Acceptance vs. Resistance

Last night I was at the Monterey Jazz Festival. The closing act for Saturday night was The Roots, the hip-hop band that is the house band for the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. They were absolutely, ABSOLUTELY wonderful. But this being a jazz festival at all, lots of folks walked out. So… I want to talk about that phenomena a little bit.

The Roots

So yes, lots of people walked out last night. Friends of mine, people I love and respect. Thankfully, for those of us that stayed, more than that amount came back in to make it an absolutely sublime and transcendent event. But, I want to talk about those who left. Or rather, that little thing in all of us that would cause us to miss an amazing event.

I’ve been very heavily influenced by the writings of Eckardt Tolle, and one of the biggest things I got from him is was what he calls the “modalities of awakened doing”. There are basically three states, or modalities: acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm. If you’re feeling anything else at a particular moment you are creating sadness, or suffering for yourself, others or both.

And what I saw happening in these people that left last night (not all of them, I’ll talk about that little bit later) is that their inability to accept what was happening on stage prevented them from enjoying an absolutely transcendent, sublime and wonderful musical moment.

And I say this with a lot of compassion and empathy for that kind of behavior. Because I have been doing it all of my life. There are so many situations where my inability to just relax and accept what was happening (instead of rejecting and holding firm “against” it) prevented me from enjoying something really, really wonderful. It probably happened yesterday, I know it must’ve happened in the last week, and has been going on in my life as far back as I can remember. Something doesn’t fit my current definition of what I want–or what I think I need–and I resist it. I’m working to get rid of this tendency…but that process is ongoing. 🙂

Now, I’m certain that some of those people that left just don’t like that music at a deep and personal level, and that’s totally cool. But I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the people that left because what was in front of them wasn’t their idea (“idea” being the operative term here) of good music or a good time. (I say “good time” because last nights concert was as much a party as a musical event or music concert or what have you.)

So anyway, for the folks who walked out, I feel for them. Mostly I feel sad because their lack of acceptance cut them off from something that was absolutely amazing. But, I also feel for them because I have done the EXACT SAME THING throughout my life. My rejection of some idea, place or thing prevented me from enjoying something wonderful.

That last thought is what I want to leave us all with (me especially)–I need to remember that when I’m not in the state of acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm, I’m just creating problems or sadness for myself and/or others. I know it’s true for me.

And there you have it have it–cheers!

P.S. I wanted to share with you my two main facebook posts about the concert from immediately after the event. Just to give you a little sense of the vibe and energy I left that event with.

1) The Roots slayed. SLAYED. It was amazing, colossal…the BEST band and show I have ever seen. They cleared out a lot of folks (the old coots 😉 from the arena, but they got more folks in their place. Ooo-EE! As Shakespeare once said, “Get thee to a Roots concert.”

2) Imagine James Brown’s 1967 band closing Saturday of the Monterey Jazz Fest that year. Lots of folks would have left (who among jazz buffs knew anything about funk in 1967?), but those who stayed would have been amazed and converted to the cause…and become “true funk soldiers”. That’s what The Roots did for hip-hop among the crowd at MJF tonight. Yes.

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