Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Rooster of Mindfulness

Life here in the ecovillage is never, ever boring. It is stunning to me just how radically different members of Dancing Rabbit are from one another. While one might assume that this would be a fairly homogenous, goose-stepping mind-meld of a group, one would be very wrong indeed.

This week, instead of spending our time discussing global warming, alternative construction or how just how much rain has fallen, this is what has been filling our time: The Mindfulness Bell.

Photo credit: Michael McKennedy on Flickr

Last week, we recieved this email from a member of DR:

Thursday, May 23, 2013 5:11 PM

Hey All,

Some of you may know that for years I've been wishing that DR had a bell of mindfulness, and now thanks to NameWithheld's beautiful wood working, we have one :-)

For those who don't know, the idea with a mindfulness bell is that when it is rung, anyone who wants to do so is encouraged to stop what they are doing and pause in silence for 5-10 seconds to bring their awareness to appreciating the present moment.

The bell is set up in a portable way so we can put it where ever works best for the village. If the current or any future location doesn't work for folks, or if someone wants to suggest another location that they think would be better, just let me know. Also, if anyone has concerns about the bell in general, please let me know that as well.
I've currently located the mindfulness bell to the path so that anyone who wants to may ring it to call a moment of stillness. The knocker for the bell is a piece of Osage that is hanging next to the bell.

Please encourage children to use the bell for its intended purpose only.

I hope everyone enjoys the bell.

In mindfulness,
Name Withheld for privacy purposes

My first reaction was "WTF!"  The bell smacks a bit of the two years I spent at BYU, where everyone was expected to stop and stand still, whether indoors or out, for the entire length of National Anthem as it played each evening at 5:15 p.m.. To me, the mindfulness bell feels like the same kind of peer pressure, crowd control and of imposing another's view of what good behavior "should" be, only with a (currently cool,  trendy and popular) Zen slant. Apparently I wasn't the only one to have a reaction.

One hour and 5 minutes later we received this:
Thursday, May 23, 2013 6:16 PM
Hey Folks,

After getting some feedback from a few folks (thank you for the honesty!), I've pulled the Mindfulness Bell out of service and have created a poll instead to see how people feel about the idea of such a bell existing at DR.

Please take a minute to fill out the poll to indicate if you would like such a bell to exist, how often you want it rung (if at all), and where you want it located (or if you don't want it to exist here at DR).

Thanks for your time.
In striving for mindfulness and sensitivity to my neighbors,
Name Withheld for privacy purposes

The poll even included a pie chart.

Fortunately, my irritation turned to laughter as I read through the responses to the poll, and to the presence of the bell here at Dancing Rabbit. This is my favorite:

It is an interesting question of who has the right to put their noise in everyone's ears. We do it for ultimate (note: when an Ultimate Frisbee game is about to begin, players yell "ultimate!" in unison, loudly), and obviously people make construction noise, and roosters are tolerated. But we don't generally play music over loud speakers. Its an interesting social question. Maybe we need a rooster of mindfulness and any time it crows people get mindful? 

Forget the bell. Here's to the Rooster of Mindfulness. May he live a long and happy life.