Today I spent the day without earphones. Not because I intentionally wanted to but because I couldn’t find them in my room and didn’t have time to look more thoroughly as I happened to be late for my bus. As I left, I remember thinking that my day was doomed. I was going to be away from 5:30am to 4:00pm and not having earphones meant that… Actually, I don’t really know what it meant. I can’t remember the last time that I left my place without earphones. All I knew was that there would be a lot of silence and that the day would most likely pass a lot slower than usual. I wasn’t excited for that.
It turns out that I was right. My day wasn’t the greatest: I lost my bus card, felt pain in my arm throughout my yoga practice, didn’t have enough food with me to keep me going through the day and had my 4th nosebleed of the week.
But, to my surprise, not having earphones made the day a lot better than it would have been otherwise. It felt good to not constantly be surrounded by a flow of information – podcasts – or music and allow myself to be in the company of myself. It is true that the day passed a lot slower than usual but, not in a bad way.
Silence felt nice.
I wonder why not using earphones isn’t something I have done before. Maybe it can simply be explained by the human tendency to do things that are familiar – the tendency to stay in our comfort zone. Just like we tend to always sit in the same spot or take the same way home. But, it also made me think about a video that I saw not too long ago and that I unfortunately can’t find anymore.
The video talked about how our capitalistic society encourages the creation of products that stimulate us but offer very little ‘nourishment’. I mean, isn’t the creation of a product which use makes us feel like we are fulfilling a basic human need the best business idea? Because the more you believe that you need a certain product, the more you’ll use it, right? And, what if the product stimulates you or gives you more pleasure than what was used before to fulfill that basic human need? Wouldn’t the former ‘nourishing’ product eventually be replaced by the more stimulating one?
Just look at some of the big industries of today: the food industry that encourages food stimulation (flavour/sugar/…) and forgets about nutrition, the porn industry that takes sexual stimulation out of the context of a relationship, or social media that profits from our basic need for social interaction and eventually makes us addicted to silly notifications and likes.
I think that in the end, all of the stimulating products that make us believe that we are fulfilling some basic human need but don’t actually ‘nourish’ us eventually make us feel more hollow than before – less alive.
Our capitalist society might not even be at blame here. Maybe it’s just us. Nowadays, if you have a little bit of money, you can have access to anything you want. We’ve never been in such a position before and we are not built for that. From an evolutionary perspective, craving sweet things was great because it meant that we were going to search for sweet fruits and therefore not die of malnutrition or hunger. But, now we live in a completely different world and because we haven’t adapted to it, perhaps it’s in our own responsibility as individuals to know when it’s enough.
Maybe, overstimulation has conditioned me to feel uncomfortable in quiet settings with myself. I’ve never really thought about it because I’ve always seen myself as being pretty good at being alone. I spend a lot of time by myself and enjoy it. But, it is true that I am rarely doing absolutely nothing when alone. Perhaps I should try doing that more?
When I think about it, one of the big reasons as to why I love practicing ashtanga yoga every morning is the fact that I get two hours of uninterrupted silence. Time to listen to my breath and take care of myself. Actually, the practice of Pratyahara (= withdrawal of the senses) is a big part of yoga philosophy and it is exactly about that.
On another note, I just discovered that I have enough ingredients at home to make chocolate mousse. Apparently, the water used to store chickpeas and certain other beans can also be used as an egg replacement. That water is called aquafaba and it is magic! When you mix aquafaba it foams exactly like egg whites do. I find this pretty exciting and am about to make chocolate mousse out of:
Vegan chocolate mousse
* Melted dark chocolate
* Some sweetener (maple syrup?)
Voilà! Life can’t be that bad after all.