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Thread: Mindfulness of Speech

  1. #1

    Mindfulness of Speech

    Hi All,

    I'm a bit grateful at the moment for the heightened practice of Ango. After a wonderful practice partner talk with Yugen, I entered into a conversation with a very dear friend. This friend has hit a very rough patch with the person they are dating. That person has almost all the signs, and I really truly mean this, of being a sociopath. Of course this can only be diagnosed by a psychiatric specialist, but the signs are very visible. My friend is in a very abusive place, I feel, and is feeling very low at the moment (depressed, anxious.) When we were discussing the situation, I felt incredibly angry, and almost said some very unkind things about the partner. As I was formulating the thoughts something told me- stop. Think about this.

    And in the end, the conclusion I arrived at was very sad for the person abusing the love and compassion of my friend. However, there was that line that I had to somewhat approach. Love sees through rose colored glasses, right? My good friend was really exploring what THEY could have done wrong, doing some really sad soul searching for answers. While fault lies on both sides, as it does in every situation, my friend did not see AT ALL what their partner was pulling. So I strongly but cautiously voiced my concern, followed up by statements and facts that align with specific occurrences.

    Still, I felt a little bad. After all, the things I was saying, even with awareness, were not positive. But where is that line with practicing idiot compassion?? Sometimes it is not clear. Sometimes you HAVE to speak up to help someone you are feeling compassion towards- but sometimes it is hard to filter those words through the prejudice and anger that you yourself are feeling on their behalf. Especially when the things you have to say are not what they want or wish to hear, especially when they border on slander or ill-speech towards another person.

    I guess I just wanted to say that I was hyper aware of every word I said. The conversation as a whole was a true exercise in closely watching my speech, speaking the truth in the kindest and clearest way, and trying to be respectful to both sides. I am not sure I achieved these goals.

    Anyone else have a similar experience to share?

    Feeling a little bummed out, maybe confused.



    "True compassion does not shy away from causing pain when necessary. Causing pain is not the same as causing harm, by the way."

    In metta,
    Last edited by Seizan; 09-30-2013 at 03:31 AM.

  2. #2
    I think we have all faced such situations, Seizan. The dilemma of whether to "butt in" to someone's situation or stand aside ... whether what we should speak directly or soften the blow or not at all ... whether what we are saying is "truth" or just our opinion ... whether we should tell people what they don't want to hear and will resent hearing ... whether we are speaking to protect a person from violence or a dangerous situation, or only about a minor issue in which our speaking might make things worse ... whether we are speaking from "good intentions" or only out of our own anger or personal reasons.

    I think it important to make sure that we are truly speaking for the benefit of the other person, and not more for our own self benefit. A couple of times, I participated in a drug and alcohol "intervention" for a friend. Another time, I held off telling a friend that his wife was having an affair. Another time, I hinted to a friend that his fiance was seeming to take advantage of him and his money, but then dropped the matter at the first sign my friend did not want to hear (they have now been married for 10 years).

    In a few weeks, in our Jukai reflections, we will look at the Precepts on Right Speech, Truthfulness, Gossip and the like, and I hope we can bring this up then as well.

    I will sit for your friend, her husband, and all people who are victims of anger and violence.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-30-2013 at 03:46 AM.

  3. #3
    I find I am more useful to others as a compassionate listener rather than a well intentioned advice giver. It is a rare experience/gift to be heard without getting advice, suggestions, or information one is not seeking.

    I too will sit for your friend, her husband, and all lives touched by violence.


  4. #4
    I don't have any words of wisdom as to what one should or should not do in the situation you described. Seems as though some only hear what they want to hear and disregards the rest. (I know... a line from a song but so true). Your best intentions to save your friend from this potential harm will only succeed if your friend wakes up to the dangers of an abusive relationship. It seems some seek companionship and relationship at any cost.

    I will offer Metta to you, your friend, and yes even to the person they are dating.


    “Blessed are the flexible, for they never get bent out of shape." Author Unknown

  5. #5
    Metta to all.


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