3 Things to Keep In Mind Before You Speak – Lessons I Learned from Thich Nhat Hanh | Empowering Women in Business and Life


How often do we consider what is about to come out of our mouth before just letting it rip? On the other hand, do you ever catch yourself editing too much before you speak? Do you have unspoken rules about how to speak around certain people? I recently participated in a fasting and silence ritual for the duration of 7 days.

3 Things to Keep In Mind Before You Speak - Lessons I Learned from Thich Nhat Hanh - Misha Almira

During that time, I learned a lot about the value of silence and also the value of speaking what needs to be said. By taking away all the words that usually fill the gaps of silence, I began seeing all the words that were not really necessary. I had no idea how much random chatter I’d grown accustomed to.  It was a fascinating process resulting in much more awareness around thoughts and spoken word. It also led a deeper stillness within that seemed to satisfy the need to speak incessantly.


The Often Underestimated Power of Stillness

Have you ever had the experience of being in the presence of someone that is seated in stillness? What affect did it have on you? I have been so fortunate to have been touched by this several times in my life. The most recent was listening to an Adyanshanti video. It was beautiful how the energy was transmitted through the video and reached my heart.
I took vows to be a Monk with the Ishaya Order in 1997. While training and practicing as a monk, I meditated with eyes closed for 8-12 hours a day and the rest of the time with eyes open. It was literally “praying without ceasing” and the experience was life altering. At first, the meditations were full of distraction and mind chatter. With continued practice, the stillness bled into all of my life. It deepened and expanded beyond what I thought was possible. The inner peace became the new normal. Every action became a chant or prayer in movement. It was beautiful.
When we would go out in the world to teach courses, I would notice people around us instantly softening and getting quiet inside. Over the course of a weekend, people in the course would become more radiant and youthful in appearance. They would also shift into a calm peaceful presence, allowing them to release any stress or trauma needing to be healed. It was such a gift to be able to witness the effects of inner stillness. Adyashanti is truly a beautiful example of this. Here is another example of how this silence inside can shift others.
All we had to do was sit in inner stillness and Be ourselves. The inner peace and stillness was contagious. To me, it just felt normal, but it affected others. It does make a difference. Just like being around an angry volatile person affects those around them. This is why peace rallies are often more effective than angry protests. Anger produces more anger and peace produces peace. This works with every human emotion we can think of.
When someone dances or sings passionately, how does that leave you feeling?
 CompassionateListening - Misha Almira

Compassionate Listening for Peace

Deep Listening or Compassionate Listening is a practice with the intention to help others empty their hearts. It is done with the hope of helping them suffer less. Even if they are perceiving something wrongly, it through continuing  to listen with compassion that allows them to truly open their heart and  dive deeper into truth. It is an act of empowering them rather than trying to fix them.  If you feel the need to give them advice, you can always do it at a later time. Often times with just compassionate listening they are able to shift their perspective on their own.
Is it possible to be misunderstood, blamed, wrongly criticized and still continue compassionate listening? What is threatened by doing this? What happens if you do? What if we were able to adopt this on a personal scale or even a global scale? Could you do this for yourself in the middle of your deepest pain? Would you be able to do this for a bully or enemy of yours? What if our National Leaders practiced this regularly? How would the world be with this level of compassion, and allowing? Would wars be the result? Think about it. With this type of communication, where do conflict and anger fit in?
Circle Healing- Misha Almira

Circles for Healing

The Native Americans practice circle rituals for healing. They gather around and allow individuals to enter the circle to speak their heart. They believe circles are a way to look into Mystery. They believe it holds great healing for Community.

The rules of the circle are to speak truthfully and honestly from the heart. Be as brief as possible and listen attentively to others with no cross-talking or interference while they are speaking.

For the Elders and rest of the community, there is one rule. It is to listen. The intent is not to react or respond based on past ideas or judgments. It is listening to allow the individual to empty all that is inside them, everything that is no longer needed. It is a cleansing of what is not real. There is an inviting to look deeper, sense more fully what is not real and to be reminded of what is real. The listeners hold them in a space of truth to remind them that they are not their issues, concerns, problems, ailments, thoughts, or worries.
My friend told me of a story of another ritual of letting go. She told me that when a member of the tribe is in pain or struggling with something , they form a circle around the person and let them rant about the grief or issue for an amount of time. Then, after that, the circle will turn their backs on the individual as a way of putting behind them. After that, they do not talk any more about it. They laugh and dance together. It is a way of letting it go and leaving it in the past.
I believe there is a place for feeling all of our emotions in a healthy way. If we do have to blame for a bit, we must find a way to let go of it and go deeper. Otherwise, we will just continue to spin on a wheel of victimhood with no real healing. We must also find a way to not get stuck in indulging old emotions. It is okay to feel frustration, anger, guilt, sadness, and all of our emotions. We just must find a way to do it that allows healing for ourselves and others.
These examples above are incredibly effective examples of acknowledging what is and finding healing without making it too much of a process. Often in our culture we make healing such a prolonged process that we lose sight of what is essentially important ie “Who We Are.”

 Effective Communication

For the last week or so I have become acutely aware of where I could communicate more effectively. I realized this when I was not getting the results I desired. My interactions were leaving me feeling dissatisfied, misunderstood, and without any resolution. It felt like we were just choosing to sweep things under the rug which left me with resentment. I decided this had to change and I set a goal to find new and healthy ways of communicating.
I asked myself what it was I needed. The answer was to be heard. I decided I needed to focus on ways to effectively hear others so they felt heard. I figured the means would show up in books or a communication workshop.
Then, I found these mantras recommended by Thich Nhat Hanh. They are so simple and potent in achieving exactly the results I am seeking. These can be used when interacting with our significant others or complete strangers (obviously without the Darling) if we have the courage.


These are Mantras from Thich Nhat Hanh to be used in Relationship for increased happiness and compassion. I think this is would be all that is needed to feel heard and accepted while nurturing a loving relationship. My search for the ultimate communication tools came to a stop when I read these Mantras.

We can just think them silently while listening or speak them out loud.

  1. To Bring Happiness: “Darling, I am here for you”
  2. To Bring Happiness: “Darling, I know you are there and I am so happy.”
  3. When your loved one is suffering, think or say this: “Darling, I know you suffer, that is why I’m here for you.”
  4. When you are feeling hurt because of something your loved one has done, think or say this: “Darling, I suffer. I’m trying my best to practice. Please help me.”

Who would not feel heard, loved, and supported by hearing these mantras? Who would not be able to listen more intently after saying one of these to a loved one? This is truly a gift to all involved.  Thank you, Thich Nhat Hanh!

Source: 3 Things to Keep In Mind Before You Speak – Lessons I Learned from Thich Nhat Hanh | Empowering Women in Business and Life

2 thoughts on “3 Things to Keep In Mind Before You Speak – Lessons I Learned from Thich Nhat Hanh | Empowering Women in Business and Life

  1. I don’t see you giving credit to me. This was an article with my own personal stories in it about being a monk. I took vows in 1997. This was posted on mishaalmira.com. Please remove this. Copying exact content can get you blacklisted by Google.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t post any of my writings on this site. It must have been re-blogged by me. I do not copy and paste other people’s posts. This is only an archive of good stuff. I will look into it for you. It was five years go, I see.


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