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The Art of Listening

"One has to learn very earnestly the art of listening. It is a difficult art, and the greatest difficulty is that everybody thinks he knows it. Just because you can hear, you think you can also listen. And these are two differing things, so different that unless you start listening you will never know the difference.

"In the dictionaries they mean the same thing, but in actual life hearing is only because you have ears. Listening happens when just behind your ears there is no noisy mind but a silent, receptive alertness. If there is a continuously chattering mind behind the ears you only seem to listen. Then there are going to be misunderstandings." Osho

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"When listening to me, sit like a Buddha, silent, receptive, feminine. That's why Buddha looks so feminine – have you watched – no moustache, no beard, and the face of a woman. The meaning is, when you sit silently, your feminine part comes up, surfaces. When you act, your male part comes up, the feminine recedes. When you do something, your male part comes up. When you are in a non-doing, your feminine comes up."

Osho, Come Follow To You, Vol 3, #10

The Art of Listening
Excerpted from: The Invitation, #17

"The art of listening is based on silence in the mind, so that the mind does not interfere, it simply allows whatever is coming to you. I am not saying you have to agree with it. Listening does not mean that you have to agree with it, neither does it mean that you have to disagree with it. The art of listening is just pure listening, factual, undistorted. And once you have listened then comes the point whether you agree or not, but the first thing is to listen.

"If you listen to something which is true there is no question of disagreement. If it is untrue, naturally you have to disagree with it. But your agreement or disagreement should come not from the prejudiced mind, but from the unprejudiced heart. Listening is from the heart, and hearing is from the mind, it is very superficial. And because the heart is deeper, any word that enters you first has to encounter the mind. Before it reaches the heart, the mind has done many things with it.

"A man is standing at the bar and another guy walks up to him and says, 'Are you Joe Smith?'
The man says, 'Yes.'
The guy says, 'Were you in Chicago a few weeks ago?'
Joe says, 'Just a minute,' and takes out his notebook, turns some pages, and then says, 'Yes, I was in Chicago a few weeks ago.'
The guy says, 'Were you in room two one three?'
Joe looks in his notebook and says, 'Yes.'
The guy says, 'Did you meet Mrs. Wentworth in room two one four?'
Joe looks in his notebook and says, 'Yes.'
The guy says, 'Tell me, did you make love to Mrs. Wentworth?'
Joe scans his notebook again and says, 'Yes, I made love to Mrs. Wentworth.'
The guy says, 'Well, I'm Mr. Wentworth and I don't like it.'
Again Joe looks in his notebook and says, 'You know, that's funny. I did not like it either.'

"This is what you call hearing. He agrees perfectly, but he hears only what he wants to hear; he understands what he wants to understand.

"And this is almost our everyday situation. At least here with me, you have to change this pattern, you have to be utterly silent because things are being said to you which can bring a transformation in your whole life. Here you are not learning geography or history or philosophy; here you are learning the very art, the alchemy of transformation." Osho


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