That was my last attempt at finding pure quiet. In the 10 years since then, technology added heavily to my list of distractions, and I realized how rare it is to do nothing. Think: Could you make it two hours without watching TV, emailing, texting, Facebooking, sleeping, or eating?
Catch a Broadway Show
During my last visit to New York, my girlfriend wanted to see a Broadway show. Of course I said yes, although this was not a matter of my enjoyment. Not only does theater not interest me in the slightest, I have bad vision.
After waiting for hours in a discount line we ended up with seats in the very last row. Ten minutes in, I gave up trying to enjoy the show and surrendered to my waste of time and money; I couldn’t see, I didn’t know what was going on, and most importantly, I didn’t really care.
Here is the biggest problem with being bored in a Broadway show: It’s forbidden to do EVERYTHING.
I couldn’t open my phone, I couldn’t talk, it wasn’t comfortable (or appropriate) to nap, and of course leaving is out of the question. Afterall, I did pay $80.
That’s how I found myself meditating on Broadway.
For the entire three hours I completely tuned out the show and focused on sorting out the noise in my mind. I thought about the product I was developing and the setbacks it was facing. I thought about why some ideas worked but their duplicates did not. I replayed the last company meeting in my head and looked for points that I could improve upon. I saw it all.
Three hours of pure thinking without distraction – on some level it felt divine.
The show finished and I was the first up to give the actors a standing ovation (I’m sure they deserved it) – it had indeed been a significant life experience.
When I returned home, I began searching for that ultimate focus in my everyday life.
I tried taking longer showers, but longer than 15 minutes just felt excessive. I tried listening to music, but my phone kept distracting me. I even tried laying in bed with the lights off, but (to no surprise) I kept falling asleep.
There’s only one way for me to find that pure silence – find a show with seats in the back, pay too much money, and catch a Broadway play. It may seem a bit extravagant, but that overpriced meditation session was invaluable. I walked away feeling balanced, with renewed energy and a clear mind. When you get away from everything for a few hours, all you have to focus on is yourself and your thoughts.
Tips for meditating on Broadway:
During the show, sit up straight, or you might fall asleep and lose valuable thinking time. Intermission is a great time to retain your sanity/check your phone.
photo credit @robyoung