Speak only the speech that neither torments self nor does harm to others. That speech is truly well spoken. Speak only endearing speech, speech that is welcomed. Speech when it brings no evil to others is pleasant. -- Subhasita Sutta
Here's an experiment we're doing this week in the Yoga for Women class:
Try not to speak about someone who is not physically present. If you must refer to someone who is absent in order to answer a question or communicate plans, then speak of them as if they were there.
It's already proving to be a challenge for me because I have a brother laying in a hospital in San Francisco with my mother and another brother there with him. Between phone calls, e-mail and text messages to family and friends, I'm speaking a lot about people who are not physically present. I seem to time my lessons well.
If you're interested, read the short article which was my inspiration for Saturday's class: Skillful Speech by Allan Lokos. Join our experiment for the week or even a day. I suspect that when we begin to think more before speaking in public, we will do the same with our mental chatter, where most of the unskillful speeches are made.