The weirdest thing happened to me this morning. I was driving to work, listening to NPR as usual, and I hit the magic BBM spot. Behind Black Mountain. Around here that means NPR goes out for a few miles, no other station does, but NPR does, maybe because its public. Anyway, I switched over to the one other station in Vegas I dare listen to, the pop station which has the #1 morning show. It was a commercial. I looked at my radio, gasped, took a deep breath and pushed the power button. It was about 6:45 in the morning and when the radio went off the only sounds I could hear were the ones coming from my tires bouncing, pot holes and all, along these desert highways. And the whoosh of cars passing me at 80mph. Then something interesting happened.
I started to get panicky and wondered why. Then, in a split, mind numbing moment of clarity I realized where my anxiety was coming from. It was the first time I had the radio off in 4 years of driving this route. Maybe longer, cant remember the last time I turned the radio off and just listened..... just.....thought.
Well, for the first 10 minutes I tried to convince myself I could make it through this new experiment. The anxiety was overwhelming, whats wrong with me? I tried to focus on something to help me get through the silence. I kept thinking about a thought I hadn't finished from last night, how Podcasts could help my kids?
I couldn't focus, couldnt come up with anything. All kinds of thoughts went in and out of my mind, but nothing productive. I took a couple deep breaths, tried to envelope the silence, and then just went with it. Go with the flow Cheech and Chong always said, or some unproductive person, cant quite remember who. Anyway, I went with it. All of sudden swarms of clarity came to me. Thoughts of making my classes better, posting on blogs, communicating with at-risk students, all these thoughts hit me. Of course the only thing I didnt think of was another way to use podcasts in my courses besides students making audio essays, but I did come to one clear resolution.
Monks are smart. Take time to meditate. Its almost impossible for me but the unnerving silence of this morning was the only point of relaxation I had all day.