Personal Musings

But is it kind?

Speaking mindfully and with compassion

I opened my meditation app yesterday morning to start my day. Three questions appeared on the screen. If you answer no to any, the mindful reminder was this. It is better to maintain silence in your thoughts and in the words you speak. The three questions were:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it necessary?
  3. Is it kind?

I would cut the three questions further from this:

Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Three questions to ask before you speak.

To this:

Is it kind is often the only question you need to ask

Being that often only one question is needed.

If you cannot confidently answer yes to is it kind?, it’s best not to speak or to continue in the current thought pattern whether verbalized or not. Otherwise, your speech, both external and internal, leans into idle gossip, anger, or hurtful and misconstrued judgments. In a nutshell, it’s not right speech.

As Walpola Sri Rahula teaches:

Right speech means abstention (1) from telling lies, (2) from backbiting and slander and talk that may bring about hatred, enmity, disunity, and disharmony among individuals or groups of people, (3) from harsh, rude, impolite, malicious, and abusive language, and (4) from idle, useless, and foolish babble and gossip.

Walpola Sri Rahula, The Noble Eightfold Path

Today, remember the question: is it kind? If not, consider a way to transform your thought(s) into kindness first before you release it into the world.

By Jeffrey Pillow

Jeffrey Pillow is an American short story writer, memoirist, and poet. He is the author of The Lady Next Door. His writing has been published in Urge Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, 16 Blocks, USA Today, Sports Illustrated,, New York Times, Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He grew up in the small town of Phenix, Virginia, population: 200, and now lives in Charlottesville with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Mozzarella Cheese. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he was a Rainey Scholar. This is his blog.

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