I tried something new today. I listened to music while walking around. I know. It’s hard to believe I’ve never done this before, but when I’m out and about, I usually like to have all of my senses engaged: the full experience. I often listen to music while riding the subway, but I take out the earbuds when I get off the train. Today, however, I left them in.
Walking through the subway station with Burning Spear’s classic “Black Wadada” echoing in my ears was a different way of seeing the world. It felt almost impossible to rush–how could I walk fast with that steady groove in the background? It was like my life had a soundtrack that incontrovertibly set the mood–“Where is your love, Jamaica?”–and the usual background sounds were temporarily tuned out. Without its usual soundtrack, daily life felt like an illusion, and it was easier to “forsake this mortal and fleeting sovereignty” (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words Arabic #54), flow with the crowds, and stop sweating the small stuff.
So maybe the advice at the beginning of “Black Wadada” is sound: “Hum to yourselves, my children. Hum to yourselves, my little ones. Hum to yourself!”