I was as sensitive as waters are
To the sky's influence in a kindred mood
Of passion; was obedient as a lute,
That waits upon the touches of the wind.
Wordsworth, The Prelude
John 1 can be translated as: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’
The Word is a translation from the Greek logos, as described by Heraclitus: ‘Listening not to me but to the logos it is wise to agree that all things are one.’
What is the sound of the logos? Perhaps it is Levinas’ ‘rumbling silence of the there is’.
How might we become more sensitive to that which might be heard?
Wordsworth’s passage evokes a receptive serenity.
In his book The Listening Self, David Levin suggests, ‘In order to listen we must cultivate a silence within ourselves’.
Such stillness is hard to find.
We might adopt what Heidegger terms gelassenheit - a letting go, or letting be (sometimes translated as 'releasement'), in order to hear what he calls the ‘unheeded resonance’.
Zen master Kyogen found enlightenment after hearing the echo in a temple of a stone on bamboo.
I am reminded of a friend’s astonishment upon hearing the resonance of her voice in a chapel.
What might we hear by just listening?
This is chapter 16 from Tao Te Ching:
Attain complete emptiness,
Hold fast to stillness
The ten thousand things stir about;
I only watch for their going back.
Things grow and grow,
But each goes back to its root.
Going back to the root is stillness
This means returning to what is.
Returning to what is
Means going back to the ordinary.
Understanding the ordinary:
Mind opening leads to compassion,
Compassion to nobility,
Nobility to heavenliness,
Heavenliness to TAO.
Your body dies.