I recently went to the ballet with a dear friend. It was a beautiful production of Sleeping Beauty with an incredible orchestra.
During the interval my friend asked me “Did you hear that commentary?” I had no idea what she was talking about. During the first half of the performance she had heard a commentary which was an audio description a blind audience member was listening to. I hadn’t even noticed it.
We ate our ice cream and took our seats again for the second half. Sure enough, as soon as the performance started, I heard the commentary. In fact, it was all I could hear! Even when I didn’t want to hear it, it was what I heard. It wasn’t that it was any louder after the interval, or that the orchestra was any quieter, rather that I was more aware of it and so I was listening out for it.
Humans are designed to listen out for things. As cavemen, tuning in to certain sounds was our way of tuning into danger and staying alive. Minds haven’t changed nearly as much since then as our environment has. Now there are many sounds and messages for us to tune into, or not and we can often become overwhelmed with the amount of noise around us and confused about what to tune in to.
What we tune into will impact our experience of the world around us hugely. The news at the moment is often filled with fear stories – wars, economic disaster, violence. However, there are still many stories in the world of kindness, compassion, community, and love. If we tune into the fear stories, we will likely begin to experience the world as a dangerous and scary place.
This quote says it beautifully:
Your mind, emotions and body are instruments and the way you align and tune them determines how well you play life ~ Harbhajan Singh Yogi
Just as we experienced at the ballet, we are not always aware of what else there is to listen to – what we tune into is often learnt and habitual. My friend hadn’t made an active choice to hear the commentary and I hadn’t chosen only to hear the orchestra – it just happened that way. However, as we become more aware of the variety of messages, emotions, thoughts and experiences we can tune into, we become aware that we have a choice of where we focus and what we tune in to.
It’s not so much about ignoring or trying to block out certain noise – when we try not to listen to something, that’s much more likely to be the only thing we can hear, as I discovered at the ballet! It is much more about considering if there’s something helpful to hear in what we are listening to, or if we might seek out other messages, tune into other sounds. Just like on the radio – even when we are tuned into one station there are still many others playing that we can’t hear, but if we are aware of the possibility of other stations, we can change channel and hear other music.
Spring is slowly arriving here in the UK. The birds are singing, the wind is blowing through new leaves on the trees – even when the city traffic or overhead aeroplanes are the loudest noises. What are you tuned in to today?
With March love. Sarah x