By KM Huber
More and more I am struck by the number of signals we receive on any given day. Yet, just because a signal is sent does not mean it is received. It can get lost in signal static.
How we receive signals certainly colors what we send, thoughtful response or immediate reaction. Whether or not signals overwhelm us, we are always in relationship with them.
There is not a moment–or nanosecond for that matter–that a signal is not sent or received. Response is an individual matter.
Each signal is a demand on our attention, and often, we feel bombarded. In order to be part of 21st century life, it feels as if we must be sender and receiver simultaneously.
But being both exacts a high price to our own existence as well as to the world’s.
For me, signals are the energy of existence, a constant competition for our attention be it a hand gesture or the tugging of “our gut” begging us to respond.
Beyond our physical senses are magnetic fields and electric currents, and the technology that allows us to send and receive 24/7.
And what of the signals we do not know about? I suspect there are signals sent that remain unheard for there is much yet to explore in this dimension of existence that we inhabit.
Yet, we do not lack for signals. We are, however, lacking in our attention to signals.
In response to the signal overload of our lives, we pride ourselves on our ability to send and receive multiple signals. We believe we are good at it.
We split our attention among signals, responding as if each were not a unique signal. Yet, as weary as we are at the number of signals demanding our attention, we anxiously await the next signal coming through.
Our mind-body is all about maintaining balance, right down to each and every cell. It is a constant challenge for our mind-body to keep shifting in this scramble for signals.
Our mind is not hardwired for such splintering. There is no multiple signal software for the heart.
More than we ever admit, we mix up signals. Sometimes, we completely miss a signal while other times, we send a signal best left not sent.
It is a rerouting of the energy of existence, a change in the coming and going. The nature of our response creates a new series of signals. The created change has been sent.
It is like an O. Henry story, in which signal after signal is sent, often in desperation or good intention. Yet, in the final sentence of the story, we discover the signals scrambled. Attention misplaced or never given at all.
For things to reveal themselves to us,
we need to be ready to abandon our views about them
(Thich Nhat Hanh)
Moments are a series of signals, options readily available to us. We need to receive each signal singularly so that its unique story may unfold.
These stories are the moments of our lives. We owe each one our undivided attention so that we may respond mindfully.
It is for the earth to spin on its axis. Ours is not to spin but to stand and receive the signals–the experiences of our lives. How else will things reveal themselves to us?
Always, the choice is ours. We can focus on receiving a clear signal and respond or live a life of static, simultaneously sending and receiving, unaware of how we are changing existence.
KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, she blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.
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