The man who listens is from the outset a spiritual being compared with the person who merely speaks, sees, and grasps. Hearing and taking in are spiritual activities: hearing the unchangeable, the untouchable, the incomprehensible, the constant, the eternal within the Melos. Only someone who listens can also recognize, interpret, think, speak, apprehend and comprehend.
The only benefit of flattery is that by hearing what we are not, we may be instructed what we ought to be.
Let us never forget that, to be profited, that is, to be spiritually improved in knowledge, faith, holiness, joy and love, is the end of hearing sermons, and not merely to have our taste gratified by genius, eloquence and oratory.
The blind are more understanding than the deaf because hearing exerts a direct influence on the formation of moral character, which is not immediately true of what is seen. The human soul can also become diffused by way of the eye whereas what is heard results in focus and concentration.
Cultivate unity. You do your hearing, not with your ears, but with your mind; not with your mind, but with your very soul. But let the hearing stop with the ears. Let the working of the mind stop with itself. Then the soul will be a negative existence, passively responsive to externals. In such a negative existence, only Tao can abide. And the negative state is the fasting of the heart.
Perfection of hearing is not hearing others, but oneself. Perfection of vision is not seeing others, but oneself.