Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How do we listen?

When I was talking to someone today, I realized for a while they were not paying attention to my words. Of course, even I might have done the same thing sometimes. This reminded me of a story I read in a magazine, about three disciples and a great master. After imparting the required knowledge to the young disciples the master wanted to test their knowledge. He brought three skulls and asked which one of the skull belonged to a great saint. The first disciple looked at the skulls, took them in hand and then he pointed at the one which weighed the most. The second disciple came and showed the one which was shining as that of the saint. The third disciple took a long thin grass stem and put in one ear of a skull and it came out of the other ear. He interpreted that the skull belongs to an ordinary man, because whatever he heard through one ear, he let it out through other ear. We see in our daily life many people that do not respond and we keep saying to them, "did you listen to one ear and let it out through the other ear?" Now, on to the second skull, he put the same thin grass through the ear it came out through the mouth of the skull. For this he explained that whatever the person heard through the ear he could not hold it for himself and had comfort only after telling someone. I am sure we commonly do this; I wonder if this is how the word ‘gossip’ came into existence! Back to the story, the same way, he put the thin grass into the ear of the third skull, this time the stem passed through one ear and went down the neck. The disciple was quick to explain that this skull belongs to the saint because whatever he heard took everything into his heart and understood well. Now we know what it takes to become a saint. Looking at the understanding and great explanation of this disciple, the master bestowed his wishes on the disciple and suggested him that she should carry on his journey in the real world. We hear so many things everyday from many sources. Honestly, how many times have we paid attention while hearing to somebody? Don't we choose to spread the words before understanding? I wonder how our skulls would shape up!

“Listening looks easy, but it's not simple. Every head is a world."
- Cuban Proverb

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