A violin player set up shop in a metro station plaza one morning and began playing. It was busy that morning, and over 1,000 people heard him, but people passed him by, he never drew a crowd, and barely had anyone pay any attention to him whatsoever.  He played almost 45 minutes.

The Washington Post hosted the event, as an experiment on context, perception and priorities.  I think you’ll find it a lengthy but interesting read.  The violinist was Joshua Bell.  He is a very famous musician, perhaps one of the best violinists in the world.  In the metro station, he played some of the most difficult and challenging classical pieces, and you can bet that he didn’t suck.  He normally plays venues where the minimum seat is $100, and there he was, playing for hand-outs, on a violin worth $3.5 million, no less.  So why did everyone ignore him?

I think focus and expectations set the context.  The focus of the average person is very small.  The focus of the average commuter is even smaller yet.  Cell phones and iPods have reduced our focus to microscopic size.  And one doesn’t expect to find world-class violinists playing in the metro station while on the way to work.  It’s completely outside of the typical thought process.

You might say similar things about mediumship.  Our focus is so small, and we’re so busy commuting through life that a Joshua Bell of the spirit world could be playing right in the middle of our metro station, and we miss the whole thing.  We aren’t paying attention, we don’t expect it, and we don’t recognize it, even though it’s right in front of us.

A big part of learning mediumship involves undoing.  Undoing of the expectations you bring into it.  Undoing of the expectations you carry from whatever religious background you have.  Undoing of the hidden expectations that you have subconsiously picked up through television and movies.  When we stop our running-running-running expectations and open up to the present moment, there is a possibility that something may be there.  It just may be a Joshua Bell.