The important thing to do when you're about to give some possibly critical feedback is to scan your mind and emotions. Look inside to see that your intentions are pure. Make sure you're not just wanting to put someone down, or that you're not just expressing your own hardened patterns of opinions and frustrations.
Obviously, anything we do in this world will tend to be a mixed bag of motivations, however one step we can take to purify our motivations before communicating honest feedback to others is to stop for a moment and use our own will power and mental power to observe and ensure that our intentions are anchored in good. Visualize what you hope the outcome of your communication will be. Our intentions are the powers behind our actions; therefore, we should always pay attention to our intentions whenever we act or speak.
Don't wait for things to get so out of hand that you can't control your anger about a person or situation. As soon as things get a little bit bad, you can take action, speak up, and deal with the budding problem right then. Don't wait for a sprout to become a big yard full of tangled weeds.
If you're upset with somebody and don't communicate with them about why you are upset, then they'll most likely continue doing things that rub you the wrong way, and you'll most likely keep bristling and feeling anger. Such emotions could end up affecting your state of mind, your work, your home life, and all kinds of things - including, of course, your experience of happiness.
Of course, balance is also required with learning to communicate honestly and positively. To create outer happiness along with spiritual happiness, we may need to control our outer expressions to some degree. If you went around indiscriminately telling everyone exactly what you really think, some of those folks may not like you so much anymore. You might push their buttons, or break their rules. How beautiful life is when we seek and find happy solutions for challenging problems!
I remember a scene from the black and white, 20th century, "I Love Lucy" television show, where Lucy and her friends, while playing cards together, made a pact to speak exactly what they thought, honestly and fearlessly. Eventually, they critiqued one another's style of dress and behavioral traits to such a degree that, by the end of the card game, they were all quite angry at one another. Therefore, this practice of communicating with clarity and honesty is always a balance, as well as a skill that we can continually cultivate and refine.
A diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way
that you actually look forward to the trip.
- Caskie Stinnett
Some folks might bristle a bit from even well intentioned honesty, but they may also eventually find your honest feedback helpful in their own journeys - perhaps without even realizing that some of their positive shifts were sparked by your honest communications. This is one reason why being helpfully honest requires a certain amount of service mentality and detachment from receiving immediate positive feedback from what you have offered.
What matters most is your intention - your attitude of positive helpfulness. If you are feeling anger toward a person or situation, it would probably be best to first take some time to cool off and contemplate what you'd really like to say, beyond just getting something off your chest. Being "honest" in the name of taking revenge or hurting someone's feelings would not be advised. It could make the outer situation worse, and could also bring some unwanted karmic reactions into your life.
The idea of karma is, in basic terms, cause and effect. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In the most simplistic terms, you could say: good in, good out, and bad in, bad out. The actual science of karma is not nearly as simple and neat as that, however, in general, you can assume that positive actions create positive results, and that negative actions create negative results. Within this model of karmic action and reaction, it is our intentions that come back with the most potency.
If we act with a pure intention of being helpful, our actions are more likely to bear positive fruit. Nevertheless, we don't always need to have obvious positive responses and outcomes to know that we are doing the right thing. We know in our soul when we are coming from a pure intent of helpfulness. That's the best time to communicate. With a clear heart and clear communications, we're able to cut out many potential problems at the root, nipping troubles right in the bud. In this way, we begin to create a more honest and happy life, for ourselves and for those around us.
Secrets of Spiritual Happiness
Book, e-book, and audio book
Secrets of Spiritual Happiness
Table of Contents
by Sharon Janis
Section One: Exploring Happiness
Section Two: Introducing Spiritual Happiness
Section Three: 39 Secrets of Spiritual Happiness
3. Know Thyself
14. Choose Happiness
28. Be a Blessing
38. Enjoy the Trip!
39. Be Optimistic
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