More than ever our lives are busy and noisy. It takes alot of doing to deal with just the logistics of living which is why it is now newsworthy when someone chooses to live in a neighborhood where they can actually walk to all the resources they need like food. For most of us this requires some form of transportation, whether by bike, mass transit, or personal vehicle. For me driving is a requirement as my life stretches all over the city. Then add to that all the conversations that are going on around us every day. Ads on the radio, ads on TV, shows to watch, movies to watch, celebrities to watch….And then there are our friends who have lives they want to share and email, Facebook, Twitter, texts, apps….It’s just a large shouting mess from waking to rest at night.
It takes a lot of doing to keep up with all of this. And doing that pulls us away from being able to be in ourselves. Just to be in ourselves. Let alone to contemplate something that might be important to us. Oh, we do plenty of thinking when we are upset about something, in crisis, in desperate straits, when life is falling apart, but I wouldn’t call that being in ourselves or contemplating anything. Living in the Apocalypse of a huge personal drama is not contemplative. It happens and we all work through it, but when it’s done we should take time out to figure out why we reacted that way (not blaming others or pointing fingers) so that we learn more about ourselves. We could learn the underlying reason why we reacted has nothing to do with the person or the situation, but some hurt that we have and a need to heal something. Or an underlying issue that we didn’t realize we had and that our choices were continuing to put us in situations that exacerbated the issue. Now that we know, we can choose differently.
Scientists and the media have started to say that being quiet, thinking things through, and contemplating the bigger ideas about life may not be possible for the generations that are coming because the skills that allow them to cope with so much media, sound bytes, and multitasking move them away from any type of thought that requires concentrating for more than 5 minutes in length. I think that may be true, but is not inevitable. There is an art to being quiet that anyone can cultivate. It’s free, it’s relatively easy, it’s green, helps reduce your carbon footprint, and helps you in amazing ways in every aspect of your life because it allows you to get to know you. And you’re amazing. Wouldn’t it be revolutionary if people started to recognize their amazingness? I wonder what our civilization would look like then?