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The human experience: Voices and sounds

By Debbie Ogunjobi
THE five senses are the instruments for navigation through our foray in life. They guide us in different ways but they work best when all are at our disposable. In cases where some are missing; in the case of the blind, the vision is compromised but the sense of hearing steps in to become extra sensitive and be a tour guide very effectively.

The sense of hearing unlike our other senses is closely tied to our emotions and seems to have greater control of our mind. While it is the receptor of information and sounds it can also be a double edged sword of suggestion which sets the other senses on fire. Faith really does come by hearing and what the ears hear will be transferred into imaginings that may not always be constructive or realistic. One of the greatest attributes of the ear in my view is the ability to listen, to voices of people, to sounds of nature and music.

A couple of years ago I bought a CD that played the sounds of rain and crickets, I would put it on at night and once my eyes were closed, I would be transported to the countryside and before long I’d be fast asleep. The ears have the ability to create visions and scenarios that the other senses can’t even comprehend. While the eyes can assimilate and process a scene it can’t send the mind into a tailspin of transformation, transposition and transmutation! The eyes see reality and have to accept it; the ears go a step further by hearing reality but adding a few other suggestions to create pictures that shape that reality.

Selfish interests

The sense of hearing can be a tool of self absorption, it focuses on a myopic view that encompasses selfish interests and gains; I like to call it the inspiration of the internal blockbuster: “the world according to me.” I know quite a lot of people will be thinking they are not self absorbed but almost every single one of us is. Becoming less self centred is a life long course and thinking we have graduated simply confirms we still have a lot to learn.

Anytime you imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes you are going into the zone of self centeredness. The truth is that listening is all we are required to do most times when people talk to us, we are not being asked to put ourselves in their shoes, we are being asked to hear them, their voices, and the emotions that are even louder than the words being spoken. Anytime you find yourself interrupting some one by saying things like “ I know just how you feel” or “ me too; something similar happened to me!” you are being self absorbed.

The wisest people in the world are attentive when you talk to them, they look at you, and they are not playing a movie in their minds about similar situations, or even imagining themselves in the exact same situation. They make you feel like you matter, they don’t dismiss or interrupt, they hardly ever offer advice, and their counsel is more often than not, patience and a suggestion of careful and extended contemplation.

Encouraging you to be still and seek answers in serenity, devoid of anger or other emotions that are as destructive as they are fleeting… Unlike our sense of sight, our sense of hearing makes a greater use of our imagination to produce sights/visions that often have no basis in reality; it’s almost like a computer being programmed by information that is exaggerated with disastrous consequences.

Suggestions can be very dangerous when they come in the shape of gossip or malicious words. The mind is fed the information via the ears and it creates an intricate and quite destructive pattern of scenarios; sadly we all tend to believe the worst most of the time and the result is anxiety. Sometime back, a reader wrote asking me for advice on how to deal with insomnia and while I lay no claim to any wisdom or cure for the problem.

I can only suggest that the ears be fed some tranquillity in the form of stillness. I know from experience that it’s impossible to get any sleep when your mind is racing faster than a Ferrari but I also know that if I listen to a voice that ministers or a sound that soothes; my mind will slow down allowing me to get some rest. The beauty of the ears will be best utilised when our minds are not left to roam and rant under the influence of suggestions and information that are at best a part of a scenario and not the entire picture. I have taken to schooling myself to listening to people without interruption and speaking only when prompted in any conversation.

The human experience is not all about one individual, it’s about relationships, other peoples and their situations, interactions with our other senses to create harmony from within. The ears are tools of hearing not instruments of rabid imaginings and knee jerk reactions; they should be used to listen to voices and sounds, making life a lot easier to live. This week, purpose to listen, hear more talk a lot less!
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