Saturday, March 31, 2012

Listening is an Art

Listening itself is quite an art. Most of us never really listen, therefore we hear only partially. We hear the words that are spoken, but our minds are elsewhere; or our minds respond only to the meaning of the words, and this immediate response prevents us from hearing that which lies beyond the words.

So listening is an art; but if you can listen totally to what is being said, then in that very listening you will find there is a liberation, because such listening is unpremeditated, uncalculated; it is an action of truth because your whole mind is there, your total attention is being given.

If you listen without interpreting, without remembering a quotation from some old book, or comparing all this with what you have read, then you will find that your own mind has undergone a really radical change.          
                                                                                     ~ J. Krishnamurti

I have always been intrigued with the skill of listening. From an early age, I was told I was a good listener. I didn't know any different. I just like to listen to what was being said. There was a point in high school where I could repeat verbatim conversations I had experienced. My sister used to quiz me, thinking it was unfathomable for me to remember every word.

I have lost that skill, after years of wanting to say and do the right thing. It is true that we often spend the time someone is speaking trying to form our own response. We all want to say the right thing ~ something intelligent or compassionate or perhaps we just want to argue our point of view.

In any case, radical change is waiting for us if we can but listen, truly and completely with our whole being. The art of listening will bring to us that which lies beyond the words.

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