The power of ‘right speech’
As we explore new boundaries and degrees of acceptability in justice, equality and right relationship, our history and heritage are coming under intense scrutiny. Some of this is a powerful journey through the lessons that we can learn and apply in how we choose live and behave today. Some has become, as it often does, a strange parody of extreme outrage.
In reflecting on this I am reminded of the fundamental power of ‘right speech’. As much as any actions taken in the past or previous cultural norms show us the definite need for new values, mind-sets and behaviours, we would be well served to consider the basic principle of right speech.
Right speech starts with the quality of our inner thought life because it’s our thoughts that actually create the world we live in…as we think, so we do. In righting the injustices in our world, we need to come from a place of love, allowing love to fuel our thinking, words and actions.
Speech is a sound that carries a vibrational quality and energy. The tone and quality of that sound is impacted by how and what we think. The more angry, harsh and judgemental our thinking, however seemingly justified, the more we risk replacing one injustice with another. The real need is for compassion, understanding and creative thought directed at creating a fair, equal and just society.
As leaders, we know the power of words. We know how some ideas can carry and some fall flat. If we truly examine where we have greatest impact, it is when we have alignment between what’s in our heart and what’s in our mind. Sometimes, as with Hitler, this can be used for evil. Mainly, hopefully, we are fuelled by love and care for others and our impact is at worst benign and at best uplifting, inspiring and transformative.
Right speech will help us all to make the small and large steps toward the better world we all want. Leaders everywhere, organisational, campaigners, teachers, children, the person in the pub…we all need to examine the quality of our inner thought life and our hearts and allow that to guide what we say and how we say it.