All ears

July 21st, 2009

Everyone should listen with his or her eyes open and upon the speaker – in other words, with their whole being – because an impression received only through the hearing is rather shallow, akin to listening to the radio. Each person should listen as though the message was being given to him or her alone. Human nature is such that if two people listen, each feels only half responsible for understanding, and if ten people are listening each feels responsible to be but one tenth. However, since there are so many of you and what I have to say is exactly the same for everybody, I have asked you to come as a group. You must nonetheless listen as though you were entirely alone and hold yourself accountable for everything that is said.

To be continued

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  1. thank you for this….. it speaks to my soul….. on a lighter note…. it helps me understand that when I am speaking with all four of my children it seems that they are listening a fourth of the time…lol. I will make a concerted effort to be a better listener in my conversations with them in hopes that that will be reciprocated…

    Comment by caramelapple — July 21, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  2. I'll be back for the rest.

    Comment by Cat — July 21, 2009 @ 3:08 pm

  3. I've always wondered about this – when listening to speakers in a Zen context, I can't figure out the proper etiquette for where to look. After a good morning of Zazen, it's certainly possible to look at the speaker intently during the talk, and that is a pleasure that aids listening, but it kind of clashes with the normal US style of glancing all around. One can continue to look downwards as at the floor, but that doesn't seem correct either.

    Comment by Chris Austin-Lane — July 22, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

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