My mouth sometimes gets ahead of my mind and ill considered words get me into trouble. After I had been at Ananda for a few years, I came up with what I thought was a brilliant plan to make myself slow down. Whenever I realized I was talking without thinking, I would stop immediately—in the middle of a sentence, even in the middle of a word. “Oh, never mind,” I would say, putting my hand over my mouth.
I was working for Swamiji as his secretary. Every afternoon I would go to his house to deliver the mail. Several others would usually be there, too. We would have tea with Swamiji, give him the news of the day, and talk about many things. In keeping with my new plan, I would sometimes stop what I was saying with an, “Oh, never mind.”
This went on for several weeks. One afternoon, Swamiji began to speak to me very seriously.
“I was meditating this afternoon,” he said, “and Babaji came to me. He had a message for you.”
I had never heard Swamiji say anything like this before. I could hardly breathe.
“Babaji told me to tell you,” Swamiji paused, then lifted his hand; just before covering his mouth he said, “Oh, never mind.”
I began to laugh and so did Swamiji.
“You did that very well!” I said. “My heart is pounding.” Then I asked, “Is it that annoying?”
“Yes,” Swamiji said. “Please stop.”
If he had told me I was behaving like an idiot, I would have been so embarrassed it would have taken me weeks to recover. But through humor, he knew he could reach me. Of course, I never did it again.