Monday, January 12, 2015

When You Stop Listening and Start Listening

I had an ear-opening moment yesterday. Not a great world-changing one, but a quick shift in perception. I was at the healthy living center working out. Due to a change in plans I did not have my iPod with me to be listening to music or radio, or whatever I usually do to help the time pass. So there I was- I rode the bike, did some strength and stretching and then went to do some more cardio.

As I was moving I realized that the place was unusually quiet. It was almost meditative in its silence. They don't play the music loud through the overhead speakers, so that was almost a distant background. What I heard was the constant hum of treadmills, an occasional grunt or weight drop, or my own breath. Not much else.

"That's odd," I thought. I looked around and saw that the place was about as full as it usually is when I am there. It can't be the number of people, I realized. Then it came to me- it was quiet because I wasn't listening to music in my earbuds. It was quiet in the gym because everyone was in their own world, listening with their earbuds to whatever they wanted to listen to. It was an eerie feeling to realize that there were all these people in the area- and it was almost as quiet as it gets at church during silent prayer.

It was, surprisingly, almost relaxing to be working out without the noise in my ears. Admittedly I was not doing long bike or cardio workouts. This was to be an easy day for that. Sure, I also like listening to podcasts or my own music mix from my iPod. But I also discovered a new way to do my workouts- it can be called mindfulness or even meditation.

Always something new.

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