Chapter 9: Man’s Absence Is His Freedom
If you are listening with all kinds of prejudices, that is a wrong way of listening; it is really a way of not listening. You appear to be listening, but you are only hearing not listening. Right listening means you have put aside your mind. It does not mean that you become gullible, that you start believing whatsoever is said to you. It has nothing to do with belief or disbelief. Right listening means, “I am not concerned right now whether to believe or not to believe. There is no question of agreement or disagreement at this moment. I am simply trying to listen to whatsoever it is. Later on I can decide what is right and what is wrong. Later on I can decide whether to follow or not to follow.”
And the beauty of right listening is this: that truth has a music of its own. If you can listen without prejudice, your heart will say it is true. If it is true, a bell starts ringing in your heart. If it is not true, you remain aloof, unconcerned, indifferent; no bell rings in your heart, no synchronicity happens. That is the quality of truth: that if you listen to it with an open heart, it immediately creates a response in your being - your very center is uplifted. You start growing wings; suddenly the whole sky is open.
It is not a question of deciding logically whether what is being said is true or untrue. On the contrary, it is a question of love, not of logic. Truth immediately creates a love in your heart; something is triggered in you in a very mysterious way.
But if you listen wrongly - that is, full of your mind, full of your garbage, full of your knowledge - then you will not allow your heart to respond to the truth. You will miss the tremendous possibility, you will miss the synchronicity. Your heart was ready to respond to truth.. It responds only to truth, remember, it never responds to the untrue. With the untrue it remains utterly silent, unresponsive, unaffected, unstirred. With the truth it starts dancing, it starts singing, as if suddenly a sun has risen and the dark night is no more, and the birds are singing and the lotuses are opening, and the whole earth is awakened.
Exactly like that, when you hear the truth really, totally, immediately something awakens in you. Truth has that immense impact. Hence Buddha will say: Right listening, right effort..
You can make efforts to the extreme, and then you will miss. You can make too much effort and you will miss, or you can make too little effort and you will miss. You can become enlightened only when the effort is exactly balanced, in equilibrium.
Buddha’s word is samyaktva; it is difficult to translate. Only one of its meanings is rightness. Another meaning is equilibrium; and it has a few other qualities about it, too. The third meaning is equanimity. The fourth meaning is, looking at things with a similar eye, with no judgment; looking at things equally, without any a priori judgment or conclusion - looking at things with no conclusion at all. Because if you have a conclusion already, you can’t look at the thing as it is; your conclusion will interfere. But the most important meaning is rightness.