Vilson Unplugged (Featuring Deepak Chopra)

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra

 

Confession: I haven’t had earphones on for the last month and a half.

Perhaps some of that has to do with my iPod’s phone jack loosening up, causing me to twist the plug too much to get maybe 20 minutes of uninterrupted listening. I generally use my iPod for 90 minutes, 45 minutes to and from work, to charge and recharge my mental battery. While I enjoy listening to my Metallica and Elton John on a regular basis, I also knew it was my sonic therapy. It kept my mind off the stress I deal with on a daily basis, even if my eardrums were after a Wu-Tang joint.

I always used the excuse that I was controlling my environment, and maybe half of the 90 or so passengers who ride the same train car every morning share the same sentiment. Many New Yorkers like me grow tired of the random folk who end up on our ride: the drunk man yelling curses at long lost lovers, the pseudo-crooner who thinks Jodeci is appropriate morning music, the b-boys screaming “Showtime” for the umpteenth time, the chatty women complaining about everyone on the train, and the people who bought earphones that everyone can hear. Ugh!

Yet, I also noticed that, without my earphones, I could read books without re-reading lines. In fact, I could think of a whole bunch of stuff now that I postponed my music sessions. With earphones, I can pretend to control what’s going on around me. Without the earphones, it’s as if now, I had to deal with the world around me, and all the variables that came with having to listen.

This comes to mind because I had the privilege of taking an introductory online course with Deepak Chopra recently. (full disclosure: This was provided by Siminars) In this online seminar, we watched videos, read words, and listened to audio introducing us to the philosophy behind meditation. In the beginning, he talks about freeing ourselves from the prisons of our learned behaviors, and learning to calibrate our thoughts and bodies, all of which resonated with me. While I wish I got a chance to hear from him personally via video, I also noted that he responds in the forum for personal questions, as he already has tens of thousands of people going checking out the introduction with me.

Which brings me back to the iPod thing. I found myself learning about the power of meditation through the Internet, a powerful tool for connecting to others rapidly and through a plethora of filters. Unplugging from my iPod forces me to have a different relationship with my music stash and the world I shut off for those 90 minutes a day. It’s also taught me that it’s time I look carefully at the relationship I have with my other electronic devices, too.

Jose

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About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 3

  1. Damian

    Unplugging is a difficult but eye-opening step. Used to be, I couldn’t run without listening to music or podcasts to keep my mind off my fatigue. At the suggestion of one of my grad school professors, I gradually began turning the music off and spending more time listening to my surroundings and – more importantly – my body. The physical cues like footfalls, breathing, etc., were all trying to tell me something, and I was finally listening. Now I rarely run with anything besides a watch and the sun on my face (though my prof would probably tell me to ditch the watch, too). Consciousness is beautiful.

  2. Keishla

    I think my TVserves the same function. It’s always on even if I’m not watching it. But every once in a while we turn the TVs off and just have quiet in the house. It’s nice to turn off the “noise” for a while.

  3. Nathalie

    Gosh, this brings me back to my days in NYC! My Ipod blasting for multiple hours on my commute for the exact same reason you mentioned but one day, no headphones. I thought I was going to lose my mind! I never thought of it as controlling my environment. Now that I am upstate, silence is something I treasure. Sometimes we are home, no tv or music…just the natural sound of our house/neighborhood. All that extra noise can drive you crazy, especially after long days and short nights. Thanks for sharing this!

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