Is it possible, even for just several moments, to set aside what I will refer to as “the known”, and simply listen and observe freshly to what is being said or talked about? By “the known” I am referring to our prejudices, beliefs, what we think is 'right' or 'wrong'......in other words, the whole content of the conditioned mind. That is not to say it has been obliterated, which is impossible anyway, except maybe in instances of some forms of brain injury. Rather, to allow “the known” to be in abeyance, which happens when the energy is in the listening and looking at this moment. This kind of listening is itself transforming, because it requires the brain to quiet down from its usual activity of “directing the show”. In meditative inquiry one doesn't know where the looking, questioning, and listening will lead. Can inquiry or looking happen out of interest, out of curiosity, rather than in order to obtain a result? Maybe the search for an answer or some result is what has originally motivated us, but at the moment of inquiry, can that 'ambition' be put aside? This type of inquiry is not what we are typically familiar with in our day-to-day lives. Our conversations are mostly about things and can stay on a superficial level, rather than a probing more deeply into our thoughts - such as our rigidly held notions or beliefs about ourselves and each other.
An important ingredient in meditative inquiry is this act of open listening. Listening, wondering and not knowing: this can all happen alone or together with like-minded people. Looking together with others has the opportunity wherein someone might point something out that we haven't noticed or seen before. In the spirit of something Nisargadatta – an Indian teacher - once said, in an instance such as this.....”what does it matter, who is who?!” What matters most is the looking itself – in which there is truly no 'me' and no 'you'. Can we meet together in that spirit?