The Mona Lisa and My Disgust with Tourists

I have to admit that waiting in line the other morning to get into the Louvre in Paris, France I was vibrating with  excitement.

Leonardo Da Vinci has always been a hero of mine (more on Leo later…) and to actually stand in front of his most famous painting, The Mona Lisa, was something I had looked forward to for a long, long time. It was more than just looking at a painting to me, it was the achievement of a lifelong dream.

So naturally when we entered the building, like all the other tourists, we ran up the stairs past other priceless works of art to be able to get a look at the Mona Lisa first.

When we got to the room it was crowded. Dozens of people milled around snapping photos, snapping selfies, taking videos, and rapidly changing positions for others to do the same. Now, don’t get me wrong – we took pics of the painting and with it too.

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But then something happened…

I put my phone away. Took a position directly in front of the painting and stood like a rock with my arms crossed in front of my chest, gazing deeply at the painting, the flow of tourists churning around me as I stood unmoving in their midst. My eyes welled up with tears as the profound beauty all around me affected me and I actually began to experience it.

I was reminded of a quote by Musashi when he talked about people who look, but don’t  SEE. And suddenly I SAW. The white noise faded into the background, time slowed down and  I stared at the painting and really SAW it.

I looked around at the mass of people milling about me as they quickly took their pictures and moved on to find the next item to cross off their list and it made me angry. None of them were actually SEEING the amazing works of art in front of them. Yeah, they looked and took hundreds of pictures, but it was all so very superficial.

They were not able to appreciate nor experience the magnificence that was right in front of them!

How often does this happen to you in your life?

How many times do you look, but don’t SEE what’s in front of you?

How much of life do you miss by running from one place to the next from one appointment to the next, from one task to the next, without ever experiencing the in-between moments that are so critical for us?

Take time. Don’t just look as your life passes you by, SEE. FEEL. EXPERIENCE IT.

Jon

Jon Haas is a certified Underground Strength Coach -Level 2, an ACE and FMS certified Personal Trainer, and has been involved in the martial arts for over 30 years. He has been training in the Budo Taijutsu warrior arts of the Bujinkan for more than 25 years and is currently ranked as a Kudan (9th degree black belt) under Jack Hoban Shidoshi. He is the founder of Warrior Fitness Training Systems and author of the book, Warrior Fitness: Conditioning for Martial Arts, as well as numerous other online training programs.

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About The Author

Jon

Jon Haas is a certified Underground Strength Coach -Level 2, an ACE and FMS certified Personal Trainer, and has been involved in the martial arts for over 30 years. He has been training in the Budo Taijutsu warrior arts of the Bujinkan for more than 25 years and is currently ranked as a Kudan (9th degree black belt) under Jack Hoban Shidoshi. He is the founder of Warrior Fitness Training Systems and author of the book, Warrior Fitness: Conditioning for Martial Arts, as well as numerous other online training programs.

2 Comments

  • Stanley Skrabut

    July 20, 2016

    You should not get made worrying about what others miss. Enjoy the moment that you had appreciating your experience.

  • Jon

    July 20, 2016

    Very true, Stan! 🙂

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