Especially in this deeply fraught and challenging year, Pesach – and the seven week period leading to Shavuot – offers all a precious opportunity for a “spiritual reset.”

This part of the Jewish yearly cycle resonates powerfully with our mindfulness practice, which invites us to explore our inner life with curiosity, growing in awareness of our reactive, fear-based habits. Attending with curious, nonjudgmental attention to the truth of each moment (hitlamdut), we witness more clearly the energy of this “shadow” in our mind, emotions, and body.

And approaching this inner Mitzrayim (constriction) or frightened ego with compassion rather than harsh judgment, we experience greater spaciousness—greater freedom to shift that energy in a more wholesome or holy direction. We move with greater ease through the mouth of the Sea, into the midbar, the open wilderness. We are free.

In particular, Pesach invites us to cultivate greater awareness of the truthfulness in our thoughts and speech, to expand our freedom to direct the sacred gift of language to promoting Emet/Truth in the world.

The Hebrew word Pesach can be parsed into two distinct words—peh sach, or “speaking mouth.” According to a Hasidic understanding, Passover represents the liberation of speech. As slaves, the Israelites could only utter a raw, anguished cry (Exodus 2:23); in freedom, they could sing exultantly the “Song of the Sea” (Exodus 15:1-19).

In the swirling, powerful emotions of our times, even those of us who profess outrage at daily distortions of language and disregard for facts may discover ourselves “bending the truth” to suit our own preconceptions and biases. Mindfulness can help us catch ourselves more often when fear generates rationalizing thoughts or tendencies to fudge the truth. We may notice constrictions leading us to avoid “inconvenient” truths that challenge our preferred version of reality. Instead of harshly criticizing such inclinations, we can honor our fear, practice self-compassion, and notice options to promote truthfulness.

As a specific practice leading up to Pesach, consider the teaching of the prophet Zechariah, who urges us to “speak the truth with your neighbor; judge with truth, justice, and peace in your gates” (Zechariah 8:16). Think of the “gates” as the place within us from which thoughts, emotions, and sensations arise to consciousness. Notice reactions arising, and the speech these reactions might generate. Pause and practice sh’tikah, silence. Consider these questions: Do I really need to say these words? Are they true? Are they just? Do they lead to shalom, to wholeness or wholesomeness?

As we approach Pesach, the liberation of speech, may we be freed from inner constrictions distorting our view of reality. May we pause before speaking, texting, writing or posting, and discern whether to remain silent or to express ourselves through words reflecting our highest and truest selves May Emet, the Divine quality of truth, flow freely through us, and fill the cracks of this fractured world.