‘To my surprise, a number of people here have said, “I know about you. I’ve heard about you.” So do you have an image? Knowing about Toni, having an idea about her, maybe you’ve read a little booklet, heard stories, and now you have an idea of what she is or propagates. And does one have an image on oneself, of the group or tradition one belongs to? Is there the ever-readiness of the mind to compare what is being said to what one already knows? Then one is not listening. One is comparing, and what is actually said flows by unheard.
So, at least for the short duration of this talk, is it possible to suspend what one knows, to suspend comparison? Can one just be open, completely open, not knowing how one will react, just receiving? If one has an image of oneself, or of this person who is sitting here, pure listening is impeded or distorted. Once reads into it or subtracts from it, or one will not want to listen to some things as all. It may be too painful or too threatening.’ (The Work of this Moment)
Toni Packer, like Adyashanti, is someone who trained in zen, but then set aside the formal elements of the practice to focus on what made most sense for her wisdom. I read this book many years ago, and it always bears picking up again. Reading it alongside yesterday’s post, I see no difference in understanding.