I’m a big fan of audiobooks. If I can bring myself to abashedly admit it, I really don’t read books so much as I more often listen to them. It isn’t about how well I can read or whether I like books or not: I’m a solid reader (English is my first language, I was an English major in college, always several grades ahead of my peers as a kid in reading assessments) and I love a good story. Rather, the appeal of audiobooks is strong for people like me (and many of my students I tutor) who do well when keeping their hands moving. The urge to tactile creativity blends so satisfyingly with the sound of a good book of one’s choosing. More to the point, here, formal educational institutions may be slowly but surely coming to realize that the conventional, non-tactile, chair-seated, page-staring (with all respect to the value of chair-sitting and page-staring, it’s its own useful place) method of didactic teaching isn’t suited well to many humans, child or adult.
Thus, I was delighted to find this trove of gleaming evidence as to the growing numbers of good people who attest to the lively benefit of listening to stories, whether fiction or nonfiction. Audible’s Done While Listening feature displays the creative and productive works accomplished by people who thrive, like many of us, while keeping their hands moving. Shared here are a few screen-shot examples.
Done While Listening brings to mind the wisdom shared by Buddhist religious teacher, author and runner Sakyong Mipham in his book, Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind, which I highly recommend (and which –surprise!– I listened to on audio, beautifully narrated by the fine-voiced author himself). He tells us,
“Movement is good for the body. Stillness is good for the mind.”
As the body knows so many kinds of good movement (and stillness), so the mind knows so many kinds of good stillness (and movement). Listening to a book, I think, brings us back to the stillness of soothing comfort that is being read to as a child. Deeper still, is it the memory of our species of listening to stories from the oral traditions around a campfire (stars, trees and wind around us) in the ancestral childhood of humanity.