Radio Silence

In February, meditation teacher and author, Sharon Salzberg sponsors a 28-Day Meditation Challenge. Everybody is invited to commit to meditating every day for the month and join the mindfulness community. As part of the challenge, I’ll be blogging throughout the month (along with other meditator/bloggers) about the experience. You can find the posts on Sharon’s site and I’ll share mine on Focus Pocus.

28-Day Meditation Challenge ~ Day 4
Wednesday, February 4, 2015

28 Day Challenge aspen leaf pub dom

For the past couple of years, my car has been on Radio Silence.

For a decade, I had a serious NPR habit. I never drove anywhere without the constant talk of radio news and conversation. Now, instead of automatically turning on the car radio, I leave it off.*

My original intent of Radio Silence was to give my mind and emotions a break from the constant flow of drama and trauma that pour in through the speakers. Like watching a horror movie that never ends, listening to the news all the time leaves me with images and upset feelings that are tough to shake. In the face of all the suffering, I tend to feel decidedly helpless and hopeless.

Over time, though, I’ve noticed that keeping the radio off also enhances my concentration more than I would have imagined (or until now, admitted). Before Radio Silence, I would have said that I was paying attention to my driving just fine and that listening to Diane Rehm wasn’t interfering with my ability to concentrate one bit.

Since driving without the chatter, though, I don’t think that’s true. I think I’m able to concentrate more clearly and with a wider peripheral vision without the noise. Just as there are unexpected benefits to sitting, so it is with Radio Silence.

Oddly, even after all this time and even with all the benefits of Radio Silence, my fingers still itch to turn it on every time I get in the car. My mind craves the distraction and it takes will power to keep the inside of my Jetta TDI free from chatter.

Now I just have to find the power switch for the talk station inside my head.

* Except for occasional hits of Fresh Air with Terry Gross. I may benefit from quiet but I’m only human!

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