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Listening without thought

Listening without thought

The Book of Life, January 4, HarperSanFrancisco, 1995

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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.

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