Wednesday, April 28, 2010

For the Love of ... Silence

I practiced TCC in the midst of irony tonight. Earlier today I read an article and review about a new book entitled, In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise, by George Prochnik. Prochnik proposes that noise is more than mere distraction; it threatens our mental and physical health, detracts from our ability to concentrate, and breaks down the ideals of dialogue that democracy depends upon.

So here I was ... performing T'ai Chi Chih practice outside while Frances operated the Weed Whipper on the other side of the house. The gas engine whined loudly and occasionally produced mechanical grinding sounds. When Frances came around the corner of the house I smelled the gas, and I immediately vacated the area.

Interestingly, I'm usually not disturbed by noise during T'ai Chi Chih class practices when any number of students comment about people talking in the hallway outside the door, the wood floor squeaking, or the sound of the bathroom fan filtering into our room. But I'd just finished writing an article for a locally produced book called Love Stories of the Bay. My piece, "For the Love of ... Silence," required me to think more deeply about what I most appreciate about peace and quiet. Clearly, I wasn't in the mood for noise.

A class TCC practice is special because of the peace and silence it evokes. To spend time with a group of people where no words are spoken but where there is also a definite sense of harmony and collegiality is a unique situation and a rare gift to us all.

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