How do I know? I stopped what I was doing and just listened. Then I went to the piano and matched the note played by our fridge, our AC, and the ceiling fan. Unless my piano is out of tune, they play a B flat. The oscillating upright fan in my office is an exception – it, ahem, oscillates between D and E above middle C.
It’s amazing what you hear when you stop to listen – wherever you are – whether it’s in a crowded restaurant or in the quietest corner of your house.
When you try it, you may also notice that it quiets your brain.
Our brains are far too busy these days – over-stimulated by all the electronic devices that fill our lives – the television, the radio, constant internet distractions. We flit from site to another, trying to catch the latest tidbit, afraid to miss out on something. We’re always thinking of the thing we need to do after we finish this thing.
Try this at Home
Stop! Listen! In an instant, you’ll find yourself in the moment. You’ll be more aware of your surroundings, even of your actions.
I take a break from writing this article and move from room to room, just listening. The one constant is the air conditioner. Other sounds change. The prominent noise in my office is the fan. When I turn it off, I hear the fan whirring on the laptop stand. I go into the bathroom. Again the AC, plus the sound of paper against paper as I take notes.
To the living room, where I hear the ceiling fan, outdoor chimes, the cuckoo clock. The front porch? The outdoor chimes a little louder – and the wind – always the wind. (This is Nebraska, after all.)
The basement? The quietest section of the house – the AC sound is louder there, and I also hear the ticks of our copper clock from Africa – what a nice reminder of our life there! For a minute or two, I hear a bird or some other creature, but the moment soon passes.
After this five-minute exercise, I find myself hearing all kinds of sounds in the house: the sound of the cellophane as I unwrap a cinnamon candy, the clip-clip as I shorten my nails.
Try it. Every so often during the day, stop! Listen!
When you find your mind going five directions at once – Stop! Listen!
If the house is so noisy you just want to run away, stop! Listen! You’ll hear the noises of those you love, the buzz of the appliances that indicate how blessed you are.
Listen for the music in the sounds.
Remember that hearing is a gift. Use it actively. You’ll be surprised by what you hear when you listen.