noise is unwanted sound       which is why       your parents call the music you like noise

but noise isn't just ab     out sound
it's about information
noise is whatever drowns out or interfer     es with or conceals meaningful inform     ation
sound engineers, radio engineers speak of two things, signal and noise.
the signal is the message, the meaningful part of the transmission
the no     ise is all the unwante       d stuff that interferes with your ability to he         ar or decipher the signal.
our lives are full of noise         too much information
too many messages that don't add up to any coherent whole
all competing for our attention     we can't find the signal     o     r m     ak e a ny     se     ns e o f o ur     li     ve s

and so we go     into the desert to escape the noise

but then we can hear our internal noise
some of which is very gross       especially during silent prayer
and some of which is subtle but more deeply dis    turbing
like tinnitus
which is nerve da       mage to the inner ear resulting in a perm anent whistling or hissing noise
inside your head that you can never         escape
for someone like me who suffers from it there is no l     onger any such thing     as silence
if i am in a silent place what i hear is the high-pitched whistle inside my own head

and that's just the physical noise inside us

but our heads are full of mental noise.
the thoughts that won't     stop chattering that stupid     song that you can't get     out of your head
that nagging worry about something     you said
or didn't say
that hurt and anger that       you can't let go of, churning     inside you when
you're supposed to be concentrating     on work that dumb
joke that keeps making you giggle       on the bus so that people look         at you strangely...
and       when you're alone you can't pretend any more that any of these were necessary
so you try and put them aside to       pray

and now you become aware of spiritual noise

all those things that comp       ete with god
dist     racting yo     ur attention     towards selfish or worldly concerns
drowning out your attempts to hear god's voice     distor ting the mess     a       ge
or making you     lose bits       li e a mobile ph ne pas     ng under a bridg

sin is a kind of spiritual tinnitus
thecloser we get to         god's silence       themoreweareawareoftheunceasingwhineinsideourselves
trouble is     we've lost the volume knob and anyway we're scared of silence because without all the activity and distractions
we'll have to face ourselves and god     and we are frightened         of what we might find
but god longs to heal us
to still the os       cill       osc       ope       s of our souls
turn the noise off
and give us peace
because only then
will we be able to hear
the music of heaven