As long as your mind is in control, can you listen to another?
We can ask the same question, look at the same words.
What do we mean by listening to another? Obviously I am interpreting your words according to my own knowledge - and reacting in line with my conditioned psychological program.
We might also ask whether the mind is in control - or is being controlled?
So is there listening to another when there is a reaction? Or is it just listening to oneself (the mind in control, active not quiet) using the other’s words merely as a stimulus?
Do I have a mind or am I the mind speaking? If I have a mind, I am something different from the mind that tells me this or that, to which I can react, disagree and argue with, which is insanity.
If, however, I am the mind, I can question every thought, impulse, desire, fear, etc., and instead of being confounded by the false division between I and my mind, I, the mind, is examining its response to see if it’s reasonable or reactionary. I am an open mind listening to itself critically and compassionately, which means I can do this with other minds.
So the answer to the question, “can you listen to another” is, No better than you can listen to yourself. When it isn’t clear that you and “your mind” are one and the same, you can’t really listen to anything because all you can hear is the conflict you create.
Okay - I can see the argument that I am reacting to myself, my conditioning. What does it mean to listen to another then? Is it possible, or just some potential thing we imagine?
If you are always only reacting, do you ever listen to another? Have you ever in your life listened to another? If it is true that you do not listen to others, would it be something worth exploring?
We are exploring it (as best we can)
How would you like to proceed? Just by asking the question? Or can we ask subsidiary questions? For example, can we look at the presuppositions implied by the question?
Let’s look at what occurs step by step. I’ll use an example that has occurred, just to lay it out to look at. Someone says something and there is listening (not ‘I’ listen) to what they’ve said and I (the ‘I’ is there now and is in action) I react with anger. Anger bursts out, I vehemently disagree with them. That’s my first reaction. Almost immediately I I say to myself, ‘that was inappropriate’ or something similar. That is my second reaction, which is a reaction to the first reaction, there may be a third, such as ‘I shouldn’t let it get to me.’ which is just another reaction to the previous reaction and so on. A train of thoughts, so to speak. (Does it sound familiar?) What is the effect of this train of thoughts? Other than the first reaction, aren’t the subsequent reactions taking me farther and farther away from the initial reaction? Aren’t the additional reactions, in reality, just an escape? The initial reaction is forgotten, possibly. If not forgotten, covered over and what is learned, if there is something to be learned? Surely, it is only an observation of the initial reaction that would possibly yield something that would illuminate why listening to the other person stopped and ‘I’ took control. Could there possibly be something to learn about my conditioning, something that is out of awareness? Then, from that awareness, be in a position to end it, if there is observation of the initial reaction? And would ending the reaction allow future listening to any other person without subsequent reaction?
As I said, you can’t listen to another any better than you listen to yourself, so do you listen to yourself think, i.e., talk to yourself, or does your self-talk just run on automatically, like background noise you’re barely aware of?
If you’re interested in self-knowledge, you won’t react to a reaction when it arises, but remain with it to find out what what belief or conclusion is rising to the occasion, and why.
And having seen the belief or conclusion that caused the reaction, is it ended? If it is just an accumulation of self knowledge, without change, is it of any value? Does it just end with the seeing of it or is there something more?
My first reaction after reading your example, was to give a to @Inquiry 's comment : he basically seems to have described the processes involved in your story, before you even told the story - We must ask: is the bad boy of kinfonet some kind of prophet ?!? (see below)
However, I’m not sure about the following :
This might just be more reaction to experience. And this might be one of the main confusions about awareness. Being knowledgeable and analytical about our own mentation - is just further reaction to experience in my opinion. Awareness might in fact be synonymous with silence.
Listening on the other hand, in the sense of proper, special K type listening, has not yet been defined in this thread. Are we hoping for some sort of listening that is akin to awareness?
K did not come up with a ‘proper, special K type’ approach to listening. Thousands of years ago, another fellow referred to listening in the same way using the sentence ‘Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.’. And there were others saying the same.
Only listening to another without reaction is listening to another. So does it follow that simply acquiring self knowledge about one’s reactions is not enough? Something must transform in one if reactions are to cease, for only then is there listening to another. The word transformation, which we all may be familiar with, is the ending of something old and the beginning of something new, Which means until reactions cease, there is fragmentation and division which leads to conflict. Inevitably. In that transformation there is love.
This may be saying the same thing, but for awareness to be “choice-less” there can’t be any space (time) between the state of awareness and what the awareness is of. ‘They’ are one. Any ‘space’ will be filled with choice, judgement, reaction, etc
Sorry - just backtracking here a bit - there is a kind of description of what listening means to you in the above statement.
Anger - disagreement - should/shouldn’t. These seem to be the themes that signal the end of listening.
It would seem that listening ends with the arrival of the concepts of good and bad.
Listening is supposedly happening before this judgement of what should or should not be.
Conditioned knowledge (of what words mean) is apparently not a barrier to listening?
My thoughts and feelings are all I have to work with if I am to understand how thought works. Why does it have the power to point things out? I know I can trust thought to be of use, but I know its biases and beliefs distort everything, so I can’t be at ease with thought. It never seems to sleep. I trust thought as far as I can throw it…and I can’t throw it.
Just a little addendum to my previous post:
Listening ends with what I want. What I want ends with… what?
Success necessitates then that I have the answer in my head already, or at least the means (eg.logic?)
Somehow my conditioning has the means of freeing itself from itself?
The conditioned mind has questions like, Why am I like this? Why do I have to be powerful to survive? Is it enough to survive? Or must one be a living demonstration that survival is only the point of human existence - it is not the end-all and be-all.
Maybe you’re just a tough guy - and being a tough guy is more important than anything else. Tough guys don’t care about the pain?