Monastic readers would huddle over their parchment texts, reading aloud, immersing their whole being in the words and the text. Reading used to be understood as a remedy. According to Ivan Illich, reading brings light back into the world, by kindling the eye, and bringing a glow to the reader. This kind of reading is a study of a text, the word ‘study’ being understood more as ‘sympathy’ than simply an abstract intellectual pursuit, an embodied activity that engages the heart and the senses as much as the brain and the intellect. It is a holistic activity.
Tom Cheetham writes that while belief wants to know, the imagination wants to hear more stories, to unfold the endless tale of reality. The development of the imaginal faculty is learning to listen, to attend to the fictive in our daily waking and dreaming. Henry Corbin saw music as being central to the experience of the imagination, creating harmony and tying creation together.