What’s written below was sent to me. I didn’t write it.
It describes a Washington Post story, for which I’ve found and included the link to below.
I’m filled with a desire to comment. But will just allow those of you who seek enlightenment about the simple things to read it for yourself.
I’ve said too much already. Here it is:
A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the open case, and without stopping, continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother moved him along hurriedly, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk at their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston, and the seats averaged $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
I found the link for the original article, "Pearls Before Breakfast":
http://budurl.com/skpj Author, Gene Weingarten won a Pulitzer Prize for this article.
Oops, but my desire to comment is still here.
One of the reasons you’ll be hearing so much from from me about “Your Inner Wizard,” is that when we come from a more centered inner place, our consciousness need not be so scattered.
Practice and reminders are the keys to greater awareness.
It’s understandable that those rushing through the station might be late for trains, jobs, appointments, etc., no matter how good the music was, pre-set priorities may take precedence.
But then, sometimes, we just have to stop and smell the music. It’s really all around us.
Oh, I know, “smell” the music makes no sense.
Or does it?
Have a smelly day.