As the weather is so wet this morning, I have decided to ramble through my thoughts instead of through the fields and so, as I look through raindrops on the window at the heavy cloud and rusting Autumn leaves, I have allowed my thoughts to ramble around balance and the interesting fact that our ears are the place in which our body secures, loses and regains its balance.
The 3 little bones in our ears, the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup are a translation of the Latin malleus, incus and stapes and I assume this is because they are shaped as such and early physicians named them so. But this is not a medical piece and so we will leave medicine to the experts. Interesting however, that the hammer and anvil are used to fashion metal into shape and that when the hammer and anvil fashion a stirrup, it is this that helps a rider stay balanced in the saddle.
If you’ve ever had a virus or illness that affected your balance, you’ll know how awful it can make you feel; often sick, scared of standing, not wanting to move your head and look around because everything will swim. And it occurred to me, as I thought this, how closely related hearing and balance are in more than a physical sense.
Isn’t is strange that balance, a function so important to our staying alive; being able to focus, stay upright and move with accuracy and therefore hunt and protect, is also connected to our hearing? Does this in fact suggest that listening is critical to balance too, to being balanced?
What do we listen to? External sound from others? Video footage, snatched conversations, songs, the radio, the TV? There’s so much to listen to it can be overwhelming. In the main, our ancestors, right up to only 200 years ago, will have listened to the words of family and friends, an elder, a teacher. If they were lucky enough to listen to music, it was played on a physical instrument in front of them. With the industrial revolution came the cacophony of machines and the growth of towns and cities with non-stop noise. Now sound pervades, and even when we run, walk or drive, many of us choose to listen to something other than nature, other than our own inner voice.
Why might this be? Have we lost the art of listening to ourselves? Maybe even the art of listening to one thing at once?
I believe our balance is connected to our hearing to remind us that we must listen to both sides of an argument to balance it, but maybe more importantly, that we must listen to both outer voices and our inner voice in equal measure.
When I say inner voice, you may think of that negative voice (author Steve Peter’s ‘chimp’ voice). The one that’s saying ‘you can’t do that’, or ‘you’re rubbish at that.’ But if we sit quietly and slow our breathing and think of kindness, there is another inner voice. One that gives you answers to tough questions. Some call this voice their gut, others their conscience, I like to call it my inner teacher.
I think our balance resides in the inner ear, to remind us to listen to this inner voice, and often we can only hear it if we switch off all the external noise – other people's opinions, commentary and dialogue. Yes, it’s important to listen to a wide range of views, to turn our head and look at things from many angles. But this should be balanced with an internal conversation, a positive and kind one. Then we can be balanced, we can stand up straight and say with conviction, I have listened well and made a balanced choice here, I have used my hearing well.
If you enjoy my blogs, you can read more of my work in my book available here www.amazon.co.uk/Words-Walks-Wisdom-Wendy-Bowers/dp/1671172353