I caught a rerun of The Tavis Smiley show on PBS with one of my favorite musicians of all time, James Taylor. Host Tavis Smiley loves the smooth singing music maker nicknamed Sweet Baby James, and the lively conversation ranged from his musical influences to what Taylor considers as his greatest songs which still hold up just as strong today.
An interesting segment of their conversation drifted towards the idea of us as a world being passive when it comes to music. We hear it everywhere. As James Taylor put forth on the Smiley show, we’re not being active when we just hear Muzak on an elevator or in a mall, or simply hearing music anytime. Going to a concert forces one to focus on the music – it becomes more of an active, engaging and memorable event.
Taylor also spoke about how growing up in his youth, there were many times when he was bored. He said today’s populace suffers from too many distractions – where is the alone time? Where is the time for deep thought?
I couldn’t agree more. Our society is wired, turned on and constantly buzzing. Remember a time when television ended? The national anthem played, the test pattern flashed on and sometimes the harsh buzz of white noise signaled it was an end to TV viewing – time for bed. Today there’s a glut of things to watch 24/7 – we could never finish them all – it almost seems we try all the more to do so, arguably at our peril.
Progress is wonderful. Now that I have hundreds of television channels, I do enjoy my TV programs, or catching a great movie or exciting sporting event live. There’s no turning back the clock on technology, however setting aside time for personal reflection or relaxing meditation is more important than ever. Time shifting devices like recordable tapes, discs and gadgets like the TIVO and DVR’s make television viewing easier than ever. Some statistics report people watch favorite programs like NBC’s Heroes more often online or through recorded format like DVR than regular broadcast.
With all those options to not miss the things we love, there’s never been a better time to simply just be. So the next time there’s nothing on broadcast TV, your TIVO offers little, all your video games are solved, Netflix is barren, the Internet is at a standstill and there’s no audio book to listen to or old fashioned one to read, try just relaxing a bit. Do nothing. Yes, be bored. A waste of time you say? I’m promoting unproductive time wasting or something weird? Perhaps. However, a little quiet time can quietly push us in a new direction. It could even push us to go forward and achieve something like a legendary music career.
If being “bored” worked for the great James Taylor, it can’t be all bad, now can it?