Mindful Speech

Mindful speech seems to be in short supply these days. A pervasive sense of urgency about communication propels us into comments that we later regret.

Rick Hanson reminds us of the words of Buddha, wise speech always has five characteristics. It is:

  • Well-intended – Born of goodwill, seeks to support and strengthen rather than belittle and criticize. 
  • True – Not overstated, taken out of context, or blown-up out of proportion
  • Beneficial – Helps things improve; enhances and revitalizes
  • Timely – Not impulsive and relevant to the experience of the person receiving the message
  • Not harsh – It could be firm, pointed, or intense; it could confront mistreatment or injustice; anger could be acknowledged; but it is not prosecutorial, nasty, inflammatory, dismissive, or disdainful.

And if possible, it is:

  • Wanted by the other person –  Communication that is unwanted is unlikely to be helpful

Mindful speech makes it possible to notice what we are about to say before we say it, and gives us an opportunity to choose when to speak, what to say, and how to say it.

The natural partner of mindful speech is mindful listening.

Buddhist site, Tricycle, shares these perspectives on mindful listening.

“This type of listening is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls “deep listening.”  It is what physician Rachel Naomi Remen calls “generous listening,” what Buddhist teacher and Hospice trainer Joan Halifax calls “listening from the heart,” and what the Quakers call “Devout Listening.” “

And this opportune and relevant post from Rick, part of a series of posts that are very Just One Thingpertinent to our disturbing political climate, reminds me to encourage readers of this blog to sign up for Rick’s free “Just One Thing” emails.


Speak Wisely, Rick Hanson. 

Right Speech Reconsidered, Tricycle

For More Information

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Effective Communication

Impulsivity – Gina