Sacred pause

Because experience happens so quickly, habitual responses can come out of our mouth before we know it. It helps to train ourselves to pause before our response. This is called the sacred pause. Before we speak, we can examine our motivation. Is our motivation one of compassion and concern for everyone? Or do we want to be right? When there is difference or conflict, do we genuinely want to hear about the concerns of the other? Are we open to learn, to see?
Try this in your next argument or conflict: Take a pause. Hold everyone’s struggle in compassion. Connect with your highest intention. Whenever things get difficult, pause before you speak and sense your wisest motivation.
This is the secret of wise speech. As the Buddha describes it: “Speak with kindly motivation. Speak what is true and helpful, speak in due season and to the benefit of all.” When we connect with our highest intention, we learn to see with eyes of compassion.

Jack Kornfield

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