Every year around new years, a group of us gather to do a “silent night meditation”.  We go for four hours, breaking every 30 minutes with the sound of a bell and someone doing a 2 or 3 minute reading or something, then back into meditation.

This is my favorite practice of the year.. I love the longness of it, enough time that I feel like I can watch my mind settle down.

This year my meditation was to repeat a vow from the fourth Precept over and over and over again because as we set our intentions for the new year, right speech remains my single greatest point of practice:

Right Speech Vow

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving-speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering.

Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am determined to speak truthfully with words that inspire self-confidence, joy and hope.

I will not spread news that I do not know to be certain and will not criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure.

I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord or that can cause the family or community to break.

I am determined to make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts however small.

~from “The Blooming of a Lotus” by Thich Nhat Hanh