Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mindful Speech in 5771



On my to-do list during the High Holy Days is even more reflection and introspection, even more praying than usual. Somebody told me recently that the Dalai Lama prays for ten hours every day. Wow. Can you imagine?

When I pray, of course I am speaking to God, but prayer is also, for me, a way of processing the events of life, a way of understanding at the deepest level what is unfolding within and without. Prayer is cleansing, too, clears my heart in such a beautiful way. Prayer is SO intimate.

Initially I was thinking I would spend Yom Kippur in silence. Word fasts are quite humbling! Believe me, I always know the right thing to be saying. It's so hard to shut me up. I'm always amazed, at the conclusion of a word fast, that somehow the planet has continued to turn, life has gone on fine without my witty repartee. Hmmmm.

What I'm "hearing" of the divine wisdom, during prayer, is that the task of this year is all about saying MORE - not less - by choosing my words carefully. For 24 hours, I will stop and think before I speak, just to see what that's like. A nice challenge, eh? Have you ever tried? How embarrassing to admit I never have!

It's a formidable challenge, but as I've said, Yom Kippur is not for sissies. I can't wait!

21 comments:

The Bug said...

As an introvert you would think that I would stop & think before I speak on a regular basis. Ha!

E said...

I love your pictures they remind me of haiku a simplicity on one level thatasks a deeper meaning...I see the rain drops on the dead leaf as words offered up in prayer... The leaf hand open to the divine with mortal tears ...words..prayers....and when the prayers is over the words canwrge together into one larger pool of meaning, insight, love, acceptance.

E said...

Masks....
Prayer
merge
perhaps I should proof before I send?

ellen abbott said...

If I think about what I'm going to say before I speak, I usually remain silent.

Pauline said...

Taking up that challenge! Let me know how it works for you!

Everton Terrace said...

I JUST started this last week. I'm trying to wait and let people finish their thoughts before I jump in. Trying to fully process what they've said before I begin to form my own thoughts. This is not easy for me and so far, not so good, but a little better so that's something.

Linda Sue said...

Photos - stunning! I would say that your photos are prayer enough...

Reya Mellicker said...

E you are so cool!

Reya Mellicker said...

Ellen, yeah ... that would actually be a great discovery! That I run my mouth unnecessarily. Whew.

Everton, I tried a little bit yesterday with clients and while out and about. What's interesting is that the people I talk to, here in DC, really hate it when I pause and think. They get so impatient. Or maybe it's best to say they are already too impatient to have a mindful conversation. Really interesting!!

Meri said...

Spoken like a true extrovert -- the ones who process what they think by speaking out loud.

Nancy said...

I think writing helps me to think before I speak. It is very enlightening to see how much stupid stuff I can say.

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh Meri I am the biggest introvert in the world! I'm not processing when I talk, I'm just blabbing. I'm a personal, private, internal processor, oh yeah!

steven said...

reya when i teach i have to remember to wait.
wait time for thoughts to arise, to be processed, to be re-presented. what i'm working on this year is waiting before i speak. it's so early in the year it's really hard!! but i think it'll bear fruit. silence when silence is needed. the top pic takes me back to peter gabriel's first solo lp. you're such a river reya - the energy just flows through you. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Steven I LOVE being on a wavelength with you. Yes, the pause before speaking, yeah! What happened to that??

I think of the way, at the end of a concert, the conductor holds his wand still for a few moments, holds some space between the last note and the applause. That is such a powerful moment!

E said...

No Reya, I am not cool, but your beautiful pictures are very cool. Hope you got your camera out for sunset tonight, lovely pink clouds ribboned across the sky, and a half moon serenely gliding above.

C.M. Jackson said...

something tells me your new goal will be a blessing as you will have so much more to talk to us about:-) tough one but you can do it--mazel c

Whitney Lee said...

I learned that words are so very powerful and taught myself to (most of the time) choose my words with care. I try to be lavish with praise and stingy with criticism. It doesn't always work.

A lot of times I realize people don't want to hear what I have to say. They want to share, or vent, or something of that nature. In those cases I tend to comfort myself with the brilliant words of wisdom they are missing out on...

Reya Mellicker said...

Whitney I totally believe you have many many words of wisdom!

Reya Mellicker said...

E - the drops on the leaves look like tears to me.

E said...

Yes, mortal tears...physical representation of the fragility and aspirations of life...the leaf falls...the tears fall..we fall. And every spring renewed.

Karen said...

You know, I've learned this from my visits with Lakota people: sometimes a person will just pause and wait for a bit before she/he speaks, especially if you've asked a question that's at all big or important.

It always seems like the initial silence takes forever, but really it's less than a minute, usually. (If my reading is correct, back in the old days--and sometimes now, if the audience is right--a person asked a big question would wait a few minutes before speaking. Can you imagine that? We (Anglos) are in such a hurry we'd be off to the next thing... or perhaps we'd think the person didn't hear us, or didn't want to answer...)

Sometimes I try for this as an explicit goal--thoughtful speech--but most of the time I'm trying to cram in as many words as possible (a side affect from my teaching, I'm sure). Thanks for the reminder to slow down and THINK!