(Second installment of the life without TV series)
If you disregard the couple of morning news programs I happened to watch at the hotel in Galway, I’ve essentially been without a TV for almost 7 weeks (even if you count that, it has still been about four and a half). I’ve even chosen not to turn it on the last few days as I’ve been staying in hotels, even for sporting events. It’s because I’ve begun to enjoy the beauty of silence.
This project, to regain the splendor of stillness, started well before my trip to Ireland. I started leaving the TV and radio off when I’m at home telecommuting. Not because it’s a huge distraction – as you may have read my previous post, it has become little more than background noise; but because I wanted to listen to the silence. Listen to the sounds of the world around me when I’m not trying to cover them up with other noise. I wanted to occasionally listen to absolutely nothing, and revel in the peacefulness.
It was difficult at first, there is no denying. If not entirely difficult, then definitely awkward and sometimes even more distracting than the artificial din. We aren’t used to it. We keep expecting something that is no longer there. However, each time it becomes more and more comfortable, and eventually, like any change in lifestyle, almost preferable or at least an acceptable alternative.
You do eventually notice that those other mediums in constant auditory motion, did, at times, distract you from your tasks. A few minutes away from the assignment at hand whether it is work or a chore, is often a good thing, allowing the mind to relax and new thoughts and ideas to enter. This same phenomenon can now occur in silence as well – we no longer require the outer stimuli.
It’s not pure silence, most of the time. There are still sounds, like the chirping of birds, the laughter of a child at play, or the creek and groan of a home settling into the earth. Many of the natural sounds are just as soothing as the electronic ones.
Why not try it sometime? Don’t expect to go cold turkey all at once. Try an hour here or there, then a day and maybe even a week while on holiday. It doesn’t have to be permanent; just a pleasant alternative. Re-learn how to appreciate life without artificial background noise, and revel in the beauty of silence. Who knows, you might even begin to enjoy it!