Actively opening your ears creates an astounding change in the manner in which you perceive the world. Paired with my interest in the importance and power of sound is a belief that we are travelling too quickly into the future with technology. We have stopped interacting with our environment. We spend our days on the internet passively flashing images around, and in the real world we are bombarded by more visual stimulation. A drastic change in the way we perceive the world must take place. In order to allow consciousness to bloom once more, I believe the key to keeping contemplative thought alive is sound. As Julian Treasure explores in his Ted Talk on ways to listen, right now “our relationship with sound is unconscious.”
By summarizing and taking Treasure's ideas further, we can pin point that if sound were to be brought back into our consciousness it would be a powerful tool to situate ourselves in the present. The quote he spoke of by Jean Luc Nancy says it all; “Sonority is time and meaning.” Our sight is spatial, it allows moments to blur past in a blink. But if you truly listen to every little piece in your current soundscape the seconds freeze into reality. Listening provokes contemplation, and contemplation can only occur in a state of stasis. It calms your mind into a zone of pure, simple perception. Slowing the brain enough to perceive is what allows us to create, write, think intelligently, read, and take in any kind of knowledge. This can all be achieved by using sound to advantage. I did an experiment with the next paragraph in combining it with recordings I captured at a park. Feel free to close your eyes and have a listen.
Imagine being in a state of stress. Your thoughts are not productive because they're jumping all over the place between the things you've forgotten, the ones you have to do, and those you haven't even gotten around to thinking about yet. All this while walking home from work through a park. You stop at a bench because you just need a break from everything. But as you sit there in the sun, frustrated, your thoughts continue to trail in jagged circles. There are so many things going on around you, and your brain is not able to focus on anything. Your ears are filled with white noise as you flit around erratically. Imagine now, taking a deep breath. And in that moment of breath your ears snap open. You become conscious of sound. Suddenly, everything slows down. A resonate thudding sounds from your heart. As your deep breaths continue to sound in your ears, the heart beat grows louder and lower. The echo of children laughing fills your ears as you close your eyes to take the rest in. Footsteps sound past, birds trill in the trees and into the sky, muffled conversation floats to your right. All of these things are happening in the occurring now. You have successfully situated yourself in time, and it is when we are most present that we are able to feel the easy passing of seconds. A sense of ownership takes hold, and you are free to meditate on your thoughts. There is a reason meditation techniques use sound to enter that 'moment of zen'. Give it a try when you have the time.