Personally, I do a little bit of all of it (not in one sitting!) and find that all kinds of meditation methods can work at different times to bring me to a state of peace and presence in the NOW. We write a lot about meditation here on FinerMinds, but I don’t think we’ve ever had a post on meditation music, so I thought it would be a good time to have a look (if not a listen) at the connection between sound and stillness.
Metal on the Mind?
First of all, if you’ve never tried meditating with music, I recommend it. But there are a few, let’s say, ‘parameters’ to follow. The most important of these is that you want to use music that soothes and stills the mind. So as much as you might like heavy metal, rock, pop, jazz or the blues, these can be too harsh, distracting, fast-paced or depressing to help you get to deeper mind states.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind – no pun intended :) If you’ve got some music that you love, but it reminds you of specific people, periods or events in your life, it’s best to avoid them as a meditation tool. Why? Because the tunes will trigger your memories, which trigger associations, feelings and thoughts. Then, before you know it, you’re not meditating at all, you’re just thinking. Worse than that, if that string of associations turns sour (as in a bad memory or worry about the future), then you’re ‘just thinking’ AND feeling stress!
Then How Do I Choose?
When it comes to meditation music, a quick google search will give you an idea of just how many choices you have. You’ve got youtube choices, free downloads, sacred chants, binaural beats, instrumental … shoot, there’s probably even some musak being promoted as meditation music (not really recommended but hey, if you like it, go for it!) The thing is, you want to choose music that suits what you want to achieve during meditation. So if you want to relax and still your mind, then calm, soothing music is best. If you want to re-energize after a long day, something melodic and gently uplifting will do. If you want to deepen your spirituality, then sacred chants might appeal to you. And, if you want to go into deep mind states like Theta and Delta, then you’ll want to get some binaural beats and use a headset.
How about Ambiant Sounds
How about using the sound of rain or waves or bells? Does this count as meditation music? It sure does! Just remember that these kind of ambiant, almost ‘white noise’ sounds, can quickly lull you right past meditation and into sleep. So if you’re using ambiant sound audios for the purpose of meditation, be sure to sit in a position that keeps you awake (in other words: not the Lazy Boy chair!)
If you’ve used music to enhance your meditation, please tell us about it – what works, what doesn’t and what kind of music do you recommend?