Insights – The Art of Communicating

19th April 2024

Posted in: Insights

Thich Nhat Hanh shares his secrets to authentically connected with yourself and others.

The style of writing was different than many other books I have read however there were still some key takeaways including


Analogy of communication as food-  either nourishing and growing us or poisoning us

Mindfulness requires awareness and bringing your full attention

Relationships are like flowers that need watering (caring communication) to grow


Connecting internally – knowing what is going on in your body; feelings, emotions and perceptions.

Early on it may be easier to practice mindful communication in writing


Communicating with the breath

  • When you breathe in you come back to yourself when you breath out your release tension
  • Mindful breathing is the practice of non-thinking.


We rely too much on our Technologies for communication

  • Being connected doesn’t always overcome the loneliness
  • We consume products to help us cover up our issues
  • We distract ourselves with television, eating, buying so that we don’t have to go back to ourselves and get in touch with the issues.


Understanding suffering always brings compassion

  • If we don’t understand suffering we don’t understand happiness
  • Self understanding is crucial for understanding another person
  • Self-love is crucial for loving others


Don’t neglect to reserve some time alone each day for communicating with yourself.


We communicate to be understood and to understand others

  • If we are talking and no one is listening we’re not communicating effectively
  • Deep listening needs to come first –  are you listening to someone with the intention of helping that person suffer less without judgement
  • If you want to make someone happy you need to ask do I understand them enough
  • Right speech involves compassion love understanding and generosity
  • Wrong speech lacks openness understanding compassion and reconciliation advice


Guidelines of Communication

1.Tell the truth

Sometimes the truth hurts but you need to work out how the tell the truth in a way that no one suffers unnecessarily.

2. Don’t exaggerate

Exaggeration can paint the wrong image of the other person and take away from the trust in a relationship

3. Be consistent in what you say

Dont speak one way to one person and differently to another about the same thing.

4. Use peaceful language no insults or violent words

Avoid languages that are violent, condemning, abusive, humiliating, accusing or judgemental


Criteria for teaching

1 Speak the language of the world

Speak in terms that everyday people can understand based on their daily experience of life

2. Speak according to the understanding of the person listening

We may have to speak to each person differently depending on their understanding of the world their degree of wisdom and ability to understand what you say

3.Prescribe the right medicine for the disease

Your language has to be appropriate for the situation but will not stray from the truth

4 Reflect the absolute truth


The six mantras of a loving speech

  1. I am here for you – Show you are present.
  2. I know you were there and I am very happy – Letting your love ones know that his or her presence is important to you
  3. I know you suffer and that is why I am here for you- You don’t need to be able to fix the problem you just need to let them know you were there for them
  4.  I suffer I need help – Sometimes we must overcome our pride to ask for help
  5. This is a happy moment – This is sharing with the other person that we are lucky and happy to spend the time together
  6. 6. You are partly right – Help people retain their humility but also positivity


When difficulties arise

Communicating when you’re angry

  • When we’re angry we often believe we are angry because of something others did and want them to know it
  • Mindful breathing is useful in anger that sometimes we need to sit in our anger for much longer
  • After you’ve sat with mindful awareness and calmed down you can look deeper into and see where it’s come ie is it just the wrong idea or habit responding to events that don’t reflect our values


Helping each other suffer less

  • Sometimes the reason a person will cause you a lot of pain is actually because they are suffering and they don’t know how to handle it
  • Need them to ask to share with you so you can help them
  • Don’t let pride getting in the way of having a difficult conversation


Mindful communication at work

  • Practising mindfulness when getting ready at home or on your way will mean you’re happier and more relaxed and result in more successful communication
  • The way you think about your work and your work relationships affects how you communicate in your work environment
  • Whatever your position you should set an example by learning to listen to everyone with equal interest and concern
  • Greet your colleagues
  • Practise mindful breathing for talking on the phone or send me an email
  • Schedule a few minutes between meetings.


Humans are one of a few animals that show an element of altruism -willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of others


  1. Thinking –  this is the basis of how we affect the world
  2. Speech –  it can heal and liberate or can cause destruction in pain
  3. Bodily Action –  body language eg clenched fist or open arms but also with our larger actions ie the way we choose to show up for what we do and how we treat others


Everything we do and say there’s our signature and we are responsible for it.

Like the cloud that produces rain it continues to affect the crops long after our actions finish.

While we can’t change what was said in the past BUT using the right communication today can help us heal the past, enjoy the present and prepare for a good future


Practices for compassionate communication

  • Set a reminder for mindful breathing
  • Drinking tea in mindfulness
  • Listen to your inner child
  • Writing someone a letter
  • Peace treaties or peace note
  • Beginning anew
  • Showing appreciation for others
  • The cake in the refrigerator is a symbol that a group would like to restore harmony
  • Hugging meditation


Author: Donna Bruce