4′33″ (pronounced “four minutes, thirty-three seconds” or just “four thirty-three”) is a three-movement composition by American musical composer John Cage. It was composed in 1952, for any instrument or combination of instruments, and the score instructs performers not to play their instruments during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements. Even though it is commonly perceived as four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence, the intent of the piece is to inspire the audience to listen to the sounds of the environment while it is performed.
When I think about this composed piece of silence, I am reminded of how difficult it is to carve out quiet time in my life full of, seemingly, endless busyness. It seems that I’m not alone in this struggle. According to Gallup polls shared by Forbes Magazine (1), the United States is one of the most stressed countries in the world and it’s dramatically increasing! So how do we find rest from our endless busy and stressed-out lifestyles?
There are many different ways to slow down, unwind, and rest. Personally, I have found that nature hikes in the early mornings and periodic camping trips help me to relax as I spend time in nature enjoying the fresh air, sunshine, and taking in the beautiful scenery. Another habit that has been very helpful for me has been to carve out some quiet time each day. Before my family wakes up each morning, I try to spend some time in prayer, journaling, and reading my Bible. I find so much encouragement when I replace my anxious thoughts with encouraging Bible promises, such as: “Be strong and courageous…for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6
Whether you take time to listen to 4’33, get out in nature, or spend time alone with God, I hope you can prioritize some time to slow down and rejuvenate!
May you enjoy abundant health,