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The austerity of speech

austérité de la parole

According to the Indian tradition, there is a special consideration associated with speech. As it is one of the vehicles of energy, it must be used with care and wisdom. It is notably in the Bhagavad Gîtâ, one of the pillar books of Hinduism, that its power is told. It was later taken up in Buddhist thought, which is based for the most part on Hindu concepts.

In order to make good use of one’s language, the words one pronounces must meet three principles: truthfulness, kindness and beneficence. According to the Indian tradition, it is better to remain silent if what you say is not true, pleasant or beneficial.

Let’s look at each of these parts

Speaking the truth

The truthfulness of a word is important because it increases our vibratory level. When we lie, we gradually lose our energy because we lose our peace of mind. One lie often calls for another and it is finally the fear of being unmasked that can generate a kind of permanent anxiety. Telling the truth is not always easy. It is nevertheless preferable to refrain from speaking if it is to tell a lie. Today’s society is not uncompromising in this respect. Often we are pushed to lie because there is a short-term interest, whether it is in the context of a job or human relations. The will to seduce is often what pushes us the most to embellish the truth and hide the less glorious things about ourselves.

Speak with kindness

According to Hindu thought, not all truth is good to tell. You may want to hurt someone by telling a truth. Intention is essential when speaking something true. So, yes, it may seem hypocritical at first glance, but it is not. A word generates a movement, an action. If the word is true but unpleasant, it can create a rejection and even a force of opposition. Imagine that you were to confess to a friend the true identity of his or her parents. Do you think that doing so in an angry or guilt-ridden tone would improve the situation? It’s unlikely that it will. So you need to make sure that the word is kind and even gentle so that it is digested and accepted.

A beneficial word

You may say something that is true and pleasant, but if it does not bring any benefit, it is better not to say it. What does a beneficial word mean? It means that it can be used for self-improvement, self-building or a positive change of perspective. It can also mean that in order to build you have to deconstruct. If you are building an identity on a lie, it is better to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch than to continue on a shaky foundation. It’s up to you to see if what you say will help the person(s) hearing it.

As you can see, speaking requires a great deal of discipline, which most often leads to staying silent rather than expressing what comes to mind. A word is powerful if it manages to combine truth, benevolence and charity. It is like a conjunction of three factors. When you multiply these three elements, you get a result. Each of them must be positive, otherwise we would get a negative result. On the other hand, the arithmetic laws do not apply, if you combine two negative things spiritually, you will not get something positive.

Speaking indiscriminately

There are some people who like to spout off without any measure, pauses or any form of restraint. This annoying habit is of course an extreme that few people fall into. However, observing this kind of caricature helps us to understand the evils of intrusive or impudent speech. In order not to resemble this dark portrait, it is preferable to set up some habits allowing us to re-educate ourselves on this aspect.

The importance of having periods of silence

Gandhi did not speak to anyone on Mondays towards the end of his life. This truce of speech allowed him to give more strength to what he said. The more rarely you speak, the more valuable it is. Conversely, the more you speak, the more meaningless or egotistical your words become. The most common characteristic of wise people is their natural propensity for silence. If you want to give your words more weight, you must impregnate them with reflection, meditation, in the same way that you impregnate a doughnut with flour when it is dipped in boiling oil. Speech is strengthened when it is first and foremost internalized and is not a pathological logorrhea.

Reading rather than speaking

It is obvious that we have greater or lesser inclinations towards extraversion. An extroverted personality will tend to talk more than introverts, which multiplies their chances of saying things that are neither true, nor beneficial, nor benevolent. To counterbalance this, it may be a good idea to start reading. Introverts tend to listen and read more than others. If a person makes an effort to read more, he or she will be able to tame this trait a bit, even if it doesn’t go against their own nature. By engaging in introvert hobbies, a person will become more attentive and less talkative.

Yoga (asana): the school of silence

If you take up yoga, you will naturally talk less. You will also reconnect with your deepest nature, which is often self-sufficient, which has the advantage of making you feel less like talking. Yoga usually ends with a meditation session, which aims at managing an inner calm. Very often, if people talk and cannot stop doing it, it is because there is an inner turmoil, that is to say a lack of serenity that pushes them to do so.

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