What was wrong with music before the era of amplifiers, electrical enhancements, synthesizers or technological mumbo jumbo to “make the music better?” Nothing. It was just music, the way it was meant to be… unplugged.
There’s been a pushback to this grassroots of music and in this move towards unplugging there’s a life lesson to be learned: we need to get back to how we were meant to be—unplugged. Life has changed. No longer are we the society that brings a cake to visit our neighbours, regularly takes our kids out to the local park to play or sits down to a family meal. In this life we’re constantly on the go. Late nights at the office. Shift work. Life spins so fast we hardly realize we have children as we shuffle bodies from the house to the sitter, from the sitter to music lessons, from music to the house into the bedroom for, well, whatever else parents do for kids these days, all with an electronic device securely attached to one hand. Then it’s a quick kiss and on to the laptop to get some more work in before it’s time to start the cycle all over again. When do we stop anymore?
There’s been an increase in aggressive behaviour as we drift further and further apart from one another. People no longer know how to relate to people. Instead, they prefer a candid email or a haughty text. Social interactions are awkward and awkwardness leads to frustration, resulting in short tempers and often, it can come to blows.
When are we going to realize we need to stop?
We’ve heard the saying, “Stop and smell the roses,” so when was the last time you did it? Yes, the roses growing outside the office on the walkway look beautiful and maybe you’ve even caught their scent ever so briefly as you’ve hurried past into the building, but have you ever literally stopped and smelled them?
In an instant, that very instant that you stop and bring your awareness to the present moment instead of anxiously anticipating, you’ll feel an instantaneous glimpse of what life has to offer. It’s like a wave of calm that washes through your body, through your mind and in that moment, when your senses take over, all else ceases to exist. You exist only in that moment: that scent, that peacefulness that is the natural calming smell of a simple rose.
We do not unplug anymore even though the musicians were, all along, telling us something with their music. The natural timbre of a simple string pulled, the wavelengths of sound generated by vocal cords alone, un-enhanced, digitally naked. It is all natural. Unplugged.
The simple task of unplugging can be done for short periods each day by cutting out the TV, computer, radio, handheld devices, and other electrical buzz. Just unplug. Light a candle and sit quietly. Feel the silence envelop you, hugging you warmly in its comforting embrace. Do not move or speak. Simply sit and feel all that is around you. Notice the warm orange glow of the single flame. Hear it as it hisses ever so slightly. Feel the warmth of its energy on your face or your hands. Allow it to enter you and feel your body relax in response to this candle. Exhale and let yourself unplug. Disconnect your mind, let go of your worries and exist only with the candle.
I doubt many will be able to do this for very long but all it takes is practice and before we know it, we’ll be wanting to stop. Humans weren’t designed to be plugged in; we were designed to be free, natural and unplugged. Give it a try; open your mind to a calmer, more natural existence.
by Wanda Monague