To listen is to close the mouth, open the ears and eyes, and to see. It is to quiet the mind, to breathe and dwell in this moment, to study what is before you, as well as the breathing and sensation of the body you inhabit. In doing so, to touch the oneness from which things were born.
In this silent breath there is not only receptivity, but also action.
Zhuangzi wrote that the experienced butcher hardly needs to sharpen his knife because its edge moves through the spaces between the bones. From the parable「包丁解肉」the butcher says:
“Now, I see with the spirit and not my eyes. My senses and thoughts stop – I move with the spirit. In line with nature, I cut in the big spaces.”
In Japanese, “to ask,” “to listen,” “to effect,” and “to be effective” are the same word.
When we quiet our minds, perception and action become two aspects of the same thing, just as we breathe in and out.