Kind communication is at the forefront of my attention. Offering kind communication meditation and writing workshops, studying wise speech through the DPP6 program this month, and engaging in conversations with family, friends, and coworkers have all supported this attention.
The following are some insights offered based on my experiences in communication. It is by no means a comprehensive list, the ‘right’ way to communicate, or the final word on kind communication. It is a work in progress just as I am a student of life – a being forever growing and changing to learn and understand.
1. Kind communication is not about being right or having the last word. You need to be able to express your point of view (POV), your needs with the willingness to make space for other possibilities.
2. Judging the other person for his/her POV contracts the heart and creates a moat rather than a bridge of understanding.
3. When you judge yourself, you abandon the one being in this world most likely to understand, love, and accept you as you are.
4. What does it mean to send metta wishes to yourself? What is your definition of happiness, wellness, safety, and peace?
5. Get curious about the other person’s reality. Ask questions with genuine interest. Practice metta for them. What is her/his definition of happiness, wellness, safety, and peace?
These insights are not easy to put into practice. Wise speech requires intention, attention, and awareness. To remember intention, I try to recite the Five Precepts each morning, with one precept particularly devoted to wise speech. Mindfulness meditation, yoga, periodically checking in with body and breath, hiking, and reflective journaling support present moment attention to any discomfort I’m feeling. They also expand awareness to past hurt and future expectations that discourage a meaningful exchange of words.
As humans, we are given the unique gift of communication through verbal, written, and body language. May it be kind.
Note: This post was not born from easy communication with others, or a natural knack for wise speech. The exchanges were labored, but I wouldn’t go back in time and change a thing. May the benefit of these experiences be shared by all beings everywhere without exception. No mud, no lotus. No confusion, no insight.
Nonviolent Communication Practice Groups
Mindful Communication Online Course
6 Points of Mindful Communication, Giving and Receiving Feedback (pg 2,3)