This is a true story.
It happened in the Washington DC Metro Station in 2007.
A man was sitting amid the fast-moving crowds in the station, playing his violin. During the time he was playing approximately 2000 people went through the station, unaware that this man was actually Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world, filling the air with six glorious and intricate Bach pieces on a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.
Although people typically paid hundreds of dollars for a seat inside a theater to listen to this man, on this day he was incognito, part of a Washington Post social experiment to find out how we experience everyday beauty in our lives.
This is what happened. During the forty-five minutes that Joshua Bell played his violin only six people stopped to listen.
Several children were drawn to the musician, but were quickly pulled away by their parents.
And afterward it raised an important question.
If we don't have
to stop and listen
to one of the most gifted musicians in the
How much do we miss when we’re rushing from one place to another?
How much everyday beauty
do you actually ’see’?
Would you have been one of those six people who witnessed something so startlingly unique and beautiful in the middle of a chaotic morning that you stopped what you were doing to enjoy it?
I'm just asking.
Because the truth is, I am both; I am one of those six people who walks around with open eyes and is willing to stop and relish spontaneous moments of beauty in my surroundings.
But I'm also one of those hurried bodies running toward a place I need to be, completely distracted by my latest list of things to do playing out in my head.
I am both of these people.
I know what it's like to be fully awake and connected to my body, to lay with my forehead pressed into my yoga mat, and with my eyes closed, surrender to the slow, synchronized rhythms of my breath so that for a few mere moments, there is nothing else that in the universe except the sound of Prana-life's energy flowing in my ears.
I'm here for my sadness. My worries. My excitement. My dreams.
I feel the changing seasons on my skin.
And I know my age.
Yet I also know what it’s like when I'm simply going through the motions. When my body is one place but my mind is somewhere else, rapidly flitting from one thing to another, planning, worrying, regretting, Googling, and scheduling.
I know what it's like to be driving in my car, so deep in thought that I suddenly shake my head and realize there are entire swaths of streets, brightly colored signs, and tanned people in swim suits riding bikes on the sidewalk, that I had passed without truly seeing.
Buddhists refer to these times as a kind of disembodied living; it's when we cease to be fully present in our body because we're swept away by our cluttered, roving mind.
Instead of being fully awake in The Present Moment
–aware, with all our senses---
there is an incessant dialogue going on in our heads where we're figuring things out. Maybe we're stuck in the past (regretting, re-grieving, re-living) or in the future (worrying and planning the things that might happen). But to the degree that our minds are moving 100 miles an hour, we’re not fully in our bodies. We’re not really present for the only life we have,
which is happening right now.
Hmm…when did we glorify multi-tasking?
Do you remember?
Favorite ways to slow myself down
Get out into Nature.
Keep a journal.
Make time for solitude
Do something creative
can you relate to this post?
Part Two: Living fully--begins in our body