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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Escaping The Clatter

Where are some of your go-to places when you want to escape the ubiquitous clatter of modern life?

Although not every train has them, whenever I get on NJ Transit headed to NYC, I'm genuinely thrilled when a "quiet" car has been designated. No cell phone conversations; no electronic devices unless they can be completely silenced; all conversations to be kept at a whisper. And usually the conductor announces these stipulations at every stop. The cars are quiet enough that I've sometimes been able to reach a single point of focus while meditating.

At the Kripalu Yoga Center in Massachusetts, their requirement that the dining hall remains silent during breakfast is one of my favorite features. There is a separate smaller room where people can converse or interact during breakfast - folks can also choose to eat outdoors - and that same smaller room becomes the silent space for lunch and dinner. It's pretty extraordinary to be in a totally quiet public place eating with a few hundred people. I've found myself listening to my chewing. The loudest sound is silverware scraping plates or an occasional dropped tray.  

Of course, traveling to the Berkshires or finding a NJ Transit quiet car are not real practical ways to escape the clatter. So, my go-to places are public libraries. Not long ago I asked my local librarian to speak to a man having a fairly animated cell phone conversation. He bristled, briefly complied and then soon after began a new and even louder conversation. I walked home to resume my reading.

1 comment:

  1. I ran into the fortune-teller
    Who said beware of lightning that might strike
    I haven’t known peace and quiet
    For so long I can’t remember what it’s like