In a Newsweek.com article (Jan 28, 2010 by Julia Baird), An Unquiet Nation, Audio ecologist Gordon Hempton discusses America's vanishing quiet spaces.
As the article goes on to state, "Silence is something you assume you will always be able to find if you need it. All you have to do is drive far enough in the right direction, trek through quiet fields or woods, or dive into the sea's belly." But in all reality, the quiet areas in our country and our world are rapidly disappearing.
In 1983, Gordon Hempton found 15 places in Washington State that were noise free for 15 minutes and by 2007, there were three of them.
Why should we care?
The body needs positive and negative stimulus. If we constantly give it one or ther other, our nervous system remain stagnant and do not allow for elasticity. In other words, without the effects of both positive and negative stimuli on our bodies, we just cannot handle as much as we could otherwise. Our nervous system keeps us in a very tight range of what it can handle.
However, silence is also important in that it allows our bodies, our minds and our souls to stop and rest; to repair and heal; and to experience all that is around us. So many of us live in places where constant noise is the norm from traffic all around us, to a constant flow of people, cell phones, electronic noises, and other barely noticeable sounds that impact our lives each day. With all of this going on around us constantly or almost constantly, how can our bodies come down and find a quiet moment of relaxation? If there is some activity or noise going on, where do we find peace in our day? One could make the argument that we find it within and while that is true, if we are impacted by all that is constantly around us, than can we truly find a peaceful moment?
On top of the noise pollution that is around us each day, many of us barely take the time to stop in our day let alone stop and listen to the sounds of nature around us. When was the last time, you stopped and just listened to the wind rustle through the trees, or maybe just absorbed the sounds of the many different birds singing around you? When was the last time, you just stopped in a remote, quiet place that you love and just listened and absorbed the symphony that nature provides you? Do you realize just how powerful that can be to give your mind, body and soul a place of peace, rest and healing?
We're So Busy These Days
We're so busy these days in our lives trying to go here and there, accomplish this task or that one, getting to this activity or meeting that we fail to stop and "smell the roses" so to speak. We've got music blasting continuously from our computers, the headphones on our iPods, the TV with the talking pundits or many other things. And if these aren't enough, we hear the constant buzz and hum of the computers we work on, or the fluorescent lights humming away in our office or the cars, planes and trucks zipping by on the road. Through all of this, most of the time we are oblivious that it is all occurring and we're taking in all of it whether we realize it or not.
My Challenge To You
So my challenge to you is to find a quiet place in your life, preferably outside among nature. When you find that quiet place, just sit back and take in all the sounds of nature that you can hear, even the silent ones. You can close your eyes if you feel safe or just sit there and observe, doing nothing more. Let the sounds of nature and the silent moments fill you from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes. Take it all in and notice your breathing, how your body feels and just all that you can sense. Notice your body tension, your aches and pains and your worries, than let them be adsorbed in the silent sounds of nature. Spend some time there without worrying about what tasks you have to do and see just how refreshed, relaxed and whole you feel when you come to the end of your symphony. Take a moment and be thankful for all that there is around us that is just waiting for us to connect to and make a pledge that you will do this frequently.
More Information About Gordon Hempton
Book by Gordon Hempton: One Square Inch Of Silence
*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog
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