The volume knob on my radio is getting old. When you turn it counter-clockwise, it rarely decreases the volume. In fact, it often turns the volume up skipping from 3 to 7 then down to 4 and up to 10. The only sure way to adjust the volume is to turn it off. But the next time you turn it on, you're back where you began.
In my head the speed and care with which I turn the knob influences the results, despite my lack of evidence. And yet each time I adjust the volume, I work with great effort to will it one way or the other, hoping that maybe this time it will work, this time I will have control. It doesn't work, it likely won't, and in the end I wear myself out and give up the idea of control.
Last night my mind was a buzz with the noise of life. My thoughts flooded with lists of things to do, spoken and unspoken conversations, looming deadlines and concerns. I tried to adjust the volume, to push life's noise down and out, to make It fall away so I could embrace the stillness and silence. I wanted to focus and immerse myself in the moment. When I realized I couldn't make it happen, I let the thoughts and feelings and lists fly through my head, again and again and again. Eventually they stopped and faded into silence.
Perhaps sometimes the things we want to silence are the things we need to hear, the things that need our attention. No matter the effort I put into carefully adjusting the knob, I don't control the volume. But when I choose to embrace the noise and address the chaos, the volume suddenly shifts. The chaos turns to song and the struggle to achieve the perfect volume fades away...