Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Stillness of Earth Song

The inescapable hum of traffic from nearby freeways or city streets. Sales pitches, arguments, screams, car chases, battles, and other endless noise from television sets. Music from stereos or instruments. Fireworks during the weeks before and after Independence Day. Dogs barking and children playing outdoors. Crowds cheering at sports arenas. The drone of machines designed to make our lives more comfortable. Airplanes and helicopters flying over head. Sirens and horns blaring from emergency vehicles racing down the streets.

These are just a few examples of the typical sounds we’ve all grown accustomed to hearing on a daily basis. Most of us probably aren’t even aware of how much noise we hear at any given time. For those who live in the cities, the notion of silence doesn’t mean that these noises go away. Instead, it means that the volume simply decreases. For those living in smaller towns, the noises aren’t really much different than in the bigger cities; they just may not seem as noticeable. People who live in the countryside might welcome the noise after being surrounded by nothing but the sounds they make themselves or the noise from within their own home, but they at least have the option not to hear it all the time – a luxury most of us can only dream about.

It seems to me that most people are quite content with their white noise. In fact, I know some people who intentionally create background noise in order to fall asleep or to stay asleep. Perhaps most people fear silence. I personally crave time when I can enjoy the stillness of my own mind and the subtle sounds of nature. It is difficult for me to imagine a time or place where I would not have to hear the constant hum of traffic – no matter how distant it might be, the sound of cars and trucks on the road constantly lurks in the background of my day – and it’s one source of white noise I’ll probably never be completely free of in my life. I have come to accept this unpleasant fact.

The other daily noises never used to bother me; in fact, they typically don’t bother me at all. However, I have found that not being able to control the sounds in my own environment does disturb me, especially during times when I’m experiencing a lack of control in other aspects of my life. The less control I have over events or situations, it seems, the more noise becomes like chaos. Whenever I’m unable to tune out that chaos and find comfort by meditating to the delicate sounds of Earth Song, or when there’s no peace for my own thoughts, I become very grumpy.

Recently, I was given a rocking chair from a friend who moved to Colorado. My space is small, but I managed to make room for it next to my bedroom window. From that chair, I have enjoyed countless hours looking out at the trees that surround the house and watching them sway together in harmony, dancing carefree in the breeze. The gentle rustling of leaves speaks to me and I carefully listen for messages from their whispers in the wind. Nature is filled with delightful melodies and yet it can be gracefully still. It is this very stillness that I crave, but I can’t seem to get enough of it before the more unsettling sounds of daily life intrude upon me.

Take time to listen to the music of nature. Tune out the man-made sounds as much as possible for at least a few minutes every day. The more you can do this, the more you'll find yourself craving the stillness and the beauty that is Earth Song. Just imagine a city where everyone did this at the same time and each person tapped into the divine energy of Nature. That city would become a single organism as everyone immersed themselves in the silence. How beautiful would that sound? How powerful?

One heartbeat. One breath. Synchronicity. Earth Song.


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