Excerpt from My Experiments with Truth
Sunday, 11 January 2009
On his Shyness
"I must say that, beyond occasionally exposing me to laughter, my constitutional shyness has been no disadvantage whatever. In fact I can see that, on the contrary, it has been all to my advantage. My hesitancy in speech, which was once an annoyance, is now a pleasure. Its greatest benefit has been that it has taught me the economy of words. I have naturally formed the habit of restraining my thoughts. And I can now give myself the certificate that the thoughtless word hardly ever escapes my tounge or pen. I do not recollect ever having had to regret anything in my speech or writing. I have thus been spared many a mishap and waste of time. Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth. Proneness to exaggerate, to suppress or modify the truth, wittingly or unwittingly, is a natural weakness of man, and silence is necessary in order to surmount it. A man of few words will rarely be thoughtless in his speech; he will measure every word. We find so many impatient to talk. There is no chairman of a meeting who is not pestered with notes for permission to speak and whenever the permission is given, the speaker generally exits the time limit, asks for more time, and keeps on talking without permission. All this talking can hardly be, set to be of any benefit to the world. It is so much waste of time. My shyness has been in reality my sheet and buckler. It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of truth. ..."