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Listening brings freedom

Listening brings freedom

The Book of Life, January 5, HarperSanFrancisco, 1995

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When you make an effort to listen, are you listening? Is not that very effort a distraction that prevents listening? Do you make an effort when you listen to something that gives you delight?... You are not aware of the truth, nor do you see the false as the false, as long as your mind is occupied in any way with effort, with comparison, with justification or condemnation...

Listening itself is a complete act; the very act of listening brings its own freedom. But are you really concerned with listening, or with altering the turmoil within? If you would listen, sir, in the sense of being aware of your conflicts and contradictions without forcing them into any particular pattern of thought, perhaps they might altogether cease. You see, we are constantly trying to be this or that, to achieve a particular state, to capture one kind of experience and avoid another, so the mind is everlastingly occupied with something; it is never still to listen to the noise of its own struggles and pains. Be simple ... and don’t try to become something or to capture some experience.

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