Listening Without Thought
I do not know whether you have listened to a bird. To listen to something demands that your mind be quiet—not a mystical quietness, but just quietness. I am telling you something, and to listen to me you have to be quiet, not have all kinds of ideas buzzing in your mind. When you look at a flower, you look at it, not naming it, not classifying it, not saying that it belongs to a certain species—when you do these, you cease to look at it. Therefore, I am saying that it is one of the most difficult things to listen—to listen to the communist, to the socialist, to the congressman, to the capitalist, to anybody, to your wife, to your children, to your neighbor, to the bus conductor, to the bird—just to listen. It is only when you listen without the idea, without thought, that you are directly in contact; and being in contact, you will understand whether what he is saying is true or false; you do not have to discuss.
Listen with Ease. Have you ever sat very silently, not with your attention fixed on anything, not making an effort to concentrate, but with the mind very quiet, really still? Then you hear everything, don’t you? You hear the far off noises as well as those that are nearer and those that are very close by, the immediate sounds—which means really that you are listening to everything. Your mind is not confined to one narrow little channel. If you can listen in this way, listen with ease, without strain, you will find an extraordinary change taking place within you, a change that comes without your volition, without your asking; and in that change there is great beauty and depth of insight.