Speak because you have something to say, not because you have to say something
When we socialize with someone unfamiliar, we may struggle to find things to speak. Such conversations are usually stilted and inane. When they end, both sides heave a sigh of relief.
But this relief becomes elusive if one conversant, despite not having anything worthwhile to say, just keeps rambling. We may look longingly at the door, trying to think of some way to slip away. Or we may look distinctly at the watch, hoping they will catch the hint that it’s time they stop speaking.
The situation becomes even more exasperating when such ramblers are asked to speak in public, and they give long winding addresses with much noise and little substance.
The Bhagavad-gita (17.15) gives several guidelines about how to speak: speak non-agitatingly, truthfully, pleasingly and beneficially. Germane for our discussion is the last guideline: speak beneficially. If, whenever we converse with others, we cultivate a sincere desire to benefit them, we will be guided from within to speak something worthwhile.
Such inner guidance becomes increasingly accessible when we acquire Gita wisdom and understand that our life’s highest purpose is to serve God and serve all living beings in relationship with him. When we strive to serve thus, wanting to make positive contributions in others’ lives, the Gita (10.10) states that we will be given the intelligence to make wise choices – including, we can add, wise choices in our speaking. And one wise choice is that if we don’t have much to say, we will be guided to say our two words (literally) and stop.
When we thus channel our power of speech, we will discover that others start taking our words much more seriously. Indeed, when we speak because we have something meaningful to say, what we say will increasingly have a meaningful effect.
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