Sunday, September 20, 2009

Meditation and music

Many people ask me if it's all right if they meditate "to music" and I consistently recommend against it. Most people mean by this that they want some sort of background music so that they can avoid the silence and this would not be a good plan at all!

However, I have just come across a fascinating article by Evelyn Cash about actually using music as a meditative support (or object).

Here's how it works:
I found myself able to watch my mind as I listened to the music. Certain tracks would bring up certain emotions or thoughts and I could use my meditation as a way to observe this process and watch how my mind reacted to the stimulus. In many ways, this is no different from sitting with slight knee pain or with a dog barking outside. The pain or the barking may irritate you but the point of meditation is to watch that irritation and see that it isn't you and will eventually pass away. I found that music had much the same effect. A track that I recognized would come on and I could watch my reaction to it and note: "recognition," another track might come on that I didn't like and I could just note: "aversion" then watch how my mood or even my body reacted. So the music became less of a distraction and more of a tool and an object of meditation.
I would recommend this only for experienced meditators. But it really is an intriguing notion isn't it?

I also would recommend that you read the entire article quoted above. It's not very long and it gives a focused description of how the author views this exercise.


  1. Karen Lawson8:32 AM

    To me the best music to meditate to is Enigma, I think you can barely think of any other music that is more suitable for this process. Also from time to time I download whole sets of music for meditation with sounds o nature and sea.

  2. Thank you for this comment, Karen. I'll check it out!


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