Learn to Listen and Trust

Ajahn Sumedho

Learn to Listen and Trust

So awakeness, then, is learning to listen and trust in the most simple state of being. It’s not jhāna or absorption in anything. It’s pure attention. So if you trust in this purity, there is no fault in it. There are no faults in purity, are there? It’s perfect. There’s no impurity. This is where to trust, in this attentiveness to the present.

Once you try to find it, then you start going into doubt. Trust it rather than think about it. Just trust in the immanent act of being awake, attentive in this moment. When I do this, my mind relaxes. I hear the sound of silence. There’s no self. There’s purity. If I start feeling that I should be doing something, then I’m aware of it. I’m aware of the kamma-vipāka (result of action) of having been through the American education system and having driven myself through this incredibly compulsive way of living life. So the kamma-vipāka arises. In this state of purity, it’s not personal. It’s not saying, ‘Ajahn Sumedho is pure now.’ It’s beyond that.

You’re not talking about it in any kind of personal way. It’s a recognition, a realization. It’s what you truly are, not a creation. I’m not creating the purity. I’m not creating an ideal of it and then deluding myself with it.

This is where trust comes in, because your personality-view is not going to trust awareness. Your personality-view is going to say, ‘There’s nothing pure about you. You just had some dirty thoughts. You’re really feeling pretty upset and angry about something someone said about you. After all these years, you’re still filled with impurities.’ This is the old inner tyrant. This is the personality-view. It’s the victim and the victimizer. As the victim it says, ‘Poor me, I’m so impure,’ while as the accuser it says, ‘You’re not good enough, you’re impure.’

You can’t trust it. Don’t take refuge in being a victim or a victimizer. But you can trust in this awakened awareness. And that trust is humbling. It isn’t like believing in something. It’s learning to relax and be. Trust in the ability simply to be here, open and receptive to whatever is happening now. Even if what’s happening is nasty, or whatever the conditions you’re experiencing are, that’s not a problem if you trust in this purity.

This reflection by Luang Por Sumedho is from the Ajahn Sumedho Anthology, Volume 4 — The Sound of Silence, (pdf) pp. 161-162.