Mindfulness training is about being in the moment and enhancing our experience of being present – whatever that may be. This became so apparent to me today, when I was taken out of my usual routine and did something completely different.
I’m writing this on a train to Manchester for our MAHQ meeting tomorrow. Nothing unusual about that as I make this trip a couple of times each month.
The unusual thing is I have been to the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall first.
Sitting on the train now I realise how easy it is to get into a routine of doing things. On a usual travel day to Manchester I have my routine of getting the train to London, then walking to Euston, to catch the Manchester train, and, like now, I work on the train.
Travelling to the Royal Albert Hall first took me out of my routine. When I headed to Euston, I took a different route and became much more mindful. I had to take the underground, change trains and look at a map to find my way when walking to and from the venue.
Reflecting on my journey so far, I see that I have been more present in my actions today. Usually when I travel to Manchester, I rarely remember the train journeys and walks that I take, but today I remember everything. It seems like time has expanded.
So, the truth is I went to the CBeebies Proms with my grandson this morning. But it was at the Albert Hall. It was only an hour long, but in that hour, I was more present than I had been in a long time. The event was obviously geared towards children, but in that, the presentation was simplified. And this made me slow down, take it all in and be more mindful. I was engaged with curiosity and the mind of a child.
It’s a long time since I’ve heard a live orchestra. Whilst I listen to music a lot, I had forgotten what it is like to sit and listen to, and watch, a live orchestra and choir. I had forgotten about how the energy of the sound vibrates through my body making it warm and tingly. I had forgotten the feeling of being with the musicians.
Watching the orchestra live, made me appreciate how their individual contributions were vital to making the whole symphony. Seeing the conductor’s absorption into his role made me realise he was totally mindful and at one with his orchestra. And, they were at one with him, and each other. It was wonderful to watch the expressions of passion on their faces. They became their instruments and they became the music. As one. Interconnected.
The choir was made up of 200 or so young children. These young enthusiastic children, wearing the same outfits, were also interconnected into one singing being. Their joy was apparent through their faces and expressions. They too were being mindful.
I watched and listened with childlike curiosity as the performance unfolded. I learned how the woodwind instruments created a feeling of air, which related to the story being narrated. I also learned the power and dynamism created by percussion, especially the drums. I noticed how the strings seem to activate sensations in my heart and create feelings of calm.
I had forgotten how the energy and power of live music made me feel. I had been moved to tears several times as this wave of emotion pulsed through my body. It’s hard to articulate what it is and why it has that effect. It felt like my heart opened with compassion like it does with the Compassion Practices in our Level 2 – Responding with Compassion training. The highlight was when they played Earth by Hans Zimmer – that tears just poured out of my eyes, totally unexpectedly and out of my control. But why? It was like I had connected to something beautiful beyond my being, created by the interconnectedness of these musicians and choir before me.
The hour could have been a day. It was a timeless experience.
I watched the children in the audience, of all ages, some even babes in arms. The music made them mindful too. How often can you get a child to sit still for even 5 minutes? And yet, here they were entranced by the performance. They were being present, in the moment, and I wondered how they felt. I noticed that I wanted to go into an enquiry with them and find out about their experience.
Watching them bought me joy. Life is tough sometimes, and yet, more and more I am realising that it is possible to find joy whatever is going on if we allow ourselves to experience it.
My train has almost arrived at Manchester. I realise that I am more mindful than usual throughout this day. It’s like being very present this morning has created an air of mindfulness which is continuing throughout the day. It feels as if time has slowed down and I feel more relaxed than usual.
This has reminded me how important my motivation and intention are in my mindfulness practice. My motivation to remain mindful in my dally life has been reignited. It’s so easy to forget and get lost in life’s events. And yet, being mindful can so enhance and enrich every moment of this precious life.
The challenge for this week is to notice what reignites your motivation and intention for your mindfulness practice. Can you find an hour this week and be totally present in what you are doing and how it makes you feel? What effect does it have on your body and emotions and I’m intrigued as to what you notice about time?
I’d love to hear your experiences so please do share them with me by leaving a comment after this post, or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a wonderful, mindful week ahead.
Jacky will be co-teaching Level 1 – Being Present with Alan Hughes at Samye Ling 13 – 15 March 2020 and on the Level 2 – Responding with Compassion with Heather Regan-Addis at Samye Ling starting 5-7 June 2020.
We’d love to see you there. If you can’t make it, how about taking the Level 1 course online.
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