By: Virginia Iversen
The Four Gateways of Speech are four questions that come from the Sufi tradition. These four contemplative questions help to determine the merit of a conversation prior to engaging in the conversation. The Four Gateways of Speech are: Is it True? Is it Kind? Is it Necessary? Is my Timing Appropriate? By contemplating these questions prior to engaging in a conversation, especially a difficult conversation, you will be able to more clearly ascertain the situation at hand, your own preconceptions about the other person and his or her underlying motives, as well as the ultimate effect of the conversation on both of you.
As Yogis and Yoginis, we are all striving for greater physical well-being and mental health. Many of us also long for a deep understanding of the divine, in addition to a sense of unification with the divine energy. By choosing to only engage in conversations that are true, kind, appropriate and necessary, we limit negative interactions. We will also be more able to step away from downward spiraling negative conversations and contracted states of being. Physical and mental contraction diminishes our energy, creativity and well-being.
Take the example of submitting a class proposal to the director of the Yoga studio where you teach. You are very excited about introducing a new style of Yoga to the students at the studio. Surprisingly, you do not hear anything back from the director of the studio, but to your dismay you find out in a few weeks that the class you proposed is on the schedule and is slated to be taught by another teacher! You feel thoroughly demoralized and betrayed.
According to the Four Gateways of Speech, it is imperative in this situation to pause long enough to determine if your timing is appropriate before you approach the director of the studio. In business, this is absolutely critical to your success as a Yoga instructor. Imagine the director’s response if you approach him or her just prior to teaching a class when there are a number of students within hearing distance.
Not only will the director being uncomfortable with the students listening to the conversation, he or she will most likely also be angry that you have raised a difficult issue just prior to teaching a class, and in doing so throwing him or her completely off-center. Your chances of a successful, uplifting and productive conversation are much better if you find a quiet time in a private space to approach such a sticky issue with diplomacy, an open mind and a respectful attitude.
© Copyright 2016 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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