Andrea Adler, in her book The Science of Spiritual Marketing, writes of advice she was given from Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, “meditation master and spiritual head of the Siddha Yoga lineage,” about “right speech” (195).
The following four questions are what Chidvilasananda calls the “four gatekeepers of speech”:
Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it beneficial?
Is it the right time?
From the reading of that entire book, these remain with me, for our words have great impact upon the world. How often do we throw out words, casually, that lessen another’s purpose or place in life?
For serious matters, I hope to take a moment to let these gatekeepers guide me. Is what I want to say the truth? If it is not true, don’t say it. If it is true, is it a kind thing to say? The truth hurts, yes, and perhaps it is not always necessary to blurt it out.
If it is true and kind, think further: is it beneficial? Will this help the hearer in some way? Will it help me in some way? Will it help the world in some way?
Finally, if it is true, kind, and beneficial, one must consider: is this the appropriate time to say it? Would it be better to wait for a more timely moment? Would it be better to wait until other people are not around?
One knows these things in one’s heart. If what you are going to say is not kind, you will feel it before you think through it to reach that conclusion. If the timing is poor, you will know it intuitively.
Trust your intuition and live the best you can with these four gatekeepers of speech. Much harm can be done by thoughtless words, but, perhaps even greater harm can be done by the omission of a true, kind, beneficial and timely utterance. Courage then to put your best words forward!