There are several different lists of the Wonders of the World. First, the natural wonders, like the Grand Canyon. Another list is of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that includes the Pyramids in Egypt. A list of the wonders of the modern world includes the Channel Tunnel and the Golden Gate Bridge. But each of us lives with seven wonders, all of them abilities, sometimes on several levels. They include the abilities to see, hear, taste, touch, smell, laugh and love.
The next wonder is the ability to hear.
Our ears are a complex system of sound wave detectors. And not only can we hear, but like the 3-D effect of the eyes, our ears are able to hear stereophonically, and with depth. Not only can we hear a sound, we can tell the difference between a violin and a cello. Tests have shown that in a room full of crying babies, a mother who has been blindfolded can tell the cry of their own child, with amazing accuracy. When we answer the telephone we can usually tell who it is just by the sound of their voice.
And just as with visual pollution there is audio pollution as well. We are able to block out sounds so they don’t distract us. I once lived in the direct landing and departure pattern of a busy metropolitan airport, and after about two weeks got so I didn’t even notice the sounds of the jets flying overhead, including late at night.
Sure you can hear, but are you really listening? I’m just as guilty as a lot of others in that it is easy to turn-off the sound system when I don’t want to be bothered by someone. Yes, I can hear them talking, but I don’t hear what they are say…I’ve just been able to tune them out. A lot of that happens, especially when you have been in a long-term relationship. I don’t remember how many years my grandparents were married, but my grandmother could talk endlessly, and I just know my grandfather ignored about 90% of what she was saying. When you would ask him something about what my grandmother had said later, he would say, “She didn’t say that, or at least I didn’t hear her say it,” when she had been right next to him at the time she uttered her words.
Aural skills are just as multi-dimensional as visual abilities. Just like our internal ability “to see,” there is the ability to listen to ourselves. Dr. Shad Helmstetter calls it self-talk. What do you say when you talk to yourself, and what is the quality of it? Is it positive or negative? According to Dr. Helmstetter, 77% of our internal monologue is negative. We don’t hesitate to put ourselves down, to call ourselves stupid, and to internally verbalize the disdain we have for ourselves…in other words we are verbally abusive to ourselves.
But there is another internal voice. Basically, it is our conscience, our internal guide. It is the interpreter of what is going on inside. It evaluates our actions, and helps make course corrections using our internal moral and ethical compass.
Likewise, for those who are believers, the voice of God can be heard talking to us, but very few people allow themselves to get quiet enough to hear it. It is located deeper than our conscience, and is such a small voice it takes a great deal of effort to hear it. But if you can still yourself well enough, you will hear it, and if you are smart, follow its guidance.
I am a firm believer that if it feels right in your gut, then it is the right thing to do. That is your internal voices giving you guidance. Listen to them. It could save you a whole lot of trouble further down the road.
The inability to hear is the most hidden disability. A person who is aurally disabled may look completely fine in all other ways, but that disability is just as real to them. Sign language is their ability to hear, and is a language all to itself, with a different set of symbols, rules of grammar and punctuation. If you’ve never had any experience with it, sign language is a kind of shorthand. Facial expressions, for example, can convey one meaning or another. For the most part, people who use sign language are bi-lingual…they have to learn not only their own language, but the primary spoken language where they live, so they can read.
Do you really listen, or just hear? And what do you hear that is different when using one over the other?