The last house I rented was a cute cottage-like house near a beautiful lake and only 15 minutes from the beach. It’s a beautiful area, but I didn’t notice until after I moved in how loud it would be living that close to the 405 interstate, a major California freeway. The first night when I opened the window for air I heard it. It was the constant and unending sound of cars swishing by. It was so loud and incessant, I couldn’t sleep. At first I was upset, “Oh no, I can’t take that constant roar of traffic day and night.” It made me want to scream and run the other way.
But soon an interesting thing happened: The freeway traffic became soothing White Noise in the background, the way it does on an airplane, or when visiting Niagara Falls, or outside the therapists office to mask conversation. I began sleeping really well at night. I could watch TV in one room and not even hear the noise in another. The sound had left my conscious awareness and was now running somewhere in the background, hardly noticeable at all, except when I left and came back, and then only for a short time again.
The human system of adapting is amazing. And this got me thinking about our own Personal White Noise systems.
We all have a voice inside us that runs in the background just under our awareness level.
It started out talking to our conscious mind years ago and then faded from our awareness. I believe this Personal White Noise is the basis for a lot of our stress, discontent, and sabotaging behaviors.
How does your White Noise hold you back?
What is it blocking from our awareness? Perhaps it’s a voice that assumes by now we will never measure up to our full potential, so we miss opportunities simply because they don’t enter our radar screen—blocked out by the constant hum of this old belief. Perhaps it’s a voice that continually tells us we aren’t doing enough, that we need to be more productive in order to prove our worth. Perhaps it simply states that people won’t like us for who we are.
This voice blends so well into the background, that we may not have heard it consciously since second grade when our teacher told us we were just lazy. This voice has become such a subtle White Noise it’s almost impossible to distinguish it’s message, but its impact is as easy to see in our society as all the traffic on the 405.
Chronic stress and worry, generalized anxiety, fears, and depression, insecurities, illnesses, and unprecedented numbers of people on prescription drugs are a few of the signs of this silent killer.
It’s time to shut the window or move to a different place. It’s time to slow the pace, be still, and eliminate the static within our own minds. It’s time to create a peaceful and quiet place, learn to deep breath, and begin to become aware of what drives our current stress levels. What is the subtle message that has been running so long and so constant that we have forgotten to notice it’s there?
We have also forgotten that it’s possible to let it go
Once we can HEAR the White Noise, then we can decide if we are going to keep LISTENING to it’s message. But in order to really hear it, we need to stop, shut out the world, and take time to create some silent space, turning our awareness in that direction. The awareness might be fleeting, as White Noise tends to be good at fading into the background, but once awareness is there, it gets easier to hear. And once you hear, you reach what is known as the choice point: either close the window or continue to let it run in the background. Once you decide to close the window, a whole new world of possibility will open. One that allows more peace and quiet, more clear and focused thinking. One where your true self may emerge and begin to find it’s own voice.