Explore the moment before your mouth opens

This is quite an interesting line of enquiry. Quite a lot of what make me feel bad is the stuff that comes out of my mouth - namely, words. In order to feel good, it seems like a sensible idea to curb what makes me feel bad. Easier said than done.

The first thing to notice that a lot of speech happens by itself. Things occur, I react to them, words come out of my mouth. A lot of speech is driven by the need to be seen, to be someone, to assert my existence. This seems natural but as soon as a self exerts itself there is something quite ugly going on. Anyway, let's not go into the reasons for this.

Luckily, there are moments before we speak that allows us to choose what we say - these are called gaps. The first gap is between sense contact and the arising of thought. You can explore this right now - run a finger along the palm of your hand, notice the raw sensation occurring in the hand space, notice a teeny gap, then notice the thought magically appearing in your head (this is nice). (You can even exert the will to have no thoughts happening, just permanent space. If you are feeling particularly keen you could try doing this for an extended period of time).

The next gap is between the thought and the mouth opening. When we are in a social situation we rely on our inbuilt personality to generate words that will express what we want to say - this is kind of automatic. If it wasn't conversations would grind to halt... So we override the gap in order to seem 'tuned in' or 'with it', expressing our interpretation of social convention. Let's say we are in a room together doing the finger on the palm thing - you might have the thought 'this is nice', which would immediately come out of the mouth as 'nice'.

So then, these are the opportunities that lie before us. The real trick is crafting them in to our everyday encounters...


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