Manipal Monk: Speak your truth quietly

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

All of us have a store of knowledge we have gained from our own experience of life and the experience of others. To us this is truth, because we have found it to work in our case. We base our life on it. We should always remember, however, that this is our experience of truth and that it does not mean that there is no other view of truth. There is only one “you” in this world and nobody can experience things in exactly the same way as you do. This is the beauty of living. We seem to be so very much alike in so many ways, and yet each of us has a unique way of looking at the world, for we all look from a unique position.

Speak your Truth Quietly
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Let’s have a little demonstration of this. Close one eye and make a mental note of all the things you can see. Have you done that? Now open that one and close the other. A different picture, but including some of the things you saw with the first eye. Now if you shift your head in any direction and did the same thing, you would have a slightly different picture. Now think of the space your head is occupying or filling at this particular moment. No one else in this vast world of people can occupy that space at that particular moment, and so what you see now nobody else can see in the same way. I could go on to say that what you are seeing now depends very much on what you are bringing to it. If you are looking at the walls of a room, you may be thinking “What a lovely room!” remembering all the hard work and sacrifice you had to put in to get the house, the room’s shape, size, colour, furnishings. A spouse looking at the same room may be saying, “All I can see is the four walls; my husband doesn’t take me anywhere,” and so those walls seem like a prison cell.

The point I am trying to make is that you have a unique experience of life and you are entitled to speak of it as you see it.

In addition to this, the experience you have gained from books, newspapers, magazines, films, travel, meditation and contemplation, among others, has also enlarged your perception of truth. Speak about it quietly. You do not have to make everybody miserable when you are speaking your truth. You do not have to get into a rage either, or shout at the top of your voice. People will make the effort to listen if you speak quietly. This, of course, depends on if at heart you are a serene person.

Now I know that some people think that speaking quietly is a sign of weakness; that occurs when the society admires the crude, the physically strong, the shallow, the cheap. In our society, this is a hangover from the British times, when the managers and bookkeepers had to swear at the field workers to get them to work. Those workers who were chosen to be  supervisors  had to be big and strong, since these were the symbols of violence – the only language those who were working understood and respected. Even today, some employees do not respond to gentle treatment. They think that you are soft and weak. The more civilised a society becomes, the more it admires courtesy and gentleness, beauty of character, the profound and all that is noble.

If we are sure of ourselves – despite the hindrances – we can still speak our truth quietly, relying on our experience and that of others to support and defend that truth. The power of words does not lie in the amount of noise you make in uttering them, but in the truth they convey. There is an old saying, “Empty vessels make the most noise.” The old people were not too far wrong. The more a person knows, the less he/she talks, because he recognizes how much he does not know – and when that person does talk, it is usually in very quiet tones. So speak your truth quietly.

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