Friday, June 26, 2015
A day spent in nature is a day surrounded by sound.
The playful rustle of wind dancing through trees. The soothing coos of a mourning dove. The ceaseless rhythm of the ocean. The enchanting chirp of crickets on a summer’s eve. S wirling water tumbling over itself in a lively brook. T he peaceful patter of rain on leafy trees. Thunder rumbling across the sky. Nature is a veritable symphony of sound. And God is its great conductor.
- Back in the garden, Adam and Eve became accustomed to living by the natural rhythms of life.
- They had no clocks, so they rose with the sun and slept with the stars—the natural rhythm of a day.
- They worked six days and rested on the seventh—the natural rhythm of a week.
- They grew and gathered food—the natural rhythm of seasons.
- They had no radio or CD players, so their music was the melody of nature—the natural rhythm of sound.
In contrast to the soothing sounds of Eden, the average office today is likely to be filled with the constant drone of ringing phones, beeping pagers, and whining fax machines. And out of the office, you and I will encounter honking traffic, blaring radios, noisy malls, and endlessly chattering televisions. The constant clamor can make it difficult to clear our minds and think.
“In twentieth-century society,” comments Steven Halpern, contemporary musician, “the noise level is such that it keeps knocking our bodies out of tune and out of their natural rhythms. This ever-increasing assault of sound upon our ears, minds, and bodies adds to the stress load of civilized beings trying to live in a highly complex environment.”
Artist Luigi Russolo observed that “in antiquity there was only silence. In the nineteenth century, with the invention of the machine, noise was born. Today, noise triumphs and reigns supreme.”
The Garden of Eden, a place of perfect peace, stands in striking contrast to the modern world of manufactured noise. What can we do to save our sanity? Let’s explore three possible alternatives to the increasing assault of sound on our personal environments.
In a noisy, clamoring, overstimulated society, silence seems like a lost art. Indeed, many have become so accustomed to noise that they actually feel uncomfortable in silence. Some even prefer to fall asleep at night with the television or radio on. British poet Dame Edith Sitwell once remarked, “My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.” Sometimes the best thing you can do is to shut out sound of every kind and sit in silence. Somewhere in the silence you may find it easier to tune in to God’s voice as He speaks to you of His love.
To restore a sense of peace and harmony to your home (or workplace), consider filling it with sounds from nature—the natural rhythms designed by the Creator to bring rest to the spirit.
You might start by looking into nature CDs. Many companies offer high-quality recordings of nature for your enjoyment: ocean waves, gurgling brooks, gentle rain, waterfalls, wind through the trees, birds in song, and the many voices of the rain forest. Some artists have set these soothing sounds to relaxing instrumental music. Find out which ones help you to relax.
Inexpensive sound generators are also widely available today. They generate natural sounds to help drown out unwanted background noise. If you happen to live in a noisy city or next to a heavily trafficked road, you might find a sound generator useful.
They can often reproduce the rhythms of rain, waterfalls, rivers, and the beating of ocean surf. If you’re a pet lover, you may want to consider owning a songbird. Another restful sound is that of a tabletop fountain—and of course fountains are also enjoyable to watch.
Music, it’s been said, is simply noise that someone has organized. Many studies suggest that music has a calming effect on the human body and mind. Listening to soothing music may reduce stress, decrease muscle tension, strengthen the immune system, raise endorphin levels, and produce feelings of peace.
No one kind of music soothes and relaxes everyone. Many enjoy the piano, flute, guitar, or harp. Others prefer classical music or smooth jazz. Discover the style that makes you feel relaxed and at peace. Then keep it handy when stress starts to rise.