I spent some time recently just listening. There is a big difference between indoor listening and outdoor listening. In outdoor listening you need to attune your ears to the cacophony of nature and then choose to focus on one sound. The other morning, while walking the dog in the early morning crispness, I chose the sound of my steps. It was both revealing as well as mesmerizing.
There was a crunch to every step. The shadowed covered grass had a thin coating of frost that held tight to each wintering blade despite a rising peek of sun from an easterly ridge.
I said to myself, tread lightly lest I break the blades with stomps and scuffles. I remembered reading years ago the way the native Americans would walk through the woods so as to be as silent as possible; each step forward was made with the toe first and then the heel in order to feel what’s underneath before the full weight of the body is pressed to the earth.
Frost covered grass is a lot like human belief systems. As I listened to each step, I thought about how alike we humans are to each blade of grass. We cover ourselves with the ice of dogma and refuse to let any warming light thaw the concretized covering of belief.
When I got back inside the listening was different. I tried to stay focused to one sound, just like outside. But it was more difficult. I finally eliminated the sounds of technology: refrigerators, the furnace and the computer beeping with an incoming message. I stayed steady with just the silence of the house. My mind exploded into the awareness of nothing. The more I listened to nothing, the more my thoughts had sound unto themselves.
It was both revelatory as well as sacred. I never realized my thoughts had sound until I let the proverbial technological ice melt and listened; what I heard was the music of the divine.