"Our lives are lived against the backdrop of external and internal soundscapes. The sounds, noise and music with which we are surrounded in modern life have spiritual implications. There is also a soundtrack within us that plays constantly through memory, dreams, anxiety and thought.
What are these soundscapes,and how do we listen for the voice of God within them? How too do we find our own voice?"
- Lucy Winkett Our Sound is Our Wound - Contemplative Listening to a noisy world, Continuum 2010
An excerpt from the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book for 2010 which I started on yesterday. Readers who've stuck with this blog from its conception will have gathered that listening for the voice of God, to the music of the spirit, is something that's engaged the Greenpatch brain greatly; with varying degrees of "success," and more foot in mouth moments than is strictly comfortable. The external soundscape alternately fascinates, puzzles, and exasperates me for all sorts of reasons. It's so loud for a start. I have difficulties hearing certain tones against background noise,which makes sociability "interesting" to say the least. "No, Darling, I said 'Give him a bone!'" (local hearing centre poster) describes it perfectly.
Internal soundtrack? Ooh, even more of a mixed blessing. Take a bass note of profundity, weave in a sprinkling of wobbly self-esteem and anxiousness to please, plus a weird sense of humour all of which sometimes cause me to open mouth before I've engaged brain. Or not engage brain at all. Like last night during the Ash Wednesday Eucharist, "If the flesh, more Clang'erous still, tempt my soul to deeds of ill." For one millisecond my mind wrestled, mid-hymn, with the unlikely temptations presented by little, pink, whistling, mouse-like creatures, before light dawned - "clam'rous." (Well, no, actually, as I found when I checked with reading glasses on; it was "dang'rous." Never mind, It amounts to the same thing.)
So to contemplative listening, and some thought about my soundscape, given that it's Lent and all. Maybe I should rename it my "internal Clanger," given that a faint but wobbly "Eeeeeeeep!" is making determined attempts to crescendo. To explain, I've some health worries just now, hopefully not serious, but definitely there, for which I've been awaiting tests for some while. Up to now, with the odd blip (and the patient ear of a few, long-suffering folk) I've coped on a one step at a time, basis. But with a test coming up next week, and a consent form sitting smugly in my in-tray, the eep-eep-eeping, not to mention the 'me-me-meeing,' (see my other blog) is threatening mutiny and a takeover of the soprano line. Or to put it more bluntly, if I don't look out, I'm likely to become one of those grumpy old souls who bore everyone to death with all the gory details of every little ache, pain and ingrowing toenail.
For example, last Sunday in church I was approached by somebody asking about one of the courses I'm doing. Wow! Was I pleased. An invitation to explain a bit about something which I've a passion for. So...talk I did, ad nauseam, blow by blow, about guts, grumbles about NHS red tape and how concerned I was that said guts might hinder me continuing with said course. It wasn't long before I realised that my listener might be loosing the will to live. It took me a bit longer to twig that they might actually have had a genuine interest in hearing about what I've been up to this year; if only I'd listened properly in the first place.
Internal Clanger? Mine needs fitting with a volume control.