Monday, June 19, 2017

Listen

Many of the old texts and words of the masters begin with the injunction to listen.  Nowadays, "listen" is usually used as a pompous sentence starter for blow hards on the tv making some dogmatic  retort.   However, in the context of the deep points made by our legacy of spiritual giants, it is a prescient command because it is precisely the skill of listening and hearing a teaching which determines its impact.   We live in time where many great teachings are readily available, and many of these teachings were held secret in other time periods.   However, when teachings are so easy to encounter, there tends to be a flippant and subtly dismissive quality to how people regard them.   In fact, one of the reasons that certain teaching were held as secret was so that they could be revealed at a time when they could truly be heard (i.e. one was ripe to receive the transmition).   That said,  we do have a treasury of teaching available, and two things are clear.  Firstly, that with some subtle variations, realized master of good repute indicate almost the same things.  And secondly, something in people still cannot hear it and/or doesn't completely believe them.  For example, to directly encounter a teaching which says "what you take as yourself is actually non-existent" and to think "hmm...interesting" and then continue on with your day means that one hasn't really heard.  To really hear that is earth/self shattering, and even to partially hear it means a deep examination of various implications.   While that example may not be the most apt (because that is a teaching which requires a ripeness to really hear), there are many other teachings which people act like great masters are just talking to hear their own voice.  That said, true listening goes beyond even the words and rapt attention that examines implications, to an openness of being that allows the teaching (in this regard transmition) to penetrate without "landing" anywhere.   When listening takes this quality, then it is a true mingling which is direct.  In this way, there is no worry about the proverbial finger being mistaken for the moon, nor does it fall into conceptualization.  Moreover, when listening is like this, a teaching will always bear fruit, even if in the moment it doesn't make sense.   Those on the path can all relate to hearing a teaching at one point (and maybe not resonating so much with it), and then sometimes years later seeing the importance of it.   So, even if something isn't resonating in a given moment, it is important to take the inner posture of listening.   To be immediately ready to retort or argue a point (either actually or in one's mind) means that one isn't really listening.  Also, one should take the point, rather than play semantic games that look for some perceived inconsistency.  Even the tendency to try to fit a teaching into a neat and resolved (mental) package is an avoidance of the imminence of deep openness.  True listening is part of the path of surrender and accord which is the very art of Tantra.  It is also the path of continuous diksha and empowerment.  But who will really hear that?

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