We recently had a question about the videos made by a visual artist named Johnnie Lawson who specializes in recording the peaceful sounds of nature. Is there anything wrong with listening to these videos, which millions of insomniacs are using around the world to help themselves fall asleep?
There is nothing wrong with Lawson’s nature videos. They are mostly comprised of waterfalls with bird songs in the background. Some include music, mostly classical, but one does feature “Zen” music.
He also has a line of photographs which include quotes from people he refers to as “the wisest people who have lived through the ages”. This includes an eclectic mix of people from Lao Tsu (known as the Father of Taoism) to Abraham Lincoln, John Muir, Rumi, Vincent Van Gogh and Buddha.
For those who never heard of Lawson, he gained his fame two years ago after posting a video of a small Irish waterfall on the River Bonet in County Leitrim, Ireland on Youtube. To his surprise, it went viral and has since been viewed more than six million times.
“People who were finding it difficult to sleep began writing to me from all over the world – North Korea, the Central African Republic, Beijing and across the UK,” Lawson told the BBC. “They started leaving me messages, saying the recordings were helping to relieve their insomnia.”
It even attracted the attention of the medical community when a health psychologist from the intensive care unit at University College Hospital in London, Dr. Dorothy Wade, began using the video in a clinical trial to help reduce post-traumatic stress disorder for intensive care patients.
Since that time, Lawson has filmed 174 videos near rivers and lakes in Ireland, with some clips now lasting long enough to play through the night for those who have trouble waking up and not being able to fall back to sleep.
Lawson does venture into spirituality here and there but the majority of his videos seem to be mostly harmless nature sounds.