From Awareness by Anthony De Mello . . .

By listening I don’t mean you have to agree with anything some guide or teacher is saying. That wouldn’t be listening. It really doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with what anyone is saying. Agreement and disagreement have to do with words and concepts and theories. They don’t have anything to do with truth. Truth is never expressed in words.

People keep bumping into life again and again. They still go on sleepwalking. They don’t wake up. Tragically, it doesn’t occurs to them that there may be another way. It doesn’t yet occur to them that there may be a better way. Even if you haven’t been bumped sufficiently by life, even if you haven’t suffered enough, still there is another way to enlightenment for you:

It’s to listen.

Truth is sighted suddenly as a result of a certain attitude, a certain willingness to discover something new. That’s important, not your agreeing with me or disagreeing with me. After all, most of what I’m giving you is really theories. No theory adequately covers reality. So I can speak to you, not of the truth, but of obstacles to the truth. Those I can describe. I cannot describe the truth. No one can.

All I can do is give you a description of your falsehoods, so that you can drop them. All I can do for you is challenge your beliefs and the belief system that makes you unhappy. All I can do for you is help you to unlearn. That’s what learning is all about where spirituality is concerned: unlearning, unlearning almost everything you’ve been taught. A willingness to unlearn, to listen.

Are you listening, as most people do, in order to confirm what you already think? Observe your reactions to what this post is communicating. If you’re honest, you will recognize that frequently you are startled or shocked or scandalized or irritated or annoyed or frustrated by what is said at this website. Or conversely, you’ll find yourself saying, “I concur! This is great!”

It is likely that means you are listening for what will confirm what you already think.


If so, then life is challenging you to shift toward listening in order to discover something new.

That is most important.