How a Broadway Show Made Me Meditate

ImageAround 10 years ago, a friend of mine convinced me to join him on a meditation retreat. While I appreciated the beauty of silence, I found that five minutes was more than enough.

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.

Meditation Time

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


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4 thoughts on “How a Broadway Show Made Me Meditate

  1. Dmitriy December 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm Reply

    I believe what you were doing was actually just taking time to think, which can be valuable, but is not meditation.

    The point of mediation is actually to clear your mind of thought, which is a difficult task, and takes lots of practice, but has great benefit for health, and mental fitness.

    A good way to start is to sit, and turn your complete focus on your breath
    Then systematically start clearing away thoughts as they come in to your head (as they surely will) and return to focusing on your breath.

    At the beginning, your meditation will consist almost entirely of this activity, and you will not be able to achieve a different conscious state.

    As you get better at clearing your mind, you will find yourself in the present moment, your breath will dramatically slow, and you will lose track of the passage of time.

    When you come out of this meditative state, your mind will feel sharp, and rejuvenated.

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