How often do we blindly move through life – running from one thing to the next and never really understanding what is happening? The implications of this is a bit unsettling in so many ways. Just imagine what we might accomplish if we were all in touch with our physical self, our actions, our emotions and our environments.
To put this into perspective, I want to remind you of a 2007 forty-five minute event that occurred in a Washington DC metro station. A man stood playing a violin while around 2000 people went through the station – most on their way to work. The following is what supposedly happened: After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing so he slowed his pace, stopped for a few seconds and then hurried away. About 4 minutes later the violinist got his first dollar when a woman threw money in his hat without even stopping. Then at 6 minutes a young man leaning against a wall listened, looked at his watch and started to walk away. Upon arriving at the 10 minute mark a 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along in a hurry. When the child stopped to watch the violinist his mother pushed hard and the boy continued his walk while turning his head toward the music the whole time. Several other children repeated that scene yet every parent without exception forced the children to move on quickly.
Forty-five minutes the music played continuously and only 6 people stopped to listen for only a short period of time. Around 20 people gave money while quickly walking by and the violinist gathered a whole $32. After an hour the music stopped and silence reigned. No one noticed and there was certainly no applause, in fact, there was no recognition at all!
No one knew that the violinist that day was one of the greatest musicians in the world, Joshua Bell. Mr. Bell had just played one of the most intricate pieces of music by Bach ever written on his $3.5 million dollar violin. The truth of this story is that the Washington Post was doing a social experiment on perception, taste and people’s priorities. Here are the questions that were raised:
How many things are we missing as we rush through life? In ordinary moments of life there are so many possibilities and opportunities that we fail to embrace. Isn’t it time to slow down and appreciate life’s moments? I believe it is and that it is possible to carve out time to do just that – let yourself be embraced by the beauty!
“Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.” – David Hume