Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thought for the Day - Listening

It's a misconception that things have to be quiet to 'hear.' In a room buzzing with voices, in a crowded party, it's amazing what you can tune out and more importantly, what you hear. It's an act of the will.

The effort of listening, is both an act of surrender and act of volition. I have listened intently to some songs and though I've heard the same song a hundred times, it's the 101st listening where I pick up a subtle bass riff, never heard before. Or in some songs, listen carefully, and the musicians are actively collaborating, just out of microphone range. For me, those subtleties are the stuff of wonder!

Now honestly, I love silence, or what we call silence. I love early mornings - it's 4:45 while I'm writing this and the only sound is the music playing in the background, the hum of the computer and the occasional car rolling by. When the music isn't playing, the only sounds are the clicking of the keys, the cars rolling by and the creak of the floor above my head. My thoughts seem to have their own space to expand and communicate the truths buried within. This is my opportunity to gain clarity for the day and pour out my thoughts and prayers.

But then there's the train ride to work, the loud clanging of the train and the people who have animated conversations. Then there's the familiar recorded voice announcing each stop, the direction of travel and the next destination. At lunch, my friend goes on and on about the stress of her day and there's not enough room to get a word in edge wise! As a matter of fact, other than a sound of affirmation, my voice isn't needed. But in all these situations, there are moments when I focus my listening to one or more sounds. There are rhythms to be heard in the clanking wheels of the trains. There are beats heard in the steps of people walking along the sidewalk and even the words spoken around me carry a song of their own.

Are you listening? What do you hear?