… the warrior aims for simplicity, for by doing so, he also cuts out all unnecessary thoughts and feelings. By economising on his thoughts and feelings the warrior not only saves personal power, but also finds it easier to keep in check those thoughts and feelings he does use. This in effect is the beginning of stopping the internal dialogue, a technique which will be explained later in this volume.
A point of great importance concerns what is termed the art of listening. The majority of people are totally unable to listen in the true sense of the word. In general, man’s internal dialogue is so consistently loud and overpowering that he finds it almost impossible to listen. As a result, people tend to hear words spoken, but they do not really listen to those words, and even when they do try to listen, they will quite involuntarily perceive everything they hear in terms of their view of the world.
To acquire speed you need to learn to listen so that you do not rely merely on your eyes. Ever since we were born we were taught to use our eyes with which to perceive the world, and so we talk to others and to ourselves only about what we see in our outer and inner world. A warrior, on the other hand, listens to the world and most especially to its sounds.
Once she is in the forest Anna does not allow her rational mind to analyse her problem, but instead concentrates on practising not-doing. Therefore, Anna figuratively-speaking puts the problem to the back of her mind, and opens her attention fully to everything around her. By acknowledging the presence of her problem, and yet at the same time focusing her attention upon the world, Anna is allowing power to flow to her. Let us look carefully at what exactly this means, and how it works in practice.
By not concentrating on her problem, but upon the world instead, Anna is in effect neatly side-stepping the rational mind’s compulsion to engage in internal dialogue. It is in fact this simple but highly-effective technique which forms the basis of that ritual known as the right way of walking but, unlike the ritual, this technique can also be used whilst sitting in an office, driving a car, in the middle of a shopping mall, and so on.
In order to understand how this works, it must be remembered that the rational mind is to all intents and purposes nothing more than a magnificent computer. But like any computer, it can only perform one function at a time. In focusing upon the world around her, Anna is in effect flooding her rational mind with a wealth of new information.
This simple but completely natural act forces the rational mind into silence, because instead of being used to perpetuate the internal dialogue, the rational mind is now thoroughly occupied in assessing all the new information flooding into it through the physical senses. The stilling of the internal dialogue obviously means that Anna also cannot uphold her view of the world, or at least not whilst she keeps her attention focused upon the outer world.
Now, when Anna hears the bird-call, she also avoids the trap of becoming involved in the face value of the sound, for she knows that to do so would only throw her straight back upon her view of the world. Instead, Anna stops, so that she can give the sound her full attention. In listening to that sound, she knows that although it could be a bird singing, it could also very well be something else which merely sounds like a bird. This is a valuable approach, for unless Anna can actually see the bird making the sound, she cannot in all honesty identify it as definitely being a bird.
However, since it is not really Anna’s concern at this moment to identify the origin of the sound, she chooses to listen to it in terms of power. In other words, knowing that she is surrounded by power, she knows equally well that this sound carries for her a message. Therefore, in that moment, Anna is not listening to a bird-call, which is the face value of the sound, but instead is listening to power speaking to her through that sound.