Lofty, lofty, high exalted mountain.
At its foot are rivers, breakers.
Lesson VI - Soft Tablets
Now we have arrived at the point where we can be free from tones when we are making our devotions. Today, we will worship the Lord in pure sound, in exactly the same way as the rest of his creation. I will not say too much about "The Rule for the Day" because I have written a lengthy paper on it, that can be made available upon request, which comments on each of the rule's four parts. I call it "Soft Tablets" to distinguish it from Moses' Ten Commandments which should never be broken. These four directions may be broken, but, in another sense, they are impossible to break. You will probably need to read my paper in order to understand what I mean by this. I composed "Soft Tablets" after having conducted many meditations while following rules set down by Brother Karlheinz Stockhausen and Sister Pauline Oliveros. Sister Pauline devoted ten years of her life almost exclusively to what she called "Sonic Meditations" before moving to her retreat at Kingston in the Catskills.1 I must offer her many thanks for her personal guidance to my Brother Euphonius Monks and myself.
It is advisable that Brothers form themselves into various groups in order to experience this wonderful flight together. You will also have some important experiences doing this alone with God. So do both. I would also suggest that you close your eyes if you feel yourself getting overly self-conscious. You will be glad that we have kept the monastery closed, because outsiders could think that we are conducting exorcisms. When one thinks of Aristotle's theories about catharsis,2 one can see that, in a way, this is a kind of exorcism.
Rule for the Day:
1. Make sounds only in response to other sounds. Remember that silence is something that is fragile and precious.
2. Love and caress each sound and never do anything carelessly.
3. Find and appreciate the order instilled by God in all that you see and hear.
4. Do 1-3 without thinking, trusting completely in the Lord. As soon as you start thinking, stop doing anything and just listen.
1 Oliveros, Pauline; Sonic Meditations; 1974.
2 Aristotle; The Poetics.