For those of you who have enjoyed the last two weeks and the series of posts from my upcoming book that were built around the driving metaphor, there is a lot more to that lesson. It’s too involved for the blog so I will save that for book form, but that still leaves us with many aspects of reality for us to discuss.
A good example is the fact that, every now and then, someone will ask me why my social media feeds will include ‘distractions,’ like videos of musicians, or artists, or craftspeople, or children. But these are not the usual ‘distractions.’
If we think of a distraction as being what takes us away from things that are more important, then these are not distractions, but rather respites for our focus.
Their point is not to steal our attention, but more to provide us with something to focus on that a) has nothing to do with us other than to be potentially interesting in a very general way, and b) we can engage with our appreciation in a word-less manner.
Unlike reading, or conversation, which demand that we process the world through the lens of language and ego, we can instead have a direct experience with live music. Without knowing anything about music, we can all witness its formation in something like an orchestra.
In watching its creation, there is a sense that what emerges does not require words to exist. We simply know some instruments make certain kinds of sounds and others make other kinds of sounds.
We don’t need to know the name of the song, the name of the instrument, and we don’t need to know anything about musical theory, and yet we can experience all of that in a full way that is actually like a mini-holiday for our brains.
Far from distracting us from our work, it’s far more likely to see us return to our work with renewed focus and clarity. That being the case, below please find several examples of famous musical scores being performed live.
Virtually all of us will recognize at least one of these musical expressions because I have taken them from the biggest film series’ in history, and I am presenting them in the order of the length of the meditation they provide.
These include, Mission Impossible, Harry Potter, Star Trek, James Bond, and Star Wars. I tried to find a good example of Bugs Bunny, but none I could find were shot professionally, where we got a good look at who was playing what. The point here is to not just hear the music, but to witness its creation.
Today, choose one or more of these. When you’ve been productive but find you’re now feeling the urge for a break from whatever you’re concentrating on, learn to heed that feeling. That’s our bodies communicating to us. Our brains use 20% of our daily energy. They need rest just like our muscles.
In most cases these meditations –not distractions– will only take up 5-20 minutes of our time. But the dividends they pay off can impact the rest of our day. Whether it’s through laughter, images of nature, or artistic performances, always remember that wordless focus on anything, is a useful thing to our mind, spirit and creativity.
Mission Impossible Theme: 5:33
(This one includes a description of what 5-4 time is. The actual song starts 2 minutes in)
Harry Potter Symphonic Suite: 9:16
Star Trek Themes: 9:23
James Bond Medley: 11:55
Star Wars Suite: 17:17
Now, with your brain rested and its patterns disrupted, we can expect to return to our work with a fresher, stronger mind. Remember this exercise in the future.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own over-thinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.