Spoken or written, our words have a significant impact upon others, as well as upon ourselves. It is vital to bear in mind that the exploration of the middle way applies equally to language, as it does to any other kind of practice.
The essentials of the middle way include ethics, the noble path and wisdom. There is an important and necessary encouragement from the Buddha to avoid all forms of extremism in language.
One of the most common expressions of this shows itself in the language of positivity and negativity. We might easily give support to finding an attitude, feelings and expressions in communication free from negativity. But the teachings also and equally express concern to about the language of positivity.
Whether about the past present or future, positivity easily obscures the capacity to see clearly what is taking place. These teachings call upon us to stay true and steady to recognise what arises or has arisen and the causes and conditions for what arises.
There is nothing to be positive or negative about.
We might speak with a certain positivity, which only informs us of our imposition of a pleasurable impressions towards an area or object of interest. The middle way between the extremes sheds light on the actual event itself.
An example of a positive attitude often shows itself in relationship to the future and the use of the language of hope. We hope things will get better. We believe things will improve. We hope for a change from the difficult circumstances of the present or of the past.
Hope, itself, does not offer any reality of change. Nor does it provide the potential for change. Hope easily carries with it the shadow of disappointment.
Our speech then requires a depth of mindfulness and concentration with clarity and precision – expressed without hoping for things to improve or fear of them getting worse.
Insights and wisdom belong to the middle way.
Christopher’s three tips to support your practice:
- Remember what you hear from another is what he or she says in this moment.
- Remember what you say is what you say in this moment.
- Words do not reveal truth. Words do not get in the way of truth.