The sounds of nature serve many purposes. They provide information about weather, the species that occupy the local ecology, communication between and among species, signals on what is happening around them, and signs of danger or opportunity. Sounds are omnipresent in nature and many species’ life depends on their acute hearing.
Why should we listen?
Humans are part of nature, and this means that we also pay attention to sounds. However, we can also shut down what we listen to if our emotions or worldviews don’t agree with what we are hearing. Animals don’t do that. They listen because they need to and because their life depends on picking up the signals and sounds around them.
What as human beings can we learn from the sounds of nature?
If we could, we would always be open to what is being said around us. We would take the time to listen, and to seek information and meaning that will help us adapt to as events happen.
I think there are four key reasons why we need to listen to the sounds of nature around us.
- Listen to connect and develop relationships. When we listen to another, we use the conversation to connect with others and over time develop relationships. In an interdependent world, the quality and quantity of our relationships are essential to our ability to thrive. In nature, species that isolate themselves, die. Their life and the life of their species depend on being connected beyond themselves. As human beings, we also need to connect and span boundaries, so we are a part of the deep interdependent nature of the system around us.
- Listen to gain information. Nature’s ecosystems gain information that can be applied to the ability to thrive, find food, see threats, and understand the external environment. Humans and nature evolve with information and feedback.
When we stop listening or screen what we hear because of our emotional reactions or rigid worldview, we are hindering our own evolution.
- Listen to share information. Each of us has a unique viewpoint shaped by our experiences and insights. To understand the larger system, sharing what we hear helps others understand how we see the world, and together in conversation, we can create a more integrated understanding of the whole.
- Listen for deeper wisdom. In any conversation, we choose what level to listen to. Conversations can be used to share information, generate knowledge, or distill deeper wisdom.
- Do we listen to the surface message?
- Do we listen to nuances of emotion that are embedded in the conversation?
- Do we listen to what is not said?
- Do we listen for affirmation of our beliefs?
- Do we listen to search out deeper wisdom that is being generated in the space between us?
These four reasons explain why listening to the sounds of nature, including the people around us, is essential to our ability to evolve and thrive toward a better future. I thought it might be a nice reminder of the joy and discovery we find when we authentically reach out and connect with one another after a long 20+ months of pandemic disruption – give the gift of listening.
I’m sure you can think of more reasons why listening to the sounds of nature is important. Add yours in the comment section!