Noise and solitude

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By Stella A. Estremera

Spider’s web

Sunday, July 6, 2014


NEVER has life been as noisy as it is now. Of course, there are the audible noises... sound of traffic, construction work, loud voices. But aside from that is the inaudible noise. Like Facebook and Twitter.

Both don’t talk, and yet, there are millions of discussions going on ranging from petty quarrels, to trolling, to bullying, to serious discussions. The problem here is we are drawn into all, unconscious of the noise it has generated in our spirit.

Then we have our cellphones.

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Whence before we left the telephone at home or at work and can only be contacted where there is a phone, now everyone is attached to a phone, many constantly using it as unlimited calls have enticed long and repeated conversations. With a phone and a wifi signal, no one is ever alone, and it becomes difficult to escape the noise.

Having lived in the suburbs where the noise you hear is the voice of your neighbor’s mother shouting for him or her to go home -- the first warning that we are all in trouble – the sound of traffic even at low levels tend to numb my brain. Thus was the case in our recent retreat where the hall used was right beside the highway. No one seemed to mind, while I was starting to get nauseous by the minute. It’s fascinating how many of us have become accustomed to noise. I’m the unlucky one gifted with sharp ears.

Thus, a quiet retreat with just oneself as company is always a welcome respite. There, the brain rests, and then… the foolish things.

Yes, life need not be serious all the time. In fact, it should be fun most of the time. But you can only find the best fun if you have rested the brain and dispelled of the weariness.

The most fun days for me are the times when I forget to bring my phones. Yes, phones. Plural. Apparently, people are so used to having you at their beck and call all the time, they have forgotten the existence of landlines where they can check if you have just smothered your phone to death and leave a message with a person. What for? Many will ask, there is text messaging.

Noise has become so much part of our lives, we no longer recognize it as such. We walk through the mall barely listening to the piped-in music and not even hearing the hum of the airconditioners. With all the noise surrounding us, even the important things are drowned out as it takes to be loud to be heard above the din.

There is power in silence and solitude. There is peace. There is power in being unplugged. That is when I recharge.

***
(saestremera@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 06, 2014.

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