Topics of Conversation
“There are these ten topics of [proper] conversation. Which ten? Talk on modesty, on contentment, on seclusion, on non-entanglement, on arousing persistence, on virtue, on concentration, on discernment, on release, and on the knowledge and vision of release. These are the ten topics of conversation. If you were to engage repeatedly in these ten topics of conversation, you would outshine even the sun and moon, so mighty, so powerful — to say nothing of the wanderers of other sects.” Kathavatthu Sutta, Topics of Conversation, Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
People are listening to what you say. You may not believe it, but it’s probably true.
Many years ago, I went to a really conservative Protestant church. They were obsessed with politics and abortion. So much so that I did a test. I was at the regular Bible study. I looked at the clock to check the time. I sparked a conversation, either about lemon meringue pie or the weather. It was one of those topics because I deliberately chose something ridiculously neutral. How long would it take for the conversation to come back around to politics and abortion? The answer? Less than five minutes!
People may be testing you right now. I’m sure the ladies at the Bible study had no idea just how laughable they seemed. I harbor no ill will towards those women. They were living the most righteous life they knew how. However, I also have no admiration or real respect for them, either. They are the embodiment of what I do not want to become. If someone listened to you, really listened, would you feel good about the positive impact you are trying to make, or horrified at your own pettiness?
Let us outshine the stars.