A Former President Hears His Own Voice

Filed in Finding & Following Your Voice, When Writing Is Hard by on December 14, 2010 • views: 364

President 2I’m a fan of the show 24. It makes for great motivation while I’m working out.

With all that action going on the screen you can’t help but run faster.

Actor Gregory Itzin plays American President Charles Logan in season 5 and 6. He received an Emmy nomination for his outstanding performance.

Unfortunately his character wasn’t as admirable. President Logan arranged for the assassination of the president before him, had two Counter Terrorist Unit agents murdered, and committed several other dastardly terrorist-style crimes.

By season 6 he’s under house arrest when Jack, the main character of the show (for those three or four people who haven’t seen it), is forced to turn to him for a potential lead on the latest terrorist threat.

In Silence You Can Hear the Voice of Your Deepest Self

President Logan tries to make small talk while riding with Jack on the way to the suspect’s location. He hasn’t been outside the gates of his home  in over a year, he says. “I know how it feels to be locked away from the rest of the world…lonely…the silence. It plays with your sanity. But in that silence you can hear the voice of your deepest self…”

The thoughts of a fallen fictional president illuminate two of the requirements for hearing your own voice: 1) quiet, and 2) quality alone time. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t get nearly enough of either.

It’s obvious to most of us that noise pollution has gotten considerably worse over the years. We’re bombarded with televisions everywhere from airports to restaurants. Traffic noises are louder than ever, with many cars adding blaring stereos to the mix.We have more noise-producing machines, from leaf blowers to drills and saws to mowers and 4-wheelers.

The damage isn’t only auditory—though studies estimate that over 12 percent of American children between the ages of 6 and 19 have impaired hearing. Noise is a stressor for humans, and creates physiological responses in the body like increased blood pressure and heart rate, plus the contraction of blood vessels.

Scientists now believe that long-term exposure to high levels of noise may increase risk of heart disease.

Even when you get past the assault on our physical selves, we have an overwhelming amount of information coming at us from every corner of our lives. Technology has made it easier than ever to communicate, but it’s all come at a price—we have to shuffle through emails, voicemails, text messages, Facebook communications, and Twitter accounts, say nothing of our regular mail.

We work more hours than our ancestors did, and when we do manage a few hours off, we tend to spend it watching television or movies or You-Tube videos, and then we hit the hay hoping to get in a few hours of shut-eye before starting all over the next day.

Where in the rush of our daily schedules do we ever grow silent or still enough to hear our own thoughts?

Which Thoughts Do We Listen To?

Take that back. We hear the surface thoughts, sure enough, the ones that make up the never-ending chatter that runs like a newsreel in the back of our heads, commenting on everything from our new gray hairs to the extra weight on our behinds to how silly a coworker looks in his purple tie.

But the real voice, the voice of our conscience, isn’t the pushy type. He/she will remain in the corner, sitting quietly, until we take the time to get quiet and listen. Unfortunately for many of us, that’s a rare-to-never occasion.

Of course there’s another problem. Many of us don’t like to spend time alone. The second we find ourselves in the solitary realm, we feel compelled to find something to fill the space. We call a friend. Go to a movie. Hit the bar. Turn on the television. Anything but listen to that patient, quiet voice that’s waiting to talk to us.

Why we do all this to avoid listening to the one voice we should be listening to is a subject for many other posts. Suffice to say that we do, and as long as we do, we can’t expect to hear what that little voice wants to say.

If you find yourself feeling unsettled lately, anxious, depressed, or like something is missing in your life, know for a fact that you haven’t gotten quiet enough—or alone enough—to listen to the one person who can help you out.

You.

Former President Charles Logan had to be put under house arrest before he could hear his own conscience. Not a bad idea. You could try it. One day in your house alone, with no noise. No TV, no music, no friends, no family. Okay, maybe you can manage it only for an hour. But anything is a start. Spend some time with yourself, without anything else bombarding your senses, and wait.

You may just get lucky and hear your own voice speak up.

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