Silence. Quiet. No noise to distract you, to allow you to escape, to let you off the hook.
For the month of September I made the decision to cut out noise while driving. As a personal experiment, I decided to not listen to music, talk radio, my iPOD, or any other noise. I decided to go quiet to see what happened. I didn’t think too much of the goal but turns out completing the whole month was much more difficult than I expected.
After a few days of silence, I quickly realized how much I ran away from my thoughts by using noise. I became aware of how much I was listening to the radio, checking out of my thoughts, and simply driving to arrive. (This is when you show up and forget you even drove there.) While the music was on, I was not aware, present, or in the moment. I was somewhere else, zoned out, floating.
By cutting out the noise, I forced myself to stay in the NOW and deal with what was going on in my head.
Heavy topics I encountered in the SILENCE:
- Frustration with driving in traffic
- Confusion in my life
- Thinking through experiences and actions
- The death of a close friend
- My life situation and path
For thousands of years we had very little to distract us. We were either alone in the woods, quietly stalking our next meal or in our fields plowing the crops. There was no iPOD, no Hulu, no Netflix. It was man and his mind.
The only option was to think through our problems, think through our actions, and just plain think.
Then radio launched the onslaught of technology and it was all downhill: T.V. Internet. iPhone. 4G. Tablets. (Where does it stop?)
Over the last hundred years we’ve created a multitude of simple escapes that allows us to check out.
We now have a plethora of distractions to numb us from what happens in our minds. We no longer have to deal with silence. With the click of the ON button we can escape. Over and over again we run from our problems by alternating between different means of electric distractions.
Technology has provided us with incredibly convenient methods to zone out, metaphorically pushing our problems under the rug to deal with later. And later. And then even later. But these problems start to accumulate and at some point, they can no longer be avoided.
You can’t improve character defects by cranking up your music. You can’t ignore mistakes by zoning out in front of the T.V. You can’t run and hide for ever.
What happens when you are forced to face your problems, all at once? And there’s no place to hide?
(Take some quiet time and just think…)