Krishnamurti: On Listening and Dialogue with the self and others

I do not know if you have ever examined how you listen, it doesn’t matter to what, whether to a bird, to the wind in the leaves, to the rushing waters, or how you listen in a dialogue with yourself, to your conversation in various relationships with your intimate friends, your wife or husband. If we try to listen we find it extraordinarily difficult, because we are always projecting our opinions and ideas, our prejudices, our background, our inclinations, our impulses; when they dominate, we hardly listen at all to what is being said. In that state there is no value at all. One listens and therefore learns, only in a state of attention, a state of silence, in which this whole background is in abeyance, is quiet; then, it seems to me, it is possible to communicate.”

Krishnamurti (the Indian spiritual teacher) asks us to study how we listen. He invites us to quieten our minds and experience the silence that can follow.

In connecting with that silence we have the opportunity to experience difference, shared understanding and unfolding potential.

What I mean is, listening is a radiant activity and a deeply mindful practice. The quality of the dialogues we have with others and with ourselves is enhanced through our listening.

Dialogue spaces open up possibilities to try something new and to reconnect with the self and others at a deeper level. Entering into a dialogue space creates the opportunity for us to stretch, challenge and shift our ideas and perspectives, simply by thinking together collaboratively and openly with the insight of others.

I know that I benefit from taking time to listen deeply and to consider ideas that are constantly sitting at the bottom of my mental ‘to do’ list. The motivation is there, but in reality it all too rarely happens. For me this reflects the challenge and is a reminder of how important it is to keep remembering to pause, be silent and follow Krishnamurti’s call to communicate from this place.