Jack Kornfield continues his series of talks on practice in daily life by focusing on developing uprightness of heart, Right Speech, and how we can learn to let our words come more directly from our heart.
This talk from Jack Kornfield was originally published on DharmaSeed.org
Uprightness of Heart
Continuing his exploration of practice in daily life, Jack begins by talking about how the concept of Sila, or uprightness of heart, relates to the next steps on the Eightfold Path. He shares how choosing a path with heart requires this uprightness of heart and harmony with our being. Jack tells a powerful story about what it means to live with an awakened heart.
“So harmony means an absence of such strong force of greed, of hatred, of delusion, that we end up acting on it. It has a positive meaning as well, it means a nurturance of that karma of joy, or serenity in truth, or integrity…” – Jack Kornfield
Ram Dass talks about the way of harmony in Here and Now Ep. 180
Right Speech and the Power of Words (11:30)
Jack focuses on Right Speech, which is the first of the three steps on the Eightfold Path that are associated with uprightness of heart. He talks about the tremendous power of words to both awaken us and put us to sleep. Jack shares the two principles of Right Speech and talks about why it’s important to investigate our speech and recognize when it’s not skillfully used.
“What Right Speech does, it asks us a question: Can we start to become conscious of all these hours where we talk on automatic pilot? Can we make it become more useful to ourselves and to our planet, to that question I asked: What do you care about? What do you want for the world and for yourself?” – Jack Kornfield
Joseph Goldstein covers the topic of useless speech in Insight Hour Ep. 9
Speech from the Heart (21:30)
Jack wants to change the term Right Speech to Speech from the Heart. He asks what keeps us from speaking the truth. Is there something we really need to say to someone but won’t? Jack talks about how most people really value integrity and how understanding Sila, understanding virtue, can help us learn to live from the heart.
“If we could do just Right Speech, we would change our lives, we would change the world, and we would become enlightened, just in that. Enlightened means awakened to what we do and what’s true. Because to speak truly means that one has to touch one’s heart, one has to listen to it, one has to be there. And then all the rest of what one calls a path with heart follows from that.” – Jack Kornfield