I’m currently visiting my parents in Oregon.  Because they are music lovers, they have, over the years, invested their money in what might possibly be the finest sound system in the Free World.  Their system includes multiple receivers, a truckload of custom made speakers, and mysterious entities like sub-woofers and tweeters.  The entire system is run via an IPad mini that includes my father’s iTunes library of over 100,000 songs.  

Last night we sat in their living room and listened to music, and it turned out to be an object lesson in Mindfulness.

They played old Blues, Ragtime, Gospel by Elvis Presley, and of course, Classic Rock.  The sound was so clear and distinct, the experience so intense and powerful, that when they played the live Joe Cocker song from the mid-1970’s, I’m pretty sure that, as I sat there on the sofa, I was drenched in the singer’s 40 year-old sweat.

The audio experience was magic.  From that speaker came a blues harmonica or jazz saxophone.  From the other speaker, an electric guitar or boogie-woogie piano.  From the speakers behind me, the lush harmonies of girl group-style, back-up singers backing up Ray Charles, Leonard Cohen, and again, Joe Cocker.  Before long the three of us were leaning our heads back on the couch, closing our eyes, and tapping our feet to the various beats.  

The magic I experienced last night, I realized, could be carried over into my classroom.  Why not think of each concept as an individual instrument and focus on each lesson as Mindfully as I did with one of my parents’ songs?  Concentrate on commas in this lesson, focus on dependent clauses in that lesson, hear just the concerns of this student this day, be present for just my own needs on another day.  

And finally, why not let my life experience and personal teaching style be the mindful speakers through which my music plays?  TZT