Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Mindful speech... (Warning: Vulgar Language)

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am determined to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy and hope. I will not spread news that I do not know to be certain and will not criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I am determined to make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

I was just listening to some neighbors over the fence and am surprised at my own reaction to their language. I want to go take a shower. Some would say I am a literalist, given that I tend to take speech rather seriously.

I listen to what people say and feel the aggression that has become such a normal part of everyday speech now.

But mostly, I notice the vulgarity and the violence in the speech used by people toward each other. It's a wonder any of us manage to survive the barrage of filthy and disgusting images that unconsciously enter our brains.

Think about it for just a minute. One of my favorite invectives at one time is a horribly violent word. The much beloved 'f bomb' refers to rape. Think about that each time the word comes out so easily. "F*ck you" is wishing for someone to be raped. One way to cure the habit is to remember that each time we use that word. Think about what rape really is!

I could cite any number of words and the "real" meaning of them but we're all adults here and already know.

I'm not going to say I never curse. That would be an absolute lie. Every now and then, I get aggravated and use some words because they feel like a release. I have my preferred words, none of which are pleasing to the ear - so I do it under my breath or when I am alone. In my previous way of life, I could let loose with the best of them and use words that would peel the armor off a tank but the time comes that we begin to mature and understand that the words and images we put out into the world do manifest. Careless speech is wounding. Polluting the environment with foul language and thoughts is rude to other people.

We continue wounding each other, every day with words.

But eventually we have to grow up and understand that it's not cute. It's not funny. It's not casual. It doesn't sound sophisticated or cool. It just sounds ugly. It's .. icky. It's verbal rot. And it's violent. That's a connection that many people don't make. All violence is interconnected. Assaulting someone with words is just as abusive as assaulting with fists.

I hardly think I have the influence to really get people to clean up their speech - but thought it would be worth mentioning anyway. If even one person is brought to mindfulness so that we can feel a little less assaulted in our interactions, it's worth it.



Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I think it's a very important thing to think about.

slouching mom said...
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heartinsanfrancisco said...

This is all true. I know it, even though I occasionally use profane language for amusement or shock value, which is childish.

When I was a teenager, I used a word I had learned from my peers and my father heard me.

He said, "Such words are used by people who don't have better ones at their command. You have an excellent vocabulary and I expect you to use it."

I always remember him saying that when I indulge in vile language, which is really verbal junk food. Yet I never eat junk food.

You have shared some wonderful and necessary thoughts here, Chani.

flutter said...

I emailed you that I wasn't going to comment, but I will.

This post has good points, however I also feel that much is to be read into things which truly don't have meaning. I applaud your ethic in watching your words and your behavior.

SUEB0B said...

It's interesting to me that my dear dog (and best friend) Goldie reacts so negatively to swear words, even when they are said in a normal tone of voice. She gets SO upset. She looks at me like I have done something terribly wrong. I have to try and not swear around my dog. It is kind of funny that she polices me, but she is a very sensitive beast.

Suki said...

Chani, this is such a wonderful post! It was morning when I read it, and was sadly too absorbed in breakfast to let it sink in. I'm really sorry you felt ignored, and I can understand what silence can feel like.. albeit to a much lesser extent than you felt when you wrote the next post. I hope you don't feel taht way now!

True - I'm a college student, and the f-bomb is used as punctuation by most of us. Usually a vent for all the aggression and depression left unresolved. I've been through that phase and hopefully come out of it, but I still drop the f-bomb and its like a bit too often by way of exclamation. Again, mostly a vent.
I will certainly defend my right to swear as a vent for negative feelings, since it makes me feel better. But yes - flinging rubbish around unnecessarily has to stop. I will consciously try my best.

Thank you, Chani.

Molly said...

I agree that it is appalling how acceptable filthy language has become. If people would just pause for a second and visualise the messages their mouths are sending.....