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Gentle Speech


   The level of speech is an indication of how controlled and quiet our mind is. If we attempt to lower the general level and intensity of our voice, it requires a great effort. We must have continual self-awareness and the application of a discipline. In making this effort, there are two things to be considered: the volume of noise while speaking and the content of speech.

   Normally the level of noise indicates the condition of the mind. If our thoughts are rapid and confused, our mouth will express this condition by loud speech. The more quiet our mind is, the more gentle our speech will be. Therefore, it is on the state of our minds that we must apply effort to minimize the noise in the brain by calling in peace and silence.

   When the intensity of the speech becomes very great, it overflows into physical gestures. If we watch ourselves carefully for a week, we will see all the facial movements, arm and leg movements and general bodily contortions that go along with our speech. These physical movements are cruder expressions of the thought. To reduce the gestures or eliminate them requires a great effort of self-consciousness and control. It takes greater strength to sit quietly and calmly without moving a finger for half an hour than to speak vigorously and intensely for the same period.

   For the content of our speech, we must examine how many words we use that are absolutely necessary in answering someone's question. This is a very valuable exercise and we will find that some questions that could be answered in two sentences will be elaborated on in 200 sentences. We need to use just the right quantity of words to exactly express our idea.

   Repetition of an idea over and over is done not to convince the other person, but to convince ourselves. We can see that ideas are actually being formed during the act of speaking itself, and they are repeated until they are finally implanted in the mind of the speaker.

   When someone has to talk about a new idea, he will usually use a louder voice, as he lacks confidence in the idea and uses more force than when talking about a well-known idea. The newer the idea is, the louder the voice.

   The environment also has an impact on noise. Physical uncleanness invites noise. When the surroundings are clean, quiet settles in. As a further step, when the speech is made low and gentle and physical gestures are kept to a minimum, Silence descends.

story | by Dr. Radut