If you love music and you are practicing meditation, can you incorporate the two and still achieve great results?
Traditionally, listening to music while meditating would be a totally alien concept. You will not find any Buddhist literature that speaks of meditation accompanied by music. Old-school meditation would involve silence or ambient background.
Using music for meditation is a new concept that probably comes from the practice of alternative health practitioners playing relaxing music while performing their healing arts. Thus emerged what we now know as “meditation music”.
Should you Use Music while Meditating?
It depends on what you want to achieve from meditation. If your goal is light meditation or you just want to calm your mind and unwind, then you can use almost any form of ambient meditation music. The world we live in can be quite frantic, noisy and hectic at times. Most of us really need to relax and rejuvenate, and listening to meditation music can help achieve this.
If you are trying to focus on your breathing, then you can’t listen to music. When you’re listening to music, it is nearly impossible to concentrate on your breathing. Also, music brings out pleasant feelings. If the pleasant feelings are the result of meditation music, you will not be able to go deeper into yourself to find your inner well of happiness. So, basically, meditation music tends to be used as a crutch that hinders meditation rather than aid it.
Listening to Music as a Form of Meditation
Many activities such as walking and yes, listening to music, can be turned into a meditation technique. If done properly, you can make the activity richer and more satisfying by infusing more awareness into it. If you are keen to use music in your meditation, make sure that you are not simultaneously doing something else – no work, no balancing of your checkout, no reading or any other activity.
Turn off your phone. Switch off the light in your room. Focus on the music. Sit or lie down comfortably, and just listen to the music.
The Ideal Music for Meditation
The types of music that are good companions in your meditation are recordings of the sounds of nature such as ocean waves, streams and birdsong. Why? Because it can be argued that the Buddhist monks and their followers would be meditating outdoors. Even if they were to meditate indoors, silence is nearly impossible as the buildings would not have had glass windows to block sounds. Therefore, meditating while you hear nature’s sounds is pretty close to the practice of meditation in the old days.
Natural sounds are soothing and less catchy than actual music, so your mind is less likely to latch on to it and distract you. Natural recordings help relax your mind and body, allowing you to enter a state of deep calm and inner peace that meditation brings. Music, on the other hand, is likely to distract you; it also produces pleasant feelings, thus hindering you from getting into a complete meditation mode.