The act of listening completely to something that is factual without opinion, without judgment, condemnation, without any interference of the word is extremely arduous. It requires total attention, and so also does the act of seeing. I wonder if we ever see anything at all a tree, a mountain, a river, the face of one’s spouse, of a child, or of a passerby? I question it because words, ideas, formulas, interfere with what we are seeing.
You say , “What a lovely mountain!“ and that very expression prevents you from looking which is again a psychological fact. To see something completely, your mind must be quiet, without the interference of ideas. The next time you observe a flower, notice how difficult it is to look at it non-botanically particularly if you happen to know something about botany . You know the species, you know all the varieties of that flower, and to look at it without any interference of the word, without the intrusion of your knowledge, of your likes and dislikes, is again very arduous. The mind is always so busy , so distracted; it is constantly chattering, never seeing, never listening. But when the mind is quiet, to listen and to see does not require effort. If you are actually listening to what is being said now, and therefore understanding what is being said, you will find that your listening is without effort.
Inward or psychological revolution implies a complete transformation, not only of the conscious mind, but of the unconscious as well. You can easily change the outward t pattern of your existence, or the way you think. You may cease to belong to any church at all, or you may leave one church and join another. You may or may not belong to a particular political or religious group. All that can be changed very easily by circumstances, by your fear, by wanting greater reward, and so on. The s superficial mind can easily be changed, s but it is much more difficult to bring about a change in the unconscious and that is where our difficulty lies. And the unconscious cannot be changed thro ugh volition, through desire, through will. It must be approached negatively .
To approach the total consciousness negatively implies the act of listening; it implies seeing facts without the interference of opinion, judgment, or condemnation. In other words, there must be negative thinking. Most of us are accustomed through training and experience to conform, to obey, to follow established moral, ethical, ideological authorities. But what we are discussing here demands that there be no authority of any kind, because the moment you begin to explore, there is no authority. Each moment is a discovery . How can a mind discover if it is bound by authority , by its own previous experiences? So negative thinking implies the uncovering of one’s own assertive, dogmatic beliefs and experiences, one’s own anxieties, hopes and fears; it implies seeing all these things negatively , that is, not with the desire to alter or to go beyond them, but merely observing them without evaluation.
To observe without evaluation is to observe without the word. We are conditioned by words. We say of a person that he is a communist or a Catholic or an Englishman or an American or a Swiss, and through that screen of words we look and listen; so we never see, we never hear.
That is why it is so important to be free of our slavery to words.