There is a moment, right before you speak, in which you hold the power to choose your words. This moment is fleeting and, since most of us aren’t aware of its existence, we don’t take advantage of its potential. But in situations where our patience is being tested, this pause offers the perfect opportunity to practice loving-kindness.
In these challenging circumstances, your subconscious likes to take the path of least resistance, the path that has been most frequently used throughout your life. The path with the deepest ruts. Take, for example, the case of an annoying driver who cuts right in front of you, causing you to use your brakes. For most, their knee-jerk reaction is to mentally or verbally send harsh words to the other driver. However, there is a moment before you react in which you have the power to choose your reaction. You can consciously choose a mindful path, one that keeps you in equilibrium and doesn’t spike your blood pressure or put you in a foul mood.
In that moment, that precious pause, it is possible to train yourself to think these three things before speaking: Are my words true? Are they necessary? Are they kind? Apply these three questions to everything that comes out of your mouth, especially at times when impulse wants to rule. If what you are going to say is not true, necessary, or kind, perhaps it’s best not to say anything at all. The power of the pause is that it allows you to begin cultivating loving-kindness. And this will bring more peace to your inner world.