What do the Dalai Lama and a bass-music fanatic getting low at 3am at Burning Man have in common?
A surprising amount, actually.
From mood enhancement and relaxation to full-blown oneness with the cosmos, music has the ability to powerfully shift our state of mind. Meditation is not that different. Meditation lowers the stress hormone cortisol, helps us sleep better, and rewires the brain with a host of positive emotional qualities. Attempting to meditate in a nightclub may not be high on the list of recommended practices for monks and yogis, but maybe it should be: When you’re fully lost in music, you’re getting a taste of nirvana without any of the rigorous training.
As both a musician and meditator, I believe that there is a connection between the exalted states on the dancefloor and the spiritual states achieved in meditation. Since the late 1990s I’ve been DJing and producing …
So I’m standing at a cocktail party in Hollywood the other night, and someone asks me what I do. I tell him I train people to meditate with music. Then the inevitable follow up question: “Any music? Because if I can listen to any music, I choose Metallica.” He chuckles. “Yep.” I say, “You can meditate listening to Metallica.” He tilts his head like a confused puppy. A thought bubble appears above it: “HUH??!” I’ve got him just where I want him.
Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “Beginner’s Mind,” which has its origins in Zen. Beginner’s Mind involves letting go of preconceptions, at any stage of your meditation practice. I’m happy that meditation has reached a tipping point in our culture. Not long ago it was considered a fringe activity. Now, not only does it come up at cocktail parties, meditation is a topic frequently covered by major news outlets, …
The soothing power of music is well-established. It has a unique link to our emotions, so can be an extremely effective stress management tool.
Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet classical music. This type of music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones. Music, in short, can act as a powerful stress management tool in our lives.
As music can absorb our attention, it acts as a distraction at the same time it helps to explore emotions. This means it can be a great aid to meditation, helping to prevent the mind wandering.
Musical preference varies widely between individuals, so only you can decide what you like and what is suitable for each mood. But even if you don’t usually listen …
I love music. In fact the powerful surges of pleasurable energy that I used to experience in my body when listening to music as a teenager was one of the things that made me curious to learn meditation. These experiences of rapture (the Buddhist technical term is “priti”) opened my eyes to the fact that there were ranges of experience outside of our normal expectations.
The idea that you should listen to music while meditating is very common. But this probably goes back to seeing meditation as little more than a means of relaxation.
Traditionally, the idea of listening to music while meditating would be completely out of the question. In no Buddhist lineage that I know of is there any kind of musical accompaniment to sitting meditation. This is a very modern notion, and probably comes from the fact that many alternative health practitioners play relaxing music in …
Music is powerful. Research shows that music can alter a person’s mood and behaviour, as well as their physical body. That’s why, in our fast-paced modern world, the calming effects of music are so significant. Meditation is powerful too. It can provide clarity and inner-peace. When these two worlds, music and meditation, meet they deliver benefits that impact your entire life. Listening to calming music can have a positive impact on your meditative practice and your life. Before we talk examine those benefits, let’s first look at what we mean by “meditation music.”
What Is Meditation Music?
Meditation is a method of bringing clarity in your thoughts. It allows you to cultivate new, positive ways of being. With regular work and patience, it can have a transformative effect and lead to a new understanding of life.
Music also has transformative powers. The combination of rhythm and melody has a tremendous …