Monday, June 14, 2004

Today's Daily Zen:

Cold night, no wind, bamboo making noises,
Noises far apart, now bunched together,
Filtering the pine-flanked lattice.
Listening with ears is less fine than
Listening with the mind.
Beside the lamp I lay
Aside the half scroll of sutra

- Hsu-t’ang Chih-yu

I like this for three reasons. First, it serves as a reminder that hearing and listening are distinct. In human communications, it's all too common to formulate our responses while the other person is speaking. Second, it suggests that the mind can benefit from letting down its filtering mechanisms and actually listening to "white noise." I suppose that goes for experiencing other phenomena that we filter out routinely. Third, it suggests that at some point we must stop reading about philosophy, religion, ethics, etc., and go experience life. It reminds me of the commonly expressed LDS thought that one must live one's religion to truly understand it. There's doctrine, then there's practice.

Any thoughts? Am I full of it or what?


Dave said...

Yeah, you're full of it, but it's endearing... heh heh

I like that you pointed out there’s a difference between hearing and listening. Very true. I notice I have only so much of a threshold for listening, so I’m very selective about what I allow. I think it’s kind of like friends. You can only maintain so many quality relationships, so you have to choose who you’ll befriend wisely so that you aren’t wasting your time.

Ann said...

We just did a chapter on listening in Organizational Communications. One of the biggest obstacles to listening is that our brains work so much faster than someone else can speak; our minds wander to compensate for the difference.

Other obstacles include lack of motivation, lack of willingness, and distractions (hunger, pain, noise). There were more, but the exam was last week and I've forgotten them already. That's why we keep textbooks in my family - they make dandy reference material.

What were you saying?