The topic in meditation class last night opened my eyes to the reality that complaining just to have something to say has become a common practice amongst individuals today. In fact, it’s the way in which many people seem to relate and bond with one another in their daily lives. Whether it’s talking or complaining about a co-worker to another co-worker in a negative way, or complaining to your friend about how much you hate your job, I pose the following question: What purpose does complaining or being judgmental serve you, what are the benefits of complaining or being judgmental?
If you tease out this question, you’ll probably find that in either case, complaining and passing judgment on others certainly does not enhance your well being, nor does it serve any purpose whatsoever. If you, like so many people, are trying to live a more meaningful and happy life, then this type of behavior will only decrease your happiness, increase your suffering and keep you from living a life that is abundant, happy, meaningful and filled with purpose.
Why practice mindful speech? Practicing mindful speech provides a deep sense of awareness which derails the mind from the negative, habitual thought and speech patterns which the ego thrives on. Participating in gossip and speaking negatively about yourself and others inhibits you from experiencing true joy, true love, true happiness and true peace.
Try this little experiment. Tell yourself, “Today, I choose not to think, nor to speak negatively of others, including myself. Today, I choose to be mindful and aware of the times in which negative thought and speech patterns arise.” The key to this experiment is to be mindful when negative thoughts arise and note to self, “thought arising”. By taking note of your thoughts, you will find that you are naturally inclined not to engage in speaking negatively about someone, or something with others and at the very least acknowledge your negative, habitual thought patters. Taking this seemingly small practice to heart and into daily life not only has a positive effect on your well being but on others as well. When you consciously choose not to participate in gossip, or display outward negative behavior through your speech, you become an example of light to others, showing others that you are a kind and sincere person, worthy of their love, trust and respect. The implications of taking this small practice into our daily lives can change our relationships, the way we communicate with others and essentially the world!