It is so noisy, I can’t hear myself think.

You could be in a night club or in the middle of the desert – noise can still drown out the essence of a joyful life. If you are not bombarded with ‘physical noise’ that plays on your eardrums, you are still plagued by the ‘emotional noise’ that you call your thoughts.

The financial crisis is noise. So are the other things that you hear in the media and in the chat rooms of life. They are just distractions.

(I race a bicycle competitively and this small section will mean more to other bike riders...)

Have you ever had a mysterious creaking noise emission from your prized bike? It would just be a tiny CREAK every time you get off the saddle or push hard on the pedals. I have had many... and it would spoil the whole ride. I would spend all my concentration on trying to identify where the NOISE was coming from – and worrying about how serious it was. And at the end of the ride - have no recollection of how much fun I had. But every time, I would arrive back home in one piece...and the bike kept surviving the distracting noises.

Every now and then (when I had the extra time after the ride), I would tighten the rear cluster, tighten a crank bolt or tighten the quick release skewer. Then next time I rode, the noise would miraculously disappear. But when the noise reappeared again, it would really ‘bug’ me!

But there is one thing that I remember about the noises. They ‘disappeared’ when I was smack bang in the middle of a race and I was concentrating on attacking, bridging a gap or riding tempo in a break. Then the noises would ‘reappear’ on the ride back home.

What are the lessons that could be learnt from this observation about noise? There are many and the most relevant one for me now is this...

We are now in ‘white water’ territory (to use the white water rafting metaphor).

We have so much instantaneous access to media that we can tune into so many things that are happening in our world. We get carried along by the waves of information disguised as news. As the information reaches a crescendo, it is like we are in the middle of a roaring river. We are speeding up. There is so much physical noise. It is white water! Our adrenalin is pumping. We are a bit scared. And we are getting advice from all around us about how to handle the life threatening situation.

We are in for a wild ride.

I have been in white water and I have been on roller coasters (the ones in amusement parks). And I can’t really say which one was more scary. But it is helpful here to look at the two.

On a rollercoaster, the noise is ‘artificially’ generated. The park operators go through incredibly stringent tests and regulations to ensure that the rides are SAFE. Yet when you climb on board a roller coaster and it starts its hell raising ride, you do not take much comfort in the fact that the ride has been engineered NOT to put you in any physical danger. Your heart is still in your mouth as you scream in fear. Yet in the back of your mind, this engineered safety is what you hold on to. The system is looking after you.

On a white water raft, there is nothing artificial about the roaring noise, the menacing boulders or the murky waters. No human has engineered the river to ensure safety from physical injury. This is the territory of nature’s forces – where anything can happen. It is now a different game. The rules are different.

Now where is this taking us?

It brings us back to the question of which level of the game of life we want to play on.

Many of us will still prefer the rollercoaster ride. We are a bit scared of it. But we are excited about the noise and the illusion of danger – although we sometimes wonder why they have to make it so scary.

And we know that there is a governing body that will take care of our lives through its ups and downs. They are obliged to make it safe for us – or we can sue them! I guess that is why they invented the safety net. When the times get the most scary, we take heart in the knowledge that the system will deliver and we will arrive at the end of the ride in one piece. A bit shaken – but in one piece.

Some of us may graduate up to the next level where the game is vastly different. At this level of playing, a paradigm shift takes place. The physical is no longer relevant. As in the white water ride, there is no engineered safety net. Anything can happen.

I am sure that we all have experienced these moments of ‘truth’. The physical and emotional noise disappears and we are left in an eerie ‘quietness’. Serenity in the midst of chaos. On this level of playing, time has lost its meaning. And the physical attachment to the noise that we mistake for music dissolves...

Life then becomes a wonderful stream of joy...

Author's Bio: 

Jack Yuen is the owner of a small business in Sydney, Australia. He employs a handful of people and they go around the suburbs of Sydney fixing leaking roofs and replacing old metal roofs.
...But he has created himself to play a larger game of life. And these incorporate body, emotional and spiritual sub-games - played at a NO-THING level...

...and you can follow him as he plays his game on his blog at