Speak with Wisdom and Intent

Speak with Wisdom and Intent

Communication is essential. I recently went to a workshop in Spirit Rock that helped me articulate myself with sageness and purpose. This knowledge emerged from the spiritual writer Donald Rothberg who taught me the value of communication with intent.

Communication can affect your well-being, but did anyone ever tell you how to talk? To optimize your UWB (Ultimate Well-Being) using communication, keep this in mind: 

  1. Remember Donald’s wisdom guidelines
  2. Check-in with yourself how you become distracted 
  3. Remain present in conversations

How many of us have heard: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. 

True, but our words can hurt others.  Hi everyone, Clarence here. I’m guilty of saying things in the past which I’ve regretted, things better left unsaid or even better left unthought of.  Before we were hoarding stockpiles of toilet paper, I attended a wise and intentful communications workshop taught by Donald Rothberg, one of the leading writers on socially engaged Buddhism in the United States. 

Kurt and I have both had previous enlightening experience with Buddhism We wanted to know: how do we take these spiritual lessons and incorporate them into our daily lives. To not only live with truthfulness but also interact and communicate with intention? 

At the deepest level, the conversation is not a conversation but a communion. Words can create happiness, the power to inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope.  Donald taught us how to bridge this gap with four guidelines to developing wise speech. 

  1. Truthfulness
  2. Helpfulness
  3. Kindness
  4. Clear Intention

He adds that we can identify our areas of growth by asking ourselves: 

  1. How am I not entirely truthful?
  2. How do I get distracted? What helps me to have clear intention in my speaking and writing?
  3. Which of the four guidelines do I most easily follow?
  4. When I speak mindfully, what is present in my mind and heart?

Earlier, we wrote how improv improves your ability to remain present and listen attentively. Similar to improv, Donald stresses not to think about what you are going to say while the person is talking. Easier said than done right? Hear the person completely and then begin the thinking process. 

To listen and talk with intention:

  1. Check-in and set intentions
  2. Keep grounded in your body, especially when listening
  3. Move toward 50% inward attention, 50% outward attention
  4. Cultivate 50/50 attention while listening

By maintaining mindfulness and compassion, we can increase the intelligence and energy often found in judgments. This creates a virtual cycle shown in the ladder below.

You can view more of Donald’s book here

Recommended Readings

  1. Teachings of the Buddha / Jack Kornfield
  2. The Dhammapada / Translation by Gils Fronsdale
  3. What the Buddha Taught / Walpola Rahula


It’s your time to start speaking and communicating with wisdom and intent.

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