I like music. In reality the highly effective surges of pleasurable power that I used to expertise in my physique when listening to music as a youngster was one of many issues that made me curious to study meditation. These experiences of rapture (the Buddhist technical time period is “priti”) opened my eyes to the actual fact that there have been ranges of expertise outdoors of our regular expectations.
“Meditation Music” Is Not a Conventional Idea
The concept you need to hearken to music whereas meditating is quite common. However this most likely goes again to seeing meditation as little greater than a way of rest.
Historically, the thought of listening to music whereas meditating could be utterly out of the query. In no Buddhist lineage that I do know of is there any type of musical accompaniment to sitting meditation.
The notion of listening to music whereas meditating is a really trendy one, and doubtless comes from the truth that many different well being practitioners play enjoyable music within the background whereas performing their therapeutic arts. This music turned often called “meditation music” and the belief grew up that we should always hearken to music whereas meditating.
Historically there would merely be silence or ambient background noise to accompany meditation.
“Meditation Music” Stops Us From Going Deeply Into Meditation
So-called meditation music is supposed to be enjoyable, and naturally meditation does allow you to to chill out too. However meditation goes past rest and helps us to be extra alert and targeted. It additionally helps us to do issues like domesticate kindly or to deeply query the character of our expertise. Music is more likely to get in the way in which of these actions.
If you happen to’re making an attempt to concentrate one-pointedly to your respiration, then you may’t additionally hearken to music. And should you’re making an attempt to hearken to music then you may’t totally focus in your respiration.
Music produces nice emotions, which is why we hearken to it and why music is now nearly ubiquitous, being thrust at us in shops, elevators, and even on the streets. If these nice emotions are being equipped by “meditation music” then we received’t attain deeper into ourselves to search out our personal sources of happiness. So-called meditation music due to this fact is a type of crutch that hinders our follow fairly than serving to it.
If you happen to discover silence disquieting or disagreeable, then you definitely’re not in a position to be at peace with your self. The best way to get snug with silence is to follow being with it. On this method we study to be at peace with ourselves. Listening to music whereas meditation makes that course of inconceivable. You’ll by no means study to be deeply at peace with your self should you’re depending on music.
In reality, as we get deeper into meditation, we cease registering sounds altogether. Our ears are nonetheless functioning, in fact. And the alerts they’re producing are nonetheless being despatched to the mind. However after we’re totally engaged with being conscious of our internal expertise, we merely cease listening to sounds.
Listening to music whereas meditating stops that depth of mindfulness from taking place.
Music As Meditation
Nonetheless, specializing in music is okay, and I wholeheartedly recommend that you simply attempt doing that, however I additionally recommend that you simply attempt doing it at a time whenever you’re not meditating.
I’d go additional and recommend that listening to music, if completed correctly, is usually a meditation in itself, simply as strolling or washing the dishes might be. You may take many actions and make them richer and extra satisfying by taking extra consciousness into them. Music, as we’ve seen, is only one instance. We’ve included hyperlinks to some wonderful Buddhist music that makes an ideal focus for a “listening meditation.”
Listening to music as a meditation follow is usually a very highly effective follow. As I turned extra accustomed to the expertise of the dhyanas (Pali, jhanas), that are very concentrated, calm, and blissful states of meditation, I spotted that I’d been experiencing these states for years whereas listening to western classical music. And I’ve discovered that I can expertise the entire dhyanas whereas treating music as a meditation object.
If you happen to’re going to hearken to music as meditation then you need to take it severely as a follow. Attempt to not do the rest on the similar time. Don’t work, or learn, or stability your checkbook when you’re listening. Change off your cellphone. Darken the room. Simply hearken to the music. Ensure you’re in a cushty place that helps alert consideration. Sit or lie down comfortably, and simply take note of the music. You’ll most likely discover that you simply take pleasure in it like by no means earlier than.
Nature Sounds As an Accompaniment to Meditation
One auditory accompaniment to meditation that I do suppose is affordable is recordings of pure sounds, resembling water, birdsong, and so forth. Within the Buddha’s day the overwhelming majority of meditation would have taken place open air. Even when meditation happened indoors, the buildings would have lacked glass home windows and silence would have been extraordinarily uncommon. So you possibly can argue that meditating within the presence of pure sounds (or recordings thereof) is nearer to the unique follow of meditation. Alternatively, simply because silence was uncommon within the Buddha’s day doesn’t imply that folks then wouldn’t have discovered silence helpful as a background for his or her follow.
Moreover, although, many people stay in very city environments the place listening to pure sounds is uncommon. I consider that contact with the sounds of nature fulfills a deep want for a way of connectedness to the pure world, and that recordings of these sounds might help fill that want.
Additionally, pure sounds are extra random and fewer “catchy” than music, and the thoughts is much less more likely to grow to be connected to and distracted by them. In reality, it’s simpler to tune out random pure sounds as we get extra absorbed in our expertise. We’re extra more likely to get “caught” listening to music.
So at worst I’d say that pure recordings do no hurt, whereas at finest they might assist us to fill a necessity for the expertise of pure sound. Music alternatively is more likely to be a distraction, or to artificially produce nice emotions, thus stopping us from discovering these nice emotions from inside.
Finally It’s As much as You
I’ll simply add that you simply’re utterly free to decide on to hearken to music when you meditate. You’re free to hearken to the information when you meditate, even. However in making these decisions you’re additionally selecting the implications that observe on from them — that you simply’re taking away a chance to be deeply at peace with your self. I’d recommend that selecting silence is a extra spiritually useful possibility. Even should you initially discover silence intimidating, you’ll get used to it. Thousands and thousands of meditators have. And in time you’ll discover that silence is extra conducive to peace and tranquillity than music ever could possibly be.