No, I don’t have to do that

Speech is such a huge part of our daily experience, and often its motive is to cause divisiveness or harm to others. So to practice right speech, we need to pay attention to our motives. That’s not easy. There are very few of us—if any—who have perfectly pure motivation. So when we look at our motivation, it takes a lot of clarity and honesty, sometimes even courage. But if we are willing to be open and honest about the mix of motivations behind our speech and our actions, then we can choose the motives which are most wholesome and act from those, and let the others go.

My favorite Pali word is samphappalapa. It means exactly what it sounds like—useless talk. I love the practice of watching my mind about to samphappalapa, because the tendency is so strong to speak for the sake of speaking. That has no value, no purpose. By seeing that “about to,” you can then think, “No, I don’t have to do that.” It’s amazing how free we feel in that moment of restraint.

… It’s essential that we understand which are wholesome thoughts—those are the pathways worth deepening—and which thoughts and emotions are unskillful. Those are worth letting go of so we’re not unconsciously deepening their pathways – Joseph Goldstein

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