Two Ways Of Listening

=== JKrishnamurti.org – Daily Quote ===

You know, there are two ways of listening: to listen casually, to hear a series of ideas, agreeing or disagreeing with them; or there is another way of listening, which is not only to listen to the words and the meaning of those words, but also to listen to what is actually taking place in yourself.

If you listen in this way, then what the speaker says is related to what you are listening to in yourself; then you are not merely listening to the speaker—which is irrelevant—but to the whole content of your being.

And if you are listening in that way with intensity, at the same time and at the same level, then we are both of us partaking, sharing together, in what is actually taking place. Then you have the passion which is going to transform that which is.

Beyond Violence, pp 37-38

=== Thoughts ===

For the first time since I started writing these, I had some trouble figuring out this passage. I had to read it a couple times before I got around my immediate “huh?” reaction. I was doing exactly what Krishnamurti warned against- reading the quote while attempting to understand it in terms of my own ideas, beliefs, and conclusions. I wanted to see where it fit into my own mental scheme, and was searching for a way to justify my agreement with what he’d said.

While Krishnamurti’s talks and writings cover a wide variety of subjects, sometimes it can be frustrating to read what essentially seems like the same point, made time and time again. But as he’s explained before (notably in the incredible series of interviews he recorded with Dr. Alan W. Anderson in 1974), it’s useful to discuss the same subject multiple times, but approaching it in different ways. Using different words, different metaphors, and different examples to shed light on a subject helps the audience to appreciate and understand it more fully. Most of us just aren’t going to understand everything that first time around. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always get it at first glance!

With that in mind, the above passage is quite similar that what we’ve been discussing lately in the past few posts: Real observation, or true perception, requires a negation of the ego and all of it’s associated baggage.

If you agree or disagree with what the things that you read or hear, you have no chance of actually understanding what’s being presented. You’re just evaluating it in terms of similarity to your preconceived conclusions, trying to figure out whether or not it fits with your preexisting mental hierarchy, or classificatory scheme. All you’re doing is reinforcing your own subjective viewpoints, by reinforcing them with further evidence, or reinforcing them by rejecting evidence that you find contradictory (according to your already established beliefs).

If your perception rests on approval or rejection of what others put forth, you will experience entirely according to personal preconceptions and prejudices, translating everything you meet in the present in terms of your past. You experience nothing original, you see nothing new, and your life becomes monotonous, dull, and repetitive.

Listening to what’s actually taking place within yourself does not mean listening to your own internal dialogue. It doesn’t mean listening to your internal verbal response to what you’ve heard, in terms of the words or thoughts that what you’ve witnessed produces, but it means paying attention to the way that you react to what you’ve seen.

It means watching yourself and the movement of your thoughts. It means observing that movement and the career that is your response. The response itself is not what’s important. It’s the mechanism of delivery that counts.

Listening to what’s actually taking place within yourself does not mean identification, attachment, or approval of your response. It means observing the response itself, as an impartial and objective witness. It means watching your reactions to the stimulation introduced by the environment. It means following closely to your response to your surroundings.

Real listening is not possible as long as you remain attached to the self. Your “I” necessarily includes previous experience, all of your self-constructed images and ideas, and even your ideological dogma. Without first negating all of that, without being able to put it all aside, there is absolutely no possibility of perceiving the actual because your perceptions will be a mere translation, or an interpretation of what really exists.

For more on this subject, check out these recent posts: Is There Seeing Without Preconception, Listening To Everything, Observation Without The Screen Of Knowledge, To See Without The Shadow Of Yourself, and What Is Perception.

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