"If you have an apple, and I have an apple and we exchange apples then we both still have one apple. If you have an idea, and I have an idea and we exchange ideas then we both have two ideas." George Bernard Shaw

Friday, July 31, 2015

Attuning our Lives to the Music

     Recently after my wife and I completed our scripture study together I found myself surfing the web on my phone. I glanced at my wife and noticed she was doing the same thing. Later that night we reflected on it, noting that although we had talked earlier about how much we just wanted to be home and with each other, we both chose to pursue activities that drew us away from the other.

     That same night I told my wife about a race of people in a book I was read, the Parshendi in The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. The Parshendi , meaning listeners in their tongue, are constantly in tune with music. Whether they are talking to others, thinking alone, fighting or any other activity they have a rhythm such as amusement, irritation and others. A Listener that s attuned to a given rhythm will be perfectly in rhythm and tune with any other Listener who is attuned to that particular rhythm. Their songs give depth to their lives, by helping to convey feeling when speaking, strengthening resolve, by attuning to the rhythm of resolve, mourn, by attuning to the rhythm of mourning, and much more.

     We may not have the superhuman ability of the Parshendi to inherently feel rythms in everything we do, but our lives can have so much more depth if we try to be in tune with what's going on around us. I have often wondered what experiences I, or others, miss by constantly distracting our selves with music, audio books, using our phones and computers, or in other ways preventing our selves from really living in the moment. How many times have missed an opportunity to feel the rhythm of friendship because we were so intent on listening to the cacophony of our phone screen? How many beautiful sights have we missed because we were just too busy to enjoy them, and experience the incredible rhythm of nature?

     I try not to think about it. Doing so makes me feel ashamed.

     Fortunately I have been blessed with a wife who loves nature. With her help I have begun to learn to appreciate the wonders of the earth. She helps me remember to slow down and take time to be still, and simply enjoy life. Being able to fully live in the moment and let the rhythm of the experience, whatever it may be, fully wash over us may take time and effort to do, but it is worth. We owe it to ourselves to do it.

     Why? Isn't it good to read the latest books and news articles? Isn't it fun to use social media and watch endless youtube videos? Sure. I'm not going to try and contest that those things have their place, but not when it stops other things from having theirs. If we are to reach our greatest potential as individuals, we must learn to feel all the rhythms of life, and not let any one of them become too strong.

     I am a practitioner of Shorinji Kenpo. It's very difficult for me to focus and practice if I am too busy listening to whatever my earbuds pump out. Only by removing distractions and giving myself the chance to feel the rhythm of practice, of resolve or of discipline can I hope to really get good.

     As the general conference address The Music of the Gospel explains, while we can go through the motions, for the gospel to really mean something we have to hear the music.

     Every aspect of our lives can be improved if we stop distracting our selves at every turn and learn to hear the music.

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