I was recently lucky enough to attend a gig at London’s Southbank. A wonderful array of artists were performing that evening and the audience was as diverse and unique as the music on offer.
After catching a glimpse of the first musician that played in the foyer, I moved onto the Purcel Room. I secured a great seat in the second row with a wonderful view of the pianist, Hania Rani, that was about to step onto the stage. A couple in front of me were taking pictures and in great spirits as the performer came on. They settled down to listen to the pianist and a blissful contended atmosphere took over.
There were various performances starting and finishing at different times throughout the venue. About 15 mins into the performance people started to trickle in to fill some of the empty seats. Unfortunately, these people had to walk past the front row which impacted the view and experience of the music on offer.
One member of the blissful contented couple changed, I sensed, to angry and agitated. I am sure from that point on they didn’t listen or focus on any more of the performance and they missed out on the last 30 minutes of music. The trickle of new audience members arriving throughout the show was not ideal and certainly impacted the performance. But the show could still be enjoyed and the music appreciated.
At times, I found this had a slight comedy feel to it, especially when one of the new audience members was delighted to find an empty front row seat of which they attempted to occupy! The not so angry member of the couple stopped them whilst the other was off complaining to the stewards.
This got me thinking a bit about my own reactions when things don’t go my way. I am sure, there must be many moments when I have reacted in anger or been agitated by something that is not to my liking. I wonder how many moments have been impacted by my subliminal reflexes when something isn’t to my liking, how many things have I missed or not fully appreciated. I suspect there are a lot!
Learning to pay attention to our moment by moment experience in a kind and non-judgmental way, cultivating compassion for self and others and looking at the patterns of our conditioned reflexes are all part of our Mindfulness Practice. Our courses and members community help support this practice. Below are some small extracts from our course modules and I find it great to read through these sometimes and this ties in with my motivation for practice.
Mindfulness is defined as paying attention to our moment by moment experience in a way that is non-judgmental and kind.
The four limitless qualities of equanimity, love, compassion and joy.
Conditioned reflexes that drive our reactions. Rob Nairn calls this the ‘subliminal reflex’.
These practices create the conditions for insight to arise exposing the underling habits of thought, feeling and behaviour that drive us. If these practices help appreciate the joyful moments, such as not missing out on musical performances – then great. If they also help with the difficult and challenging moments, which is where I suspect the true benefit and progress are to be had – then that’s also great!
I am sure we have all had moments where, upon reflection, we would have reacted in a different way. I have found incorporating a Mindfulness Practice and cultivating core values in a balanced lifestyle can really help with those reactive moments.
This Weeks Challenge
For this weeks I will be keeping a lookout for those reactive moments. The circumstances, reactions, responses and reflections. I invite you to do the same.
The practice continues!
Warm wishes until next time