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My quest to speak clearly? - Dhamma Wheel

My quest to speak clearly?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
JDW
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Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:59 pm

My quest to speak clearly?

Postby JDW » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:01 pm

Its like I've got this brilliant clear natural voice but I lose it and fall into this really unclear voice that I have no confidence in at all. It's like I know I can speak really easily and clearly without strain or difficulty. However I practically always have spoken in this voice that doesn't feel right, nobody understands me 30% of the time and feels really forced and pressured.

When I'm speaking like this, it makes me feel so self-conscious and when people ask me to repeat myself I get angry inside because it takes so much effort speaking like this. It shouldn't feel that way though, I should be able to project my voice naturally whilst doing handstands and push ups, you get the point.

An amazing thing happened not so long ago, I recorded myself on many occasions because I found it helped with my self-development as a person. It ended up being just something to do for fun and maybe a reassurance, safety blanket I could use when I felt really bad or needed to get something off my mind. Well I was recording once and I was speaking into the camera and I remember saying: Wow I spend so much time thinking about how my voice sounds, adjusting it consciously all the time so I don't sound like this or that. So I decided to "just speak" and let it out how I wanted too not how I thought everyone else wanted to hear me sound or how I would sound the best. I just spoke in a way which felt pleasurable for me, in a way this lead me to being able to reduce my self-consciousness on my voice by at least 70% and therefore free up so much mental energy and making me super energetic.

For the next 3 days I was over the moon with happiness, at the time I was living in a mess on a military base. I suffered serious anxiety and I think majority of it was because I was so inside my head and self conscious because of my voice issue. Which let me say is so hard to explain to people, people just don't understand what I'm trying to tell them and I think its because I find it hard to explain to my self. All I know is I've got a voice like everybody else that shouldn't be difficult to use, it should be easy and fun. Anyway back on the 3 days, I was so confident, I was speaking without thinking about how I sounded, I just knew I sounded great now anyway that was the irony, I sounded a MILLION times better when I stopped trying to sound perfect or come across a certain way. Most importantly I was speaking at ease, it was pleasureable to speak and it was CLEAR, crystal clear. I was just getting on with my days with so much more ease and confidence, I was speaking much more, asking questions, not being afraid to fail in anything I did, just being my self.

Then something happened, I had a mental issue which concerns certain intrusive thoughts (OCD) but I don't want to talk about that. To say it stopped my progress full on is an understatement, anyway these thoughts completely blew me of my road of progress. I'm now at a stage where the thoughts no longer bother me to such an extreme extent that I was afraid to speak, I know much more about how to deal with OCD thoughts of the nature I was having.

So, its funny because I still have the recordings of when I went from my unclear voice I'd been using for so many years to a dramatic and amazing switch to this natural voice I like to call it. So I tried looking back at them and trying to understand how I made the switch but I really am not 100 percent sure how on earth I did it. All I know is its not just in my mind and I can speak clearly and I just think I don't, I know there is a MASSIVE difference between my unclear and naturally clear voice.

I'm going to carry on searching for the answer again but I decided to post this on this forum because I think the Buddhist community are very wise to say the very least. Maybe somebody can relate or understand this in a helpful way, I would love any comment from you guys and hope somebody can give me some advice and their opinion on this.

Am I thinking too much about how I sound, should I drop all this conscious effort to have this natural voice back at my vocals? I know that at the moment I'm afraid to speak or leave the house at times because I have such a low confidence in my voice, speaking on the phone and conversing with people in general causes major anxiety. Its like living without a voice, sure people can hear me if I raise my voice (which is like shouting to my vocal chords) or repeat myself 2-5 times but the mental energy and the self-consciousness and avoidance of saying anything at all this causes is not a life I want to live, my self esteem just hits bottom and I need to find my voice again that is there just waiting to be used.

EDIT: Something that's drove me insane since childhood was that I went to speech therapy as a child and would often get comments in school about not being understood or friendly banter about how I couldn't pronounce certain words or had a lisp. It made me really self conscious with my voice and by the time I hit High School and was introduced to 200 people I didn't know, shyness rapidly hit me turning into daily anxiety by the time I went into college. Yes I think far too much conscious concentration is focused on my voice.
Last edited by JDW on Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mikenz66
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Location: New Zealand

Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:29 pm

Hi JDW,

I'm not clear about your question. Are you asking how Buddhism could help your condition, or asking for general advice?

Best Wishes
Mike

SarathW
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Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby SarathW » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:41 pm

King George VI had Stuttering problem but he overcome his problems and became a great king!
Some times your weakness could be your greatest asset.
There is good movie called Kings Speech. Please watch that.
This is the footage of the real speech.
:)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1TubkzxPFY
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Aloka
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Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby Aloka » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:54 pm

Hi JDW,

As well as speech problems, you've mentioned having major anxiety, as well as OCD and lack of self-esteem. My advice to you would be to speak to a health professional about your difficulties because Its possible that you might need therapy or counselling to help you with your difficulties.

Wishing you all the best ,

Aloka

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:20 am

Hello JDW

First of all, see a psychologist and a psychiatrist. That level of suffering has to be dealt with the help of people whose expertise is to help people with mental suffering.

