HEAR HERE [for deep listening]: The Biology of the Spirit |Sherwin Nuland + On Being With Krista Tippett


SN: 
Well, you just got the word. I’ve been sitting here on the edge of my seat, hoping, ‘When am I going to get to say this word, wonder?’

Wonder is something I share with people of deep faith. They wonder at the universe that God has created, and I wonder at the universe that nature has created. But this is a sense of awe that motivates the faithful, motivates me. And when I say motivates, it provides an energy for seeking. Just as the faithful will always say, ‘We are seeking,’ I am seeking.

We’re seeking different things. I’m seeking an understanding of this integrity of everything, of this unity of everything, of the equilibrium of not just the homeostasis, as the physiologists say, the staying the sameness, but of the closeness that we are constantly coming to chaos. I have had chaos. I’ve had chaos to the point where I thought my mind was lost, which gives me a deeper appreciation of equanimity, not just to continued existence but to continued learning, continued productivity, this kind of thing.

KT: …I mean you really do suggest that the human spirit is something of an evolutionary accomplishment.

SN: I think there is an evolutionary accomplishment of the human cortex, the cortex of the brain, and the way it relates to the lower centers of the brain and the way it relates to the entire body, the way it accepts and synthesizes information, uses information from the environment, from the deepest recesses of the body, the way it recognizes dangers to its continued integrity. And I think that this is precisely what the human spirit is doing. The human spirit is maintaining an equilibrium, and it largely is related to its normal physical and chemical functioning…

Consciousness is only a kind of an awareness of our surroundings, an awareness of our emotions, an awareness of our responses. The human spirit is something much greater. The human spirit is an enrichment. It’s the way we use our consciousness to, I keep using this word, to synthesize something better than our mere consciousness, to make ourselves emotionally richer than we in fact are.

HEAR HERE [for deep listening]: The Biology of the Spirit

HEAR HERE [for deep listening]: Ann Hamilton + On Being With Krista Tippett

AH: A friend of mine who’s a wonderful poet, Susan Stewart, said that hearing is how we touch at a distance.  Isn’t that beautiful?

…But I think that’s also how, like, how I start projects is, in some ways, just to try to listen.

And what is the form of that listening for what something needs to become?

Or to find the question.  Or, you know, listening is obviously a very specific thing in a conversation, but also as a practice, for me, because I respond to spaces, the first architecture maybe is the coat.  But then the next one is this building around us.  And, the felt quality of that already has all this, as you say, information in it.  And so it’s like what is it that is here that maybe asks a question or that can be brought forward.

KT: You’re listening to the space…I also think listening is something we really have to practice, because our everyday spaces are not set up for listening.

HEAR HERE [for deep listening]: Making, and the Spaces We Share