of right and wrong, the moral opposition. That construct is built from within cultural, ethnic, national, and other belief systems and self-identity. If defined in that way, right for me, as a Chinese-Canadian cis-woman living in metro Vancouver (on the unceded lands of the Coast Salish) may not be right for me had I stayed in my birthplace of Singapore, where the majority remains ethnic Chinese. My experiences, history, and identity would be quite different.
Politically correct, for example, is also not Right Speech either. Politically Correct so often covers up underlying unresolved anger and resentment, rather than acceptance. What about Freedom of Speech? The unalienable right we have in many countries that allows for all speech, even if it’s abhorrent to our sensibilities?
In Buddhism, Right Speech is “abstinence from false speech, abstinence from malicious speech, abstinence from harsh speech, and abstinence from idle chatter.” For me that is to speak from heart, an open spiritual heart. This means we first acknowledge past woundings, whether they occurred from this live’s interactions or the ones we have inherited from our ancestral lines. Of course we could have been that ancestor!
Right Speech is foundational to liberation. In more relatable terms, this is inner peace, happiness, and freedom from past, present, and future suffering. It is compassionate communication, connecting from the bigger self.
How to Speak From Heart
Take a Pause
When we are present, we are aware of how we feel and where that may arise from.
Being embodied is a foreign experience for many people. We may have moved outside of the physical self due to a past trauma or an ambivalence about ensouled on earth. Sometimes we can take on what others are feeling. It’s not even our own. It’s hardly surprising that emotions can be uncomfortable and terrifying for many people.
Take a pause, allow the emotions to wash away. Let them go. Watch them go. See them float away.
Emotions stay for seconds, not minutes, and certainly not hours and lifetimes, if we allow them to move through us. Emotions – energy in motion – are our GPS. They show us where we are and how to navigate through situations and life. They tell us, for example, that we feel endangered or breached (anger), even if we may not realize it intellectually. Our gut responses are our alerters, calling us to pay attention. So we can make a conscious choice for our next step.
Ask if It’s From Fear Or Love
Taking a pause before we launch into our response is helpful. Even so sometimes we have deep emotional woundings and can still react from those places, those hurt places. Place your hand over your heart, and ask if what you wish to say is from fear or from love. Notice how your body responds. Maybe it’s a strong knowing or a part of your body sends a signal. Perhaps your heart feels liked a tightly-closed fist or it feels like a freed bird. Trust yourself. The more you practice this, the easier it becomes to feel and honour the truth and speak from heart.
Release the Patterns & Scripts
While there are likely some people you can more easily put these tips into play with, others you may find challenging, much more challenging. Like family. Or a fiercely entrenched relationship. The question is – do you want to be right or to be happy? What is right anyway? Why do you feel the need to be right? Where in your life – past and present – have you felt diminished, unheard, misunderstood, or unbelonging? Does being right help you feel safe or seen, or that you matter?
Take some time to consider these and other questions. When we touch on truth, the falsehood dissolves. Then it’s up to us to choose over and over again, a new set of beliefs and behaviour to move us into and support us in the reality we envision. Which wolf are you feeding? This means becoming aware of our own patterns and scripts. Where do we behave automatically? What responses come out without thought, as a reflex? Where are we making ourselves small, to avoid attention or to appease others? It’s time to live and speak from heart, and take up our space.
Self Help Tips
Some ways you can release the patterns and scripts on your own include journalling, meditation, movement, embodied/somatic practices, and any way to raise your awareness around your patterns and the desire to release them. This may also be the Work of Byron Katie, tapping, and balancing your chakras, including your root and heart. I also use these energetic mandalas.
Details on HeartWave series. Other recommended products – Silent Solfeggio (silent so you can pair with any music (or none at all) you love. 396 Hz for liberation from fear, 528 Hz for the heart chakra, 639 Hz for restoring and balancing relationships…can’t choose? You can use any one or choose the one comprised of all 9 frequencies.); Vagus Nerve Balance (we now know the important and extensive role the vagus nerve plays in relaxation, healing, and so much more!); and Release the Past. Playing these mandalas and recordings from your electronic equipment is purported to transform the quality of the EMF waves. So, there’s that.
Looking for more courage? Here’s a meditation for courage from Siewfan Wong.
An elegantly simple and effective self-help is holding your little finger. This balances the Heart and Small Intestine organ function energies, which are related to the attitude of “trying.” What is “trying”? It’s trying to be the perfect mother, trying to juggle everything, trying to please your parents, your children, your spouse, your boss – in other words, in trying, you are not living your own life. You are not living from your own heart.
Modalities to Try
Self help is effective and empowering. We can however have our own blind spots that a trained eye can help reveal. Some modalities that can be helpful include Family Constellation, Theta Healing, shamanic journeying (to retrieve lost soul parts, for example), quantum biofeedback, BodyTalk, HeartMath, and Nutripuncture. You can also work with certified facilitators and practitioners of The Work of Byron Katie, EFT, and Jin Shin Jyutsu to go deeper and to reorient your self-practice as needed.
Being impeccable with our words and our stories is an ongoing practice. We know our words and even our stories can press buttons, perpetuate falsehood, incite discord, and more. (Yes our storytelling, in sharing our wounds, may be re-wounding other people.) If we are doing this unknowingly, self work and professional work can shine a light on these unconscious parts. If we are doing this knowingly, uncover the motivations behind it (see tips above) and heal the wounds that cause us to lash out, project our anger, and want others to suffer.
Some easy ways to be impeccable are:
- remove limiting words and phrases from your vocabulary.
- be present when you are listening to other people, rather than protesting or rehearsing your response in your head (listening without knowing as Michael Stone teaches)
- assume positive intentions
- before sharing on social media, expand beyond your perspectives and feel if the words and snazzy quotes are true. Is it inclusive? Is it inspirational and high-vibrational?
- From Michael Stone, spend a week (or longer) rather than seeing everything in opposites, see everything in spectrum.
- explore how you can tell your stories, from a healed place, even when you are in the process of healing and remembering.
- practice radical forgiveness
- practice compassionate communication
- be mindful how you use descriptions in your stories – are you drawing on stereotypes, do you use colour as a derogatory manner or is naming someone’s skin tone essential to the story that is enlightening and inspirational?
- stand firm in your convictions and yet be open to a higher perspective
- be aware of your response. For example, are the jokes you are laughing at truly funny or are they at the expense of individuals and groups? Are you laughing because of peer pressure, or the need to fit in? Laughter is the best medicine. Like all medicine and anything powerful, there is responsibility.
Speaking from heart is living with courage and in truth. Because reality is not objective, truth changes as we expand our perspectives. How can we live and speak our own truth, while allowing others to do the same? As Michael Stone (2009) reminds us, how do we not create opposition between what is happening and what we believe ought to be happening? Or between our concept and the reality of what’s happening? It can be tricky with all the happenings we see in the 3D world today. For many people, protesting and pointing out the darkness of injustice and unconsciousness of bigotry feels like the only recourse.
I put this question out there – how can we do this – changing our own habits and ways of thinking to be more inclusive, respectful, and loving – from a realm of higher vibrations?
I believe people like Marianne Williamson is doing that, bringing heart to politics. She’s building the new, making it easier for people to refocus their attention and withdraw their energy from what is not working. So wherever we are, in the corporate boardroom or a school room, a shared working space, our kitchen – anywhere, we can choose to embody and anchor light. Speak from heart.