Listening is very different from just 'hearing.'
I know you can hear, there is no trouble about it ¯ but you cannot listen. Listening is totally different from hearing. Listening means hearing without mind; listening means hearing without any interference of your thoughts; listening means hearing as if you are totally empty. If you have even a small trembling of thinking inside, waves of subtle thoughts surrounding you, you will not be able to listen, although you will be able to hear. And to listen to the music, the ancient music, the eternal music, one needs to be totally quiet ¯ as if one is not. When you are, you can hear; when you are not, you can listen.
Osho, Ancient Music in the Pines, Talk #9
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In a small school the teacher found that one boy was not listening. He was very lazy and fidgety, restless. So she asked; ‘‘Why? Are you in some difficulty? Are you not able to hear me?”
The boy said, ‘‘Hearing is okay, listening is the problem.”
He made a really subtle distinction. He said, ‘‘Hearing is okay, I am hearing you; but listening is the problem” ¯ because listening is more than hearing; listening is hearing with full awareness. Just hearing is okay, sounds are all around you ¯ you hear, but you are not listening. You have to hear, because the sounds will go on knocking at your eardrum; you have to hear. But you are not there to listen, because listening means a deep attention, a rapport ¯ not a constant commentary inside, not saying yes or no, not agreeing, disagreeing, because if you agree and disagree, in that moment how can you listen to me?
When you agree, what I said is already past; when you disagree, it is already gone. And in the moment you nod your head inside, say no or yes, you are missing ¯ and this is a constant thing inside you.
You cannot listen. And the more knowledge you have the more difficult listening becomes. Listening means innocent attention ¯ you simply listen. There is no need to be in agreement or disagreement. I am not in search of your agreement or disagreement. I am not asking for your vote, I am not seeking your following, I am not in any way trying to convince you.
What do you do when a parrot starts screeching in a tree? Do you comment? Yes, then too you say, ‘‘Disturbing.” You cannot listen even to a parrot. When the wind is blowing through the trees and there’s the rustling noise, do you listen to it? Sometimes, maybe, it catches you unawares. But then too you comment, ‘‘Yes, beautiful!”
Now watch: whenever you comment, you fall asleep. The mind has come in, and with the mind the past and future enter. The vertical line is lost ¯ and you become horizontal. The moment mind enters you become horizontal. You miss eternity.
Simply listen. There is no need to say yes or no. There is no need to be convinced or not convinced. Simply listen, and the truth will be revealed to you ¯ or the untruth! If somebody is talking nonsense, if you simply listen the nonsense will be revealed to you ¯ without any commentary from the mind. If somebody is speaking the truth, it will be revealed to you. Truth or untruth is not an agreement or a disagreement of your mind, it is a feeling. When you are in total rapport, you feel, and you simply feel that it is true or it is untrue ¯ and the thing is finished! No worrying about it, no thinking about it! What can thinking do?
If you have been brought up in a certain way, if you are a Christian, or a Hindu, or a Mohammedan, and I am saying something which happens to agree with your upbringing, you will say yes. If it doesn’t happen so, you will say no. Are you here or is only the upbringing here? And upbringing is just accidental.
The mind cannot find what is true, the mind cannot find what is untrue. The mind can reason about it, but all reasoning is based on conditioning. If you are a Hindu you reason in one way, if you are a Mohammedan you reason in a different way. And every type of conditioning rationalizes. It is not really reasoning: you rationalize.
Osho, And the Flowers Showered, Talk #7
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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.
Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of The Buddha, Vol. 7, Talk #9
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