Osho talks on ‘Listening’ at the 1968 Meditation Camp in Ajol, Gujarat: “Listen… and by and by, within you, a humming of silence will begin. The mind is becoming silent.”
…These are the three points I wanted to tell you about this morning. The first thing is tremendous fearlessness in encountering the mind; the second thing is no restrictions, no conditions on the mind; the third point is no judgments about whatever thoughts and longings arise in the mind, no feelings of good or bad. Your attitude should simply be indifferent. These three points are necessary to understand the perversions of the mind. Then in the afternoon and evening we will talk about what can be done to get rid of these perversions, and go further — but these three basic points have to be kept in mind.
Now we will get ready for the morning meditation. First, two points to understand about the morning meditation, then we will sit for it.
The morning meditation is a very direct and simple process. Actually whatever is significant in life is very simple and direct. In life, the more futile a thing is, the more complicated and complex it is. In life, the higher a thing is, the more simple and direct it is. It is a very direct and simple process.
The only thing you have to do is to sit silently and listen silently to the world of sound all around. Listening has some wonderful effects. Usually we never listen. When I am speaking here, if you think that you are listening, then you are making a great mistake. A sound falling on the ear is not the meaning of listening.
If you are thinking simultaneously when I am talking, then you are not listening because the mind can do only one thing at a time, never two things. Either you can listen or you can think. As long as you are thinking, for that much time listening will stop; as long as you are listening, for that much time thinking will stop. So when I say that listening is a wonderful process, what I mean is if you just listen silently then the thinking will stop on its own — because it is one of the essential rules of the mind that it is incapable of doing two things at a time, absolutely incapable. […]
The mind can be intensely aware about only one thing.
This morning’s experiment is about listening silently to the songs of the birds and the wind, to the cacophony of all kinds of sounds around you. Listen to it very silently. Give attention to only one thing, ”I am listening. I am listening totally to whatever is happening. I am not doing anything else, just listening, totally listening.”
I am stressing listening because as you listen totally, the continuous movement of thoughts within you will become absolutely silent — because both of these things cannot happen simultaneously. So put your total effort into listening. This is a positive effort. If you try to throw out the thoughts then the mistake which I just told you about will start happening.
It is a negative effort. Thoughts cannot be thrown out by making an effort to get rid of them, but if the energy of the mind, which usually goes into thinking, starts ﬂowing into some other stream, then thoughts automatically become weak. […]
Thoughts get their life from our attention. Thoughts have no life of their own. The more attention we give to a thought, the more alive it becomes. The more we remove our attention, the more dead it becomes. If attention is totally removed, then thoughts become lifeless, they die, they disappear immediately.
That is why I am saying that you should give all your attention to listening. Decide absolutely that even the smallest voice of a bird should not go unheard, should not be missed. You should hear everything, whatever is happening all around — you should hear it all. Then you will suddenly find that the mind is entering into a deep silence, the thoughts are fading away.
Only one thing has to be done. You have simply to relax your body. Yesterday I told you to first tense your brain but perhaps you misunderstood. Relax your brain. Do not tense it. That is not necessary — because if you get caught up in the idea of tensing the brain, then that itself becomes a problem.
So drop that idea. It was not a part of the meditation. I had told you to do that just so that you could get some idea of what a tense brain and what a relaxed brain is. There is no need to worry about this idea. Drop it. And now relax. Let the mind be relaxed. Relax all the tense tissues and nerves of your brain. It is a matter of relaxing. The question is not of learning the art of making the brain tense.
You need to forget the art of keeping the brain tense. I told you that just so that you can understand the contrast between your brain being tense and being relaxed. For now, drop whatever you cannot understand. Just simply relax it.
So everybody please sit keeping some distance from each other. Nobody should be touching the other. Use this space in front. Come up here or go to the back, but nobody should be touching each other.
Allow the body to be totally relaxed and then close the eyes slowly. The eyes have to be closed so gently that there is no strain on the eyes. You should not close the eyes tightly otherwise you will feel a strain. The muscles of the eyes are very much related to the brain so let them be absolutely relaxed. Let your eyelids fall in the same way small children do. Let the eyelids fall slowly, relaxedly.
Then relax all the muscles of the face and head. You have seen the face of a small child, absolutely relaxed, nothing tense. Make your face like that — absolutely loose and relaxed. Let the body also be relaxed. The moment you let everything relax, the breath will become relaxed and silent on its own.
Then do only one thing: listen silently to whatever sounds are coming from all around. A crow will make a sound, a bird will make a sound, a child will speak on the road — listen to them silently. Go on listening and listening and listening, and everything will become silent inside.
Listen – listen silently for ten minutes. Let all the attention be on listening. Be just listening, doing nothing else.
Listen… the birds are singing, the winds are shaking the trees – whatever sounds may come, listen to them silently.
Listen… and by and by, within you, a humming of silence will begin. The mind is becoming silent. Go on listening and listening. The mind is becoming silent. The mind is becoming silent. The mind is becoming silent….
The mind has become silent, the mind has become absolutely silent. A deep silence is present inside. Listen to it, just listen to it. Listen… and by and by the mind will become silent.
The mind is becoming silent, the mind is becoming silent, the mind is becoming silent. Go on listening and listening, the mind is entering an absolute silence….
Osho, The Inner Journey, Ch 4
Illustration, ‘Listening to Silence’ by Tanja Moss – DeviantArt