Pull off those earphones!

Illustration of fingers holding a pair of earbuds

Something I’ve grown fond of doing lately is to decide what music or podcast I’m going to listen to every morning, put it on, and then get on with a fast one-hour walk on the jogging track nearby. It was while one song ended and the other about to begin that I heard the distinct sound of drumbeats. It was loud and clear and very disturbing.

“Tell them to stop!” I said angrily to the watchman.

“Who, sir?”

“Those drummers!” I said.

“But there are no drummers, sir!” said the surprised watchman, as I angrily pulled off my earphones and realized there was no sound of drums at all! I sheepishly put back my earphones and realized those sounds had come from the song I was listening to. I apologized to the watchman who looked at me strangely, shook his head and went back to his work.

I had reacted angrily to drumbeats in my head.

Many of us do the same, don’t we? It needn’t be music or podcasts but something quite similar.

I know a priest, an extremely good and powerful speaker who reacts strongly to such drumbeats. Whenever he sees somebody who is talented, either a good pianist, choir conductor or even a lay preacher he sees red, and, on some pretext tries to control him/her. On looking deeper, I found the priest had an elder brother and there had always been a normal sibling rivalry between them in their childhood.

Those drumbeats in his head started making themselves heard whenever he felt competition from others.

His past hammered those drumbeats into his present.

There’s another lady, stinking rich, but extremely miserly. It’s okay if she’s so with her own money, but sitting on different committees, she acts like a watchman with a gun outside the treasury room, and doesn’t allow a penny to be spent. It’s always good to have a careful person on a trust or committee, but when someone doesn’t allow money to be used for a good cause or investments to be made, the organization suffers.

It was only recently that she told me of times in her childhood when her mother struggled to put food on their table.

Again, drumbeats from the past beating into the present.

I had to pull off my earphones to realize those drum sounds were not from outside but from the instrument plugged into my head. And that’s exactly what we all need to do.

Look deep into extreme reactions, understand the source and pull out the chord that connects us to traumas of the past. Go to a professional, like a psychologist, or have the Mighty Professional up there identify where those drumbeats stem from, then pull off those earphones and live gloriously in the present!

Robert Clements
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Robert Clements

Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist with an estimated readership of 6 million. He also conducts a short-term writer’s course. Contact him on bobsbanter@gmail.com for more details.