May 6, 2019
I’ve taken a walk every single day for the last few months. I used to put in my headphones and listen to podcasts in hopes of learning while on a ‘pointless’ walk. Then, I would listen to albums in order on my walks, because those are just as enjoyable.
More recently, I’ve started ditching the headphones and walking in silence—or, at least, not producing any more noise than the world around me already provides.
I wish I could point to a divine revelation that happens once I put my headphones back in my pocket and turn off my phone. I wish lightning would strike down upon me and show me The Way. Alas, none of that happens. My walk goes on, and my ears continue to listen.
Maybe that’s the point.
There’s a story in Hindu philosophy where a student asks his teacher to explain Brahman—the soul of the world.
“Upon hearing the question, the teacher remains silent. The student repeats the question two or three more times, without receiving a single word in reply. Finally, the teacher opens his mouth and says: ‘I am instructing you now, but you are not listening.’ The answer, of course, was silence.” (From Silence: In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge)