The Art of Listening

Osho on Listening


IT DEPENDS on you. You can be conditioned by me — but I am not conditioning you. Let that be absolutely clear! You can be conditioned by me. If you are listening only through the mind you will be conditioned, because the mind goes on gathering knowledge. The mind is very suggestible, corruptible, vulnerable. If you are listening to me through your mind, through your reason, through your argumentative faculty, through your intellect, you will be conditioned. Even if you are not convinced by me, even if you go thinking that you are not convinced by me, still you will be conditioned. Maybe against me, but that too will condition you. For or against does not matter: if you listen through the mind you will be conditioned — because the mind is the faculty of conditioning.

But there is another way to listen also — and it is not of the mind, it is of the heart. It is not through argumentativeness, through knowledge — it is through pure heart-trust. Then you listen to me not like a philosopher but like a poet. You are never conditioned by a poet. You can enjoy poetry, but you are never conditioned by it. You are not conditioned by rose flowers — you can enjoy, you can celebrate, but you are not conditioned. A beautiful sunrise or a sunset, or a full moon in the night — are you being conditioned? These green trees all around, do they condition you? You can celebrate, you can enjoy, you can dance with them, you can sing with them, but you are not conditioned by them.

Think of me as a poet, a painter, a dancer; never think about me as a philosopher or a theologian. I am not. What I am doing here is poetry, sheer poetry. I am not giving you any ideology, so there is no question of being conditioned. But you have to look in the right way, otherwise, there is every possibility of your being conditioned by me. If you listen to me just to gather knowledge, you will be conditioned. If you listen to me in such tremendous depth and profundity that it is not a question of gathering knowledge but a meeting of the hearts, a communion…. I am not here, the speaker is not here. Long ago the speaker disappeared. All that is coming out is coming out of a tremendous emptiness, nothingness. Look into my eyes and you can feel it! And if you are also empty while listening to me, who is going to be conditioned and by whom?

If you put aside your mind… in fact, if you are really intelligent you will always put your mind exactly where you have left your shoes — leave your mind also there. I would like Krishna to put a notice there: Shoes and Minds are to be Left Here at the Gate. If you bring your shoes it is not such a big thing, it is not so profane. But if you bring your minds here, then you never come to me. Minds are conditioned, always conditioned; they are ready to be conditioned. Minds are bio-computers: they go on absorbing whatsoever is heard. It is a mechanical thing. Put the mind off while listening to me. Be a heart — love, trust. Listen to me in deep emptiness. Don’t be there! I am not here — don’t you be there. And then something will happen, something will transpire between me and you. Between two nothingnesses the river of truth starts flowing. And it is never conditioning: it is always unconditioning. It will wash your whole being, it will give you a shower; it will cleanse you, purify you…

If you come with a mind, you will go with a bigger mind. If you come with a no-mind, you will go with a bigger no-mind. It depends on you: how you come to me, what you bring to me, what you are ready to offer to me — a mind? then there is no communication. You will gather a few bits from here and there, and you will collect them in your old ways. It will be addition to your knowledge; it will not be a revelation, it will not give you anything new. It will not be a breakthrough. But if you can listen to me just listening, not thinking, not interpreting, not classifying — just listening as if you don’t know anything; listening in deep silence with no knowledge interfering in between — you will not be conditioned at all.

Innocence can never be conditioned. Only cunningness can be conditioned. Innocence is such freedom! It listens, but it remains above. Innocence is like a lotus flower: it remains in the water, but untouched by it. Then you can move around the world, you can go and listen to many people, you can read a thousand and one books, you can study all that down the centuries the human mind has invented, discovered, systematized, and you will remain unconditioned, you will remain free. Something within you will remain above, distant.

A habitual drunk staggered up to the front door of a home late one night, and kept rapping loudly until a lady in pyjamas came to answer.

“Par’n me, ma’am,” he lushes, “this is an emergency. Can you tell me where Mulla Nasrudin lives?”

“Why,” she exclaimed, “you are Mulla Nasrudin yourself!”

“I know, I know,” he replied, “but that still doesn’t answer the question — where does he live?”

You are a soul — which can NOT be corrupted. Innocence is its very nature. It is just like the sky: you see clouds come and go, and the sky remains just the same; it is not corrupted by the clouds. Dust storms arise, and settle back; the sky is not corrupted by dust storms. How many things have not happened under the skies? Millions of things have happened — nothing has corrupted it. It remains pure. The inner sky is also pure, just like the outer sky. Thousands of things go on happening, but the innermost core remains virgin. There is no way to corrupt it. That’s why I say: if you are too much addicted, drunk with psychology, then it will be difficult to understand what I am saying. But if you can put aside your head for a while, if you can behead yourself for a while, if you can approach towards me directly, immediately, then you will hear what I am saying, you will understand what I am saying — but you will not be conditioned by it, you will remain free. That is the beauty!

A Buddha has not conditioned anybody, a Jesus has never conditioned anybody. If people are Christians and have become conditioned, that is their choice — you cannot throw the responsibility on Jesus. If people have become Buddhists and have completely forgotten about Buddha, and go on talking only about Buddhist doctrines and dogmas, that is their responsibility — otherwise, Buddha has not conditioned anybody. These people come to free you. They bring freedom, they bring purity, they bring innocence. But the ultimate result depends on you.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: A Sudden Clash of Thunder Chapter #10

Chapter title:Towards Nothingness

20 August 1976 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘listening, innocence, heart, communion, silence, emptiness, ’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. From Bondage to Freedom
  2. Dang Dang Doko Dang
  3. Guida Spirituale
  4. The Discipline of Transcendence
  5. I Am the Gate
  6. I Say Unto You
  7. Beyond Enlightenment
  8. The New Dawn
  9. Sat Chit Anand
  10. Tao: The Golden Gate
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