Sunday, January 17, 2010

Inspiration series III: Listen (and other acronyms)

Being silent is an attitude. Its a state of surrender. Its giving the busy mind permission to not do and just be.

Do it intently. Which means, don't do it. Just find a place of quiet acceptance where what is (all around and also within) will offer itself to you without any pretending.

How long does it take, before the sounds just become what they are, and the busy filter of your mind stops trying to do something with them?

For me, writing is an act of listening. The story is always there. The words are always jostling, trying to get to the front of the queue. It's like sorting out a noisy squabble between children: just listen, and the fight may unravel itself, even though its an intolerable clamour at first. But can you resist imposing your adult authority on the situation?

Gail Sher, in The Intuitive Writer, has some simple and insightful things to say about Listening, about cultivating what she calls an Imagining ear. Training your imagining ear is the same as training yourself in the ability to allow peace, richness, joy, 'harmony plus inquisitiveness'. Its to allow basic goodness to flow from within to without and back again.

'For a writer, developing an imagining ear is the work of a lifetime. It involves deepening her relationship with herself and everything that crosses her path. Enhanced by non-doing, anonymity, self-sacrifice, ultimately it is about her awareness of the world – her commitment to hearing it day after day with a beginner's mind.'

'Writers listen slowly,' she offers. 'They listen inward, outward, then around the world in the four directions.'

Its important to create gaps around each 'hearing event'. By creating space around what we hear, we allow our fears a bit of room to unravel themselves. Those same fears that create deadness and blindness when we write.

She also says,
'Hearing is also a kind of sacrament. Through this body, through these ears, the universe is able to hear itself.'

This, incidentally, is similar to what Rilke means in the Duino Elegies, when he says, in the Ninth Elegy,
'Perhaps we are here in order to say: house, bridge, fountain, gate, pitcher, fruit tree, window -
at most, column, tower...But to say them you must understand
oh to say them more intensely than the Things themselves
ever dreamed of existing.'


Be Silent.
Hear the earth.
Hear your heart.

Be heart.


Elizabeth Jansen van Vuuren said...

Thank you, Tamara.

Angela said...

I am always happy when Rilke is quoted. Great thoughts, Mandy, You have an ear for what is important in life. You listened. All the wisdom is there, the problem is, do we listen? And you do. Great post.

Angela said...

Why did I call you Mandy? I KNOW you are Tammy. Sorry, dear. But what i said is right.

tam said...

Hello Liz, thanks for visiting!
Geli, I have had many identity crises in my life, but I've never felt like a Mandy. Hmmmm. But thanks for your kind words.
I do think we could take great strides towards a better planet if we all just listened more, to each other, to ourselves, etc.
lots of love xxx

Lori ann said...

That's beautiful, and it made me very happy to read. I love Rilke also, i'll keep his words, and yours in my heart. And hope that i will always keeping learning to become better at listening as well.