If you have that part covered I can share some of my experience that may apply to you. I've dealt with mental health problems all my adult life. I'm much better now. I have learned some things along the way.
I've learned to deal with my problems mainly with two strategies. One of them is to do metta for myself. Metta means loving kindness. It is a form of meditation where you arouse feelings of loving kindness (either to your self, or to a dear relative, etc.). A good guide can be found here: http://www.buddhanet.net/metta_b.htm . This is very important. Low self esteem problems can be handled very skilfuly with loving kindness towards yourself.
The other strategy is by practicing mindfulness. You have to be relatively stable to practice either of the forms of meditation. And even then you should aproach it gradualy. But cuting to the chase, your goal is to clearly comprehend that the fear you feel is unjustified. What I mean is that you attribute more importance to the fear you have, than the importance it actualy has. Fear has a function, from the evolution point of view. It enables you to avoid risks that might get you injured or killed. But we are humans. Independent humans in a civilised society. Fear has almost no function anymore. It's an unjustified emotion. It only makes you suffer because you think it's justified. You think it's a valid emotion that you should care about. That you should act acording to that fear. In reality, that's not true.
The Buddha explained that the cause of suffering is attachment, aversion and ignorance. Fear is a form of aversion. Ask yourself: have you ever really benefited from the fear you have? Meaning: you obviously prefer not to feel pain, or to get sick. But you can act to do that without fear. Fear is useless. Its importance is completely unjustified. Have you ever benefited from fear in a way that you wouldn't just with the preference for well being, that is natural to all humans? How much suffering has fear brought you? I bet a gigantic amount. How much happiness? I doubt there's any. The advantage of trying to see this for yourself far outweighs the disadvantages.
Regarding your voice. I heard a teaching, not too long ago, by the great monk Ajahn Chah. When people would go for him to ask for help with their suffering he would often reply: "what are you attached to?" That's what it boils down to. You had a taste of what it's like for you to speak with a clear voice. It must have felt very, very good. Now that you don't seem to be able to do it, you are suffering. You are attached to speaking with a clear voice. It's perfectly understandable that you feel that way. But the attachment to that experience will only lead to suffering. It doesn't mean that you lose preference for speaking with a clear voice. It just means that attachment is not helping you feel better. Just let go of that attachment as if you were relaxing a muscle.

EDIT: I forgot to add something important. I don't mean to say that you should not feel fear. You do, and you will, feel fear. What I mean is that, if you understand that that emotion is completely blown out of proportion, that you give much more importance than it really has, then you will feel fear, but in a very different way. It reminds me of a story told by a tibetan master once: he was talking about how a group of tibetan refugees went to the movies for the first time. They had never, ever seen any TV before. So, for example, when it started to rain in the movie, they tried to protect themselves from the rain. He compared this behaviour with our human behaviour towards experience. Not to get technical, people attribute importance to emotions and views that they don't really have. And what has been my understanding of this analogy so far is that I now feel fear, but I don't care much. It's a sensation in the body. An unpleasant one. But it's no longer debilitating.

I hope this helps.

Again, this has to be done while being followed by mental health professionals.

Be well.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

JDW
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:59 pm

Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby JDW » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:52 pm


JDW
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:59 pm

Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby JDW » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:58 pm


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Mkoll
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Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:36 pm

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:06 pm

He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Aloka
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Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby Aloka » Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:05 pm

Last edited by Aloka on Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JDW
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Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:59 pm

Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby JDW » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:35 pm


JDW
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:59 pm

Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby JDW » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:37 pm


JDW
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:59 pm

Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby JDW » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:40 pm


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Modus.Ponens
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Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:29 am

He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

JDW
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:59 pm

Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby JDW » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:03 pm


binocular
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Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby binocular » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:47 pm

I used to record my voice and tried this and that vocal practice to improve it. That didn't work, eventually, it just got me upset and made my throat hurt.
In my personal experience and insight, the core of the problem is that when I'm not sure what I want or what I'm supposed to do, then my voice goes awry.
When I have a to-do list, a schedule, when I have a clear idea what I'm supposed to be doing at a given time, then my speaking is clear and I feel good about it.

So, basically, being clear about what tasks I need to do and attending to those tasks takes care of a lot of other things (for me, that's both voice and posture).

JDW
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Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby JDW » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:06 pm


binocular
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Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:20 am

I hope and wish you find a way that works best for you!

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modernmonk
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Re: My quest to speak clearly?

Postby modernmonk » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:30 pm

Hello JDW,

In regards to your voice, try slowing down. The voice will become clearer and more relaxed as you slow down and ease any present anxiety.

As a child I experienced a stretch where I was constantly stuttering. I went to a speech pathologist where I learned to speak slower. It might seem trivial, but it works.

Through practicing meditation, your mind will gradually loosen its attachment to thoughts. This will ease anxiety, allow you to think more clearly, and result in better articulation. All of these factors will improve your quest to speak for clearly and effectively.

Forgiveness meditation can be incredibly useful in letting go of attachments.


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