Tongue Tied – The Four Gates of Speech

1.  Is it truthful?

2.  Is it necessary to say?

3.  Is it the appropriate time?

4.  Is it a kind thing to say?

Think of how much more simple life would be if we only considered these four questions every time we spoke. I am an impulsive speaker-if it’s in my head it’s out my mouth. It may cut the amount I speak in half if I were to use this process of elimination with what I say. Oh dear.

I first read these in Anusara Yoga’s ‘ethical guidelines,’ and then later discussed them again in my own teacher training. I like these ideas because it’s so much more specific than saying ‘be nice,’ or ‘treat others how you would like to be treated.’ Those are gray areas for most people; what is nice, anyways? These are questions you can ask yourself. They are specific enough that they can narrow what you think to what you say down to the most honest, necessary, kind things. They are also broad enough that they can be applied to any situation. This is Ahimsa.

Real life examples:

1.  Is it truthful?

If I say that hideous shirt looks great when she tries it on we can all just go home and stop walking around this stupid mall!

“That’s not my favorite one on you, you should keep looking if you’re not positive.”

2.  Is it necessary to say?

That car nearly killed me making a right turn when I had the walk signal and he’s on his phone! Typical! What is wrong with you?! I’m going to go all furious pedestrian on this asshole.

A deep breath, an acknowledging wave, and a moment of gratitude that nobody was actually hurt…

3.  Is it the appropriate time?

I should definitely irrationally lash out and confront my boyfriend about this situation right now in front of all of these people!

Pause, collect yourself, and confront him at a time when you can both be honest and speak calmly.

4.  Is it a kind thing to say/Is there a kind way to say it?

Crap! My mocha is supposed to be no whip! The barista messed it up again and now I’ll be ten minutes late.

“Excuse me, whenever you get the chance can you scoop some of this whipped cream off for me? Thank you so much.”

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

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