Music for Meditation
Listening to music can be a powerful tool. Music can calm and soothe us and set the stage for entering into meditation.
Type of MusicAny selection, genre, or type may be the means to transport us into a calm state. Some people listen to opera or a symphony. Others listen to movie soundtracks, gospel music, Spanish guitar, or sitar music. Many people prefer flute music, such as CDs by Dean Evanson, or New Age music from producers like Windham Hill. It doesn't have to be classical music or even something New Age. It could even be electronic music, soft rock, or whale song.
Selecting MusicMusic, like scent, is very evocative. Hearing an old tune we listened to in high school with our friends can immediately transport us back to what we were doing then. We can even recall the feelings we had years ago. Music can unlock these memories because it can activate specific parts of the brain. Therefore, choose your meditation music so that it doesn't evoke something more stressful. Often, it is better to choose music that is new or that was created for meditation when you first begin to meditate. Music like this will be free of any emotional imprinting.
Whatever type of music you choose for meditation, it should be something calming. You probably want it to be an instrumental piece, without lyrics. In most cases, you shouldn't focus on what the song is saying, but on the mood the music produces in you. Sometimes, music with lyrics sung in a foreign language that you don't understand is a good choice. You will concentrate on how the music makes you feel without letting your mind become distracted by a word or phrase.
If you have chosen your music for meditation carefully, you may not be aware of the music itself. You will just relax and go to your meditation place. If you are having an especially difficult day, your careful selection of music will offer elements within the music itself to help you focus and ease into that meditative state. It might be flutes or drums or a particular vocal tone.
How to Use MusicYou may wish to choose a piece of music to play while you do a sequence of relaxation techniques before you enter into deep meditation. That music can be soothing, but it can be a bit more complex than what you use when you move into meditation. Also, you may wish to add a piece of music to rouse your body and mind gently from meditation. Having a piece of music end with silence following can be as jarring sometimes as hearing a loud click when a tape player shuts off.
With the availability of new music technology now, you can create a meditation CD for your home stereo system or even for your iPod. Therefore, you could do your meditation on your commute home from work, outdoors, or at your desk after lunch. Even if you chose not to go into deep meditation with a lot of people around, you could play meditative music to allow your body to begin to relax and transition from a stressful environment to one that wasn't as stressful.
Combining Music and Other MethodsThere are some people who cannot meditate by stretching out on a mat and listening to instrumental music. These people, however, can slip into a deep relaxed state by humming or singing along with the music, playing an instrument, or even moving with music. They use their ears, their voices, and their bodies. For these people, putting on headphones at home and giving in to a deep soul-stirring rendition of their favorite tune puts them into a relaxed state. The catharsis of singing or playing an instrument then allows them to enter into a moment of deep meditation. Still other people combine music with dance or physical exercise to ease them into meditation.
Music is an important tool for relaxation and entering into a meditative state.