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.