The Three Gates of Speech


Before speaking, we walk ourselves metaphorically through three gates of speech. The first door, we ask ourselves, Is what I’m about to say true? The second door, Is it kind? And the third, Is it necessary?

This simple checklist, which is known to be a sufi saying,  will help us respond better, especially when triggered. It is easy for anyone to get triggered or annoyed by a callous, rude or offensive comment directed at us. It can also be easy to employ the three gates of speech so we can respond more mindfully instead of react.

Sometimes, the best response is no response. The three gates of speech can also buy us time so that we can respond more mindfully when we are not feeling so triggered. This pause can prevent us from saying something regrettable. Our words are very powerful and can be used as weapons. Our speech is an active and alive meditation.

We can apply the three gates of speech (is it true, is it kind, is it necessary) to how we speak to ourselves, to  Thanksgiving dinner, to social media and so on. I love ending my yoga class with anjali mudra to the mouth and throat and verbalizing the three gates of speech.

I wonder if we can get certain politicians to use this checklist, hahaha?