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