Everybody, except a few totally deaf people, thinks he is capable of hearing. Everybody, except those few who are blind, thinks he is capable of seeing. But this is not true.
Jesus said again and again to his disciples, If you can hear, hear. If you can see, see.” Certainly he is not always talking to the blind and to the deaf; he is talking to people like us. Buddha used to start his sermon by telling people how to listen. J. Krishnamurti emphasized that one should prepare oneself for the great art of listening, right listening. Mahavira has gone a step further than Jesus, Buddha, Krishnamurti. He says there are only two ways to reach the truth: one is to hear rightly and the other, is to strive rightly.
The first is enough; then there is no need to strive for truth. If you are capable of hearing rightly, then there is no need to strive. The second is only for those who cannot hear; then they have to strive, then they have to struggle. Right listening means listening with deep love and sympathy. One can listen in an antagonistic way, one can listen with a priori conclusions, one can listen with all the prejudices, with all the conditionings of the mind. Then it is not right listening.
But love is capable of putting all aside. Love is capable of listening in silence. And then anything can trigger the process of enlightenment. It is not only a question of listening rightly to a master; that is only one aspect. This sound of rain falling on the roof… If one can listen rightly – pure listening with no idea, with no desire to interpret, with no effort to understand- then that is enough. Then certainly you will find it is not rain falling on the roof, it is existence itself. Then the wind passing through the pine trees is existence passing through the pine trees, and the sound of running water… Then anything… It is not a question of what you listen to; the basic question is how you listen.