Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/19/2019

Active Listening

I have read that the name Avalokiteshvara means “he who listens to the cries of the world.” I see root “loka” which means world (cognate of Latin locus) but don’t have much after that. But, my point isn’t etymological really. It’s too point to the fact that my practice had been severely limited with regard to something that sends fundamental: listening.

I have been brining and bearing it for so long that i didn’t even realize that I had decided that actually listening to those who cause me so much pain wasn’t worth the effort. But, in doing so, I was taking a not so subtle aversive stance.

What would it look like to actually listen to who someone who’s hurt me, not to change them or figure out how to better deal with them but because doing so is an act of charity? Fasting, cold showers and other quasi ascetic practices have nothing on the practice of active and patient listening. And, how can I pretend to be compassionate and actively working for the benefit of others when I am unwilling to listen to anything but my own thoughts?

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