Quite often I make a smoothie for breakfast using my handy little Magic Bullet mixer, an electric appliance that happens to be almost as sacred to me as my 35 year old set of Ginsu steak knives. Sacred, because it amuses me that I actually purchased
and regularly use and appreciate a few items that were once endlessly flogged on TV in the cheesiest of "Satan's-Handbook-of-Marketing-and-1-800-Number-to-Salvation" ways.
Lately however, perhaps as a sign of my aging, I've noticed that
the loud whirring of my little magic machine has been bothering my ears. And so in my own uniquely amusing and common-sense-for-me way, I've been putting on my headphones to make my breakfast. (And as an additional confession, "Dear God please forgive me for
putting a little bit of Kleenex in each ear part way through the incredible Roger Waters concert last weekend".)
Who knew that headphones were going to end up being an integral component of my culinary future? Certainly not me, but in
a way, because it seems and looks ridiculous, it makes complete sense to me. In fact for me, it's just perfect.
At this point, I would say, "Well, I digress", but I haven't even gotten to the point yet of what I wanted to talk about, so
I'm not sure if I can really digress from it. Anyway...
After I started the magic machine this morning, and immediately noticed again the loud sound and desire for my headphone protection, I stopped the machine so I could retrieve the
headphones from another room. When I put the headphones on, I noticed the immediate change in my experience of sound, from clearer and sharper to more muffled, and somehow more "reverberish".
I could still hear, as well as feel my hearing,
but my experience of all of it was completely different. Even though some environment sounds were blocked or reduced, some of the sounds from my own body were changed or heightened... including the awareness of the pound of my feet on the floor, which seemed
to go straight to my ears. Because of this, I got reflective about how challenging it is to come up with the right words to clearly and articulately explain what I normally hear, versus what I hear with headphones on.
It then got me thinking
about the metaphor between how we experience sound and how we experience life. Hang on with me here for a minute longer and I'll explain.
If I had actually been born with a "headphones-ON" type of hearing in my head, I wouldn't know that
it was in any way different from anyone else who was "headphones-OFF".
I would "hear" most of what everyone else heard, but would have no initial awareness of if/how the experience was different, until of course, I suddenly got a clue
from something like a "headphones-off" type of experience. I would innocently and unknowingly go around assuming everyone was hearing what I was hearing in the exact same way.
I wouldn't have any idea that there existed any difference
to be heard (even for my own hearing) until it happened. I imagine I could have people telling me they could hear voices that I couldn't, for which of course, I would immediately point out to them they were crazy for hearing voices in their head. 😊 And they
would in turn, immediately point out to me that I was crazy for NOT hearing voices. And the irony and humour of that would of course, amuse me.
I think I digress again. Sorry about that. Anyway...
The thing is, "headphones-ON"
---IS--- everyone's experience. We are all walking through life with our own completely unique set of headphones (hearing), glasses (seeing), dust mask (smelling), parkas-mitts-Sorels (feeling)... and so on. The "parkas-mitts-Sorels" is a northern Canadian
thing, but I'm guessing you still get the point I'm trying to make.
And more significantly than our 5 senses, the continually changing THINKING that appears in each of our heads, goes through a billion-and-one different filters of knowledge,
experience, awareness, memory, belief, imagination, and universal magic before forming into something that feels like the single "truth" or "reality" we are hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling, tasting, and thinking in each moment.
We have no idea what anyone else is thinking/experiencing, other than our own incredibly limited and insufficient interpretation of their always incredibly limited and insufficient words for explaining it.
We're innocently and unknowingly
ONLY ever experiencing the completely unique thinking in our own head. We're all "headphones-ON", not realizing that everyone has on a completely different brand of headphones, and often having absolutely no awareness or comprehension of the experience of
"headphones-OFF", until it somehow happens... a moment of awareness of the truth of reality without all the billions of personal filters.
For the most part, since I'm human, and since my ears hurt when I'm making my morning smoothies,
it just makes sense for me to keep putting my headphones on. But how grateful I am to have some awareness of the filter-free experience and freedom of "headphones-OFF", and some awareness of how much more there is to hear that I don't hear yet.
What type of headphones are you wearing, and what might you not be hearing yet?