Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Deaf By Choice?

         Do you hear me? Do you care?
         My lips are moving and the sound's coming out
         The words are audible but I have my doubts
         That you realize what has been said
         You look at me as if you're in a daze
         It's like the feeling at the end of the page
         when you realize you don't know what you just read
         What are words for when no one listens anymore?
         What are words for when no one listens?
         What are words for when no one listens it's no use talkin' at all? 

         (Words by Missing Persons)  

Today, I want to vent about people who are deaf by choice. If you ride your bike on a shared trail - by bikers, joggers, pedestrians, and dog walkers - you can relate to these 80's lyrics. But, to update the song, the people are not listening because they really can't hear. They can't hear because, from my daily observation, over 90% of those hiking/jogging/dog-walking are deaf, deaf by choice, deaf to their surroundings. The mp3 sounds are blasting so loud their in ears, they simply cannot hear me shouting "passing left" and jump and shake in fearful astonishment as I whiz by on my bike.

Proper cycling etiquette requires that while passing, you do it on the left AND you warn those you are passing with a loud, audible warning, like "Bike Left".  This is very important, if you want to avoid a mishap. It is also common courtesy to let them know you are coming so you don't startle an unsuspecting person, nearly giving them a heart attack when you are right upon them.

But, how can I warn you if you are not listening? If you cannot hear me? In fact, it is not just me you can't hear, you can't hear anything around you! Not hearing your surroundings can be hazardous to your physical health.

But, it can be harmful to your mental health as well.

So, here is my primal point...

Fitness isn't just about diet and exercise and the body. It is about the mind and its health as well. Silence and meditation can nurture peace of mind. And while "silence is golden", it doesn't have to be the result of impaired hearing.

When did so many of us lose the ability to appreciate the sounds of nature? How can a person go for a walk on a trail along a stream and not want to enjoy the trickle of the water, the singing of the birds, the wisp of the wind through the trees? This is the Primal Theater of our ancestors and so many choose to block it out. Our ears and our minds evolved to be at home with it and with it we can find so much relaxation and peace.

My Primal Commute is often the highlight of my day. Not only am I working my body out in the open air, I am also in a sort of meditative state....no music, no news, no talk radio. Free of that noise, I can think, solve problems, remember, forget.


Post log - I had an mp3 player once - I dropped it as I was crossing a major road and it was smashed by a passing truck. What a blessing!

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