Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mindful speech, mindful listening

Laura read from True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh. The passage she read concerned mindful speech, the need to be conscious of how unkind words in themselves can inflict a certain violence. We talked about the need for deeply listening as well, to really ensure that we hear what is being said.

I was thinking about our conversation later today as I ran down a road near my house. There is a very annoying dog that lives in one house, a toy terrier of some sorts. At every passerby, he barks frantically, madly running around the property. One day I discussed his behavior with the owner of a chihuahua, another breed that is known for being high strung. He observed that his own dog was around people a lot when he was a puppy, and so is accepting of their presence.

Perhaps this little dog was ignored or deprived of attention when it was young. Now, it reacts with hostility to nearly everyone. I see these examples frequently - in people or elsewhere in the world - of how the principles we discuss in the sangha are manifested.

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