When I lead guided meditations, there is some improvisation involved, some letting go into an outflow of speech for a given purpose- seems pretty obvious I guess. In general, though, I can be a bit conservative with language, a bit shy to elaborate. This became highlighted for me recently when I curtailed a comment I was making, saying I didn’t want to ramble, to which my friend replied, “please ramble.” This kind permission lead me to reflect on self-editing. I generally operate under the assumption that much of what is said is extraneous, but unlike idle chatter, a flowing forth of heartfelt, engaged speech gives us a chance to connect that may not have been there otherwise. I noted that one of the reasons I am able to let words flow forth unhindered in a guided meditation situation is that inherent in that situation is good will for myself and the people who are taking part- well-being, on some level, is the point, so the whole enterprise has an ethical foundation. There is no reason then that I couldn’t do that more on an everyday basis, and perhaps I could do so with greater confidence if I reminded myself that good will underlies my words and deeds, which I can do because it’s something I consciously cultivate. In a way, this is the genesis of faith- not blindness, but confidence due to a subtle thread in time reinforced by goodness.
Outside of the meditation room, unhindered speech is more complicated in its many forms. The potential to offend, intentionally or not, is vast; so perhaps we’re better put to the task of losing our predisposition to be easily offended, and search instead for true-hearted meaning and connection in the chaotic swirl. The point of questioning pc values is not the right to offend (although free speech gives us that), but to remove the shackles of established perspectives- which should be questioned thoroughly- but if proven useful at all should be used as staging, slingshots, trampolines, not smaller prisons for our shrinking minds. Any time the discussion ends at “you can’t say that,” there is a movement toward dogma. But it’s still a game of personal responsibility: whenever we find ourselves under the tyranny of circumstances, we have forgotten that we closed countless exit doors on the way to a counterfeit inner sanctum. We thought that following the rules was going to make us safer, but instead it made of us a caged beast. We have only kept ourselves safe from growth and renewal, whose turnings by definition carry with them the death aspect, which is thoroughly cured by perspective.
This is all a matter of cultivation of course, which I am still in the thick of, and that’s why I never suggest excluding ethics when there is an inkling of doubt. Grounding our practice (whatever that practice may be) in good will grants safety at least on some level.
Really, I don’t think I’ve rambled quite badly enough considering this anti-treatise was supposed to be about giving myself further permission to do so. As is obvious by now, I have no qualms about holding the tongue- it’s probably saved many lives- but I’ve recently caught a spark, assisted by a friend, as well as some talks by one of my favorite wordsmiths, Terrence McKenna, to do some tongue wagging in the interest of engagement with willing minds about the articulation of creation. And so, I’ll finish with a quote by the man himself: “The ego wants closure; it wants a complete explanation. The beginning of wisdom is the ability to accept an inherent messiness in your explanation of what’s going on, because nowhere is it writ that human minds should be able to give a full accounting of creation in all its dimensions and on all levels.”