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Conscious Speaking: A Path of Awakening

The sun breaking through the clouds

Speech is our thoughts, our feelings, our intention, and our energy expressed as sound formed into words. Yet, how often are we awake and present enough to slow down this potent creation process?

Truth is electric! Although most of our speech is relative and transitory, when our speech arises from a place of introspection—a place of self-awareness free of projection or defense—it is concise, clear, and penetrating. Conscious speech vibrates in our souls in a lasting manner, reverberating in the heart as truth rather than in the mind as fleeting conjecture.

Whether the speaker or the listener, when words are shared from the deep stillness of the soul, they craft an invitation into openness. If we accept that invitation and employ skills to maintain a shared open space of wakefulness, we can relax into that space. We sense relief from the many facades of the world where we feel uneasy. We can experience trust where truth becomes available. Our speech becomes an expression of that truth.

At a deep level we can hear and sense truth, even in situations where we have been fooled or dealt with dishonestly. We sense it through our intuitive feelings and as a felt sense in our bodies. Yet we are so accustomed to situations of half-truths or distortion (generated by others or by ourselves) that we stop paying attention to these indicators. Our awareness becomes dull. Rather than experiencing truth as something real and tangible, we become satisfied with our interpretations about truth. 

We know our speech is far more than words. Speech is an algorithm, comprised of our thoughts + our feelings + our intention + energy expressed as sound formed into words. Yet, how often are we awake and present enough to slow down this potent creation process, becoming aware before we speak? Rarely. When speech is unconscious, our thoughts and feelings are seldom acknowledged, expressed without filter as blame. Too often our words are thrown like darts to defend or harm. In our reactivity, we are detached from body awareness, ungrounded, unable to trust the energy moving through us. When we’re not present in our speech, our true intentions for speaking remain unexpressed.

In our dullness, we have learned to speak “at” each other through the knot holes of our pain; through our elaborately constructed masks. We rarely speak “with” each other within an open, intentional space where real dialogue can be shared. Yet when conscious or awake in our speech, we learn to reveal strength and our fragility . . . in truth without fear.

The nuances of tone, pace, inflection and body language reveal a poignant picture of our interior landscape; a picture we often want to hide from ourselves and others. Words bring inchoate feelings and thoughts into manifestation, into plain view. They give outer form to our inner sense of who we are in the moment, what we believe about the situation, and the thoughts we use to reify rightness and wrongness. When our words are incongruent with the energy of our speech, we feel out of harmony with ourselves and our environment.

The great news is that you can dedicate speech as your spiritual practice. You can bring awareness straight into the fabric of your words. You can discover speech as a shaman’s tool, and yourself as the healer. For like a shaman, your speech can restore harmony. It can cure dis-ease, change the weather within relationships, calm the turbulent interior storms. Conscious speech can clear muddied waters and misunderstandings. It can bring healing, and offer grace.

Conscious speech is a mindfulness practice… 
an opening to unobscured awareness
of body, mind, and emotions. 

As a spiritual discipline, your speech can become an inter- and intrapersonal meditation. With practice you can take this meditation off the cushion and into the most tenuous situations in life. You can meditate in the middle of a heated conversation, when you learn to: 

  • Pause your reactivity and choose stillness - again and again**
  • Return to the felt sense of your body - soften your belly, find your breath, get grounded
  • Notice which energy centers you are holding tightly, recognize where you’re contracted and choose to relax around your inner “position” - release any need to be right or to defend
  • Let go of preconceptions and gently open to possibility - stay curious
  • Rediscover the part of you that is trustworthy - rest into that trust
  • Listen without interpreting - allow your heart to become your organ of perception

  **You can stabilize inner stillness within the movement of a single conscious breath. (Click HERE for our recorded “One Breath Meditation.”)

At the Nine Gates Mystery School, we share vows. These vows are expressions of our commitment to self-investigation and realization—to living awake in service to our Earth and to each other. Our first vow is to speak consciously, acknowledging our speech as a divine gift; a sacred act of creation. We know this is a lifetime’s work. And we know we will fall back asleep again and again. But we dare make this commitment to one another because we also know that again and again . . . we can wake up. We believe that speech can become a tool for that awakening.

Although our speech may reflect differently, our genuine nature IS Truth. Our soul longs for this Truth to be lived through our interactions. In each moment, we can become present enough, self-aware enough, to know which words—or silence—best serves. May we recognize that our longing for meaningful connections, for trust and belonging, can be healed through our speech. May we devote our speaking to deepen our connections, to acknowledge our collective wisdom rather than our differences, and to celebrate the returning light of our human compassion.

Truth is electric. May conscious speaking become a meaningful path to living more awake!


Deborah Jones is the executive director of Nine Gates Programs, Inc., serving as the spiritual leader and primary teacher of the Mystery Schools and other graduate programs. She is also the founder of Nine Gates Graduate program, the Esoteric School. Deborah has worked intensely with wisdom keepers from around the world, practicing the healing arts, shamanism, the integrative application of the Hindu and Buddhist tantric paths, tribal trance dance, the transpersonal psychology of spiritual awakening through the energy and emotional bodies, and other ancient arts of the wisdom tradition schools.

Deborah says to her Esoteric School Initiates, “The goal of our spiritual practices is liberation; arriving at every moment free to choose beyond reactivity or preconceptions. It’s a liberation where we break the cycle of preconditioned responses and ideas. To be free is to not be bound, and yet every day we choose to tie ourselves to our old views of reality. We can liberate these old views … and thus liberate ourselves! ”


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