Not listening, not attending, is a habit which makes for difficulty and suffering in our life.
We often filter what we hear and see through our habits and positions, through likes, agreements, disagreements and dislikes. We all know this, and yet in our personal life, our social and political life, we continue to operate this way - and then complain and even suffer with the consequences.
What would it take to let go of what we know, to be not knowing and listen - especially to those we disagree with, to those with whom we do not empathize (or even those we demonize)? This is most vital if we are to be who we are, to see clearly what is so and to manifest skillful and appropriate functioning.
The inability and unwillingness to hear what other say is evident in the recent political and media discussions about guns. How often can "one side" acknowledge the statements and concerns of the "other" without distorting them and putting them down? Do we notice our self doing this, whether on this topic or in other areas of out life?
Below I have linked to an excellent article which explores various positions and proposals regarding guns. I encourage you to read this - and practice in the midst of reading, being attentive to mind-chatter and reactive habits about the quotes from various people, especially those people who you know, by their identification, that you "disagree with them." Do you notice an unwillingness to listen, to hear and get what they are saying - before you explain it away? Make an effort, when you notice not listening, not hearing, to let that go and be present in reading, in attending. Please work with this slowly and see what you discover.
Reading this article is just one way to work with not-knowing, with the hindrance caused by holding to knowing. How else and where else in your life can this practice be appropriate and skillful?
(c) 2013 Elihu Genmyo Smith