We have so much
noise in our lives. Do you have a cell phone? Do you have email? Instagram?
Snapchat? Facebook? Do you have a TV? Do you have more than one TV?
In the age of
technological advances and the rise of social media, we are engaged with even
more noise and distractions in our life. Why are we so attracted to noise? Why are we so repelled by the idea of
silence? What is it about silence that is so difficult? How much noise do I
voluntarily subject myself to?
I read about a
guy who records nature sounds for film and television. He said that in 1968, in
order to get one hour of undisturbed natural sound, like no airplanes, no
cars…it would take him about 15 hours of recording time. He said that today, in
order to get that same one hour of undisturbed sound, it takes him 2000 hours
of recording time.
Do you find
yourself exhausted from being subjected to the noise around you? Those who are parents,
do you find that there isn’t enough time in the day? Do you feel emotionally,
psychologically, physically, and spiritually depleted? Maybe you are tapped out
from trying to raise your kids or taking care of your elderly parents.
Those who are
trying to climb the ladder of success? Do you find yourself exhausted,
fatigued, overscheduled, overcommitted, and overworked? Maybe you think these
are signs that you are an important person. You say to yourself, “I must be
worth something. I must be climbing the ladder. My existence is validated,
because I lead an exhausting, insanely paced life.”
In the era where
noise and distraction are constantly nipping at our heels for our attention, we
must embrace other means to rejuvenate and recover.
need to get away, embrace boredom. Embrace recovery. Embrace idle time.
Eliminate the noise around us.
Hugh Prather wrote a poem that shook me awake…
I had only forgotten future greatness, and looked at the green things and the
buildings, and reached out to those around me, and smelled the air, and ignored
the forms and the self-styled obligations, and heard the rain on the roof, and
put my arms around my wife. And it’s not too late.”
We need time to
be bored. Time to notice the mundane. Time to get away, to free the mind from
the chatter and noise around us. Time to focus on what really matters in life.
Doing this actually makes us better!
As the essayist
and cartoonist, Tim Kreider, once wrote, as he describes the importance of
retreating away from the world of busyness:
“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice;
it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived
of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets…it is,
paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”
incredible value for you as you aim for downtime. The downtime provides you
chances for new insights and revitalizes your energy level.
intentionally and deliberately create boundaries, identifying areas in our life
where we are thoughtful about getting rest. Where we have stopping points in
our day(s). Deliberate time for
restoration. Unhurried time for rest.
In his book, Sabbath, Wayne Muller says it so
busier we are the more important we seem to ourselves and, we imagine, to
others. To be unavailable to our friends and family, to be unable to find time
for the sunset, to whiz through our obligations without time for mindful
breath, this has become the model of a successful life.”
We have lost
connection, Muller suggests. When we carve out time for Sabbath, we are
reminded that we are human beings, not
human doings. We need a healthy rhythm between work and life to maintain the
Sabbath in our life. When we don’t take time for restoration, we miss the
opportunity to rejuvenate and reengage. As the psalmist says in Psalms
twenty-three, “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still
waters. He restores my soul.”
“Sabbath gives the world the energy it
needs to exist another six days.”
~ Abraham Joshua Heschel