I love to talk. It is one of my passions and how I convey my passion. I talk to friends, I talk to complete strangers, and when I am alone, I even talk to myself. I love asking questions and finding out more about life; every person, place, and thing is a mystery to be discovered. Just as much as I love to discover, I also love to share my discoveries, to share what I have learned…which inevitably means more talking.
As a child in school, I was the one who always had their hand up first, who was literally bouncing in their seat, near exploding if they didn’t share their answer. I would be so upset if the teacher chose someone else and the reply was always “Amber, you have to give other people a chance.”
Now that I am a little older, with a little more experience….I still love to talk. However, I have thought a lot about what my teachers were saying. As a result, I have been able to incorporate some Asteya into my chatty nature. Asteya by definition is non-stealing. Often we think of stealing as being material in nature. What I have realized though is that I steal by talking. I steal people’s time, which they might choose to use otherwise. I steal attention that might otherwise be able to focus on something else. I could possibly even steal joy, that same joy that I feel upon discovering for myself instead of someone else informing me. I steal the other person’s opportunity for expression. As one of my greatest teachers, the Dalai Lama says “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
This doesn’t mean that I have stopped talking altogether, however, it means there is space in my talking, where I listen. Asteya at it’s base element is non-stealing, but in it’s higher form it is also giving. Giving space for people to find the time to express themselves without being swept up in my exuberance. Giving my full attention, which means actually listening instead of thinking about what I am going to say next while they are talking. I have also become more mindful of what comes out of my mouth: I THINK: What is my intention? Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it important or inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
I am certainly not perfect yet but I am practicing and do you know what I have discovered? There is just as much to learn in the silence as the sound. OM!