We live in a noisy world.
Some of the noise we can’t help, especially if we live in a city. There’s the bustle of traffic, a neighbor’s loud stereo, sirens. In the office, it may be a co-worker’s talking on their speaker phone, oblivious to the fact that we are all (unwillingly) listening in on their latest relationship problems. Even in the country we hear tractors, spray planes, farm machinery, lawn mowers.
Other noise, however, we impose upon ourselves — like the TV droning in the background even though no one is watching, or the ear buds in our ears.
“But that’s music,” we say, wide eyed. Well, some of it is.
Whether the noise is “good” or “bad,” unwanted or self-imposed, the point is, is that it is not silence. In our noisy, active, busy, frenetic world, it’s easy to forget that silence is a necessary part to everyone’s day — because it is in silence that we are able to think, and think deeply.
And while we can and do experience too much noise, it’s difficult to make the argument that we have too much time to think.
In the artwork, Peace, a lone canoeist is in a very silent, very peaceful place, the only sound being the occasional chirp of a bird and the splash of oars upon the water. The lake is still; the mountains, majestic and imposing, are silent. In a place like this we can indeed think deeply, because there is nothing to distract our mind from its gentle stream of thoughts.
How often do we have time like this? While it may not be realistic for us to grab a canoe and head to a wilderness lake, there is always someplace where we can get away from the noise and activity, the bustle and hustle, the constant demands for our attention. (Many people swear by the bathroom, and its locked door.)
There is nothing wrong, and everything right, with taking time to be silent with our thoughts. After all, if we are not familiar with our own thoughts, how will we know when they are being imposed upon by the dictates of others?