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Thoughts on meditation to music

I used to like to listen to music when I began meditation but when I became serious about it I stopped ( well with voluntary music anyway). I remember though one of what I call the best meditation experiences I had was when I was listening to this guided meditation app on my phone with this extremely calming music. I just got lost in it and felt this like I had complete weightlessness completely forgetting about my body. Instead I was this bird just flying into an infinite baby blue sky. It almost felt like an OBE. Anyway I know this is not what meditation is about and that's not going into a blissful trance rather its beeing completely conscious and alert in the now but it was still cool. Thoughts?

Comments

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    I have a hunch that meditation is about hearing the music that is never missing and not quite so much about queuing up a favored melody. Good experiences come and go under all sorts of circumstances, but relying on outside trigger mechanisms or other tricks has a way of sidetracking the right-in-front-of-your-nose effort.

    In Zen Buddhism, a good deal of time is spent on the meditation cushion. This fact does not reduce the truth inherent in the question, "When has Zen ever had anything to do with sitting on a cushion."

    Just noodling.

    lobsterFosdickkarasti
  • SwaroopSwaroop India Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    I used to like to listen to music when I began meditation but when I became serious about it I stopped ( well with voluntary music anyway). I remember though one of what I call the best meditation experiences I had was when I was listening to this guided meditation app on my phone with this extremely calming music. I just got lost in it and felt this like I had complete weightlessness completely forgetting about my body. Instead I was this bird just flying into an infinite baby blue sky. It almost felt like an OBE. Anyway I know this is not what meditation is about and that's not going into a blissful trance rather its beeing completely conscious and alert in the now but it was still cool. Thoughts?

    Your experience is more of a self hypnosis rather than meditation.

  • Sounds like a nice thing to do and undoubtedly its some kind of meditation but not Buddhist meditation ( I speak from a Zen standpoint)

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    It does sound more like a trance experience. There are various traditions that do trances via music, for example Sufi whirling dances or shamanic journeying which is often done to drumming, and that can lead to various kinds of spiritual healing and visions. It is unlikely to lead to enlightenment, but you might find a different kind of wisdom.

    lobsterherberto
  • Even though @genkaku is right, led meditation, trance inducing relaxation, music to mellow in etc has loosening/relaxing effects that can facilitate and encourage or even initiate our cushion time and beyond ...

    dhammachick
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited April 2016

    For me I think of my basic practice to be sitting meditation with no music with the advice in meditation from my teacher.

    I am not against different meditations: music, guided. But I add those to my sitting practice rather than in place of it. So do a sitting session as usual and if I feel like it add (separate session) a 'different' meditation like viewing a candle or whatever including music.

    lobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I don't use music myself. I find it a distraction. Similar to my running. I never wear headphones. I have tried for times i have to run roads, as I do not like road running at all and it feels like a chore. But then I am out of touch. I am distracted from my breath, from the sounds of my feet, from the wind in the trees, from the singing birds. I usually run trails, and it is very much a form of meditation for me. But music takes away all those benefits for me because then I am using it as a way to not experience what I am experiencing. To pretend I am not dealing with negative thoughts about road running, to pretend I am not running but instead going through the motions while lost in music. For the same reasons it doesn't work for me in meditation. I am not trying to distract my mind in meditation.

    But I do love music and I listen to it often. It can have some wonderful effects on us. But for me when I listen to music, it has to be about listening to the music. Not using it to distract me from something else I am doing.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I rather like @Jeffrey example of an 'extra practice'.

    Music can change your mood. Here is one I created earlier ...

    ahbaya
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Even though @genkaku is right, led meditation, trance inducing relaxation, music to mellow in etc has loosening/relaxing effects that can facilitate and encourage or even initiate our cushion time and beyond ...

    THIS _ /\ _

  • Tara1978Tara1978 UK Veteran

    I meet regularly with a group of spiritual friends where we chat, swap ideas, drink tea and eat cake, oh and meditate! We take it in turns to introduce a practice and usually it is some kind of new age healing with constant verbal guidance, visualisations and music, nice and relaxing but nothing deep. This week I introduced Metta Bhavana and it was a real eye opener to hear the comments after - what do you do in the quiet bits being the main one, however they did all report a sense of calm which lasted the rest of the day and although they where somewhat puzzled by "quiet meditation" did in the end experience something worth while. We talked after about the monkey mind and how regular practice is essential, I hope that in time they come to realise how much more powerful this is than the new age stuff, pop on a CD and chill out kind of thing.

    lobsterkarasti
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    My mom drives 2 hours (each way) to see a crystal energy healer because meditation is too difficult and too time consuming...Sigh. I think she likes the interaction. I took her to our sangha's Sunday meditation but it wasn't for sure. Different strokes, I guess. I have never been after temporary fixes, especially ones that require me to go see someone else, pay them lots of money, and then have to keep going back. I prefer just to take care of things myself. I think most things we can do ourselves and don't have to pay others to do to/for us. With exceptions obviously for things like surgery, lol.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Tara1978 said:
    I meet regularly with a group of spiritual friends where we chat, swap ideas, drink tea and eat cake, oh and meditate!

    My sort of sangha ;)

    I hope that in time they come to realise how much more powerful this is than the new age stuff, pop on a CD and chill out kind of thing.

    Understood.

    However even though I feel we can justly be proud of our Buddhist 'hardcore' meditations and powerful practices ... I would also much to my increasing surprise, defend the New Agers.
    I think of them as 'Dharma Soft'. Sort of a well meaning mishmash of marshmallow sweetness and well intended positivity.

    As a hard core seeker and finder, I welcome even pseudo practitioners as potential stream entrants. Sometimes we dip a toe and mistake it for swimming ... Sounds judgemental? You bet. I do that kind of wrathful stuff too ... [naughty corner here I come ...] O.o

    Tara1978
  • Tara1978Tara1978 UK Veteran

    @lobster

    However even though I feel we can justly be proud of our Buddhist 'hardcore' meditations and powerful practices ... I would also much to my increasing surprise, defend the New Agers.
    I think of them as 'Dharma Soft'. Sort of a well meaning mishmash of marshmallow sweetness and well intended positivity.

    As a hard core seeker and finder, I welcome even pseudo practitioners as potential stream entrants. Sometimes we dip a toe and mistake it for swimming ... Sounds judgemental? You bet. I do that kind of wrathful stuff too ... [naughty corner here I come ...] O.o

    I agree, we all start somewhere, nothing wrong with cream cakes and floaty music :) That's how I started out and then got curious.

  • losingthemindlosingthemind Little Rock, AR New

    Good day to everyone...as some others have said, I use music sometimes in addition to regular sitting meditation. It does, however, seem to become more and more valuable to just be in silence and observe the endless dance of thought and sound.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited May 2016

    @losingthemind Hello B)

    On Saturday I went shopping with relatives. Shopping is now an opportunity for customers to be lulled into a consumerist receptive muzak trance. Luckily they were content with me going to sit by a nearby river, whilst they browsed in a relaxed atmosphere of tempting sense traps.

    Zen in the art of shopping ... coming soon no doubt ...

    I too feel a movement towards quietism and observing as sufficient.

    losingthemind
  • ahbayaahbaya ireland New

    Really interesting I have been using guided meditations to begin with but now I feel that silence is better for me I am more aware of sounds and feelings. But, I do like to listen to meditation tracks before I sit it calms the mind for me, but it is a distraction when sitting.

    lobster
  • spencerstonespencerstone Eastern Mind stuck in the Western World Veteran

    Even as a new Buddhist, I have always found it helpful to meditate to music.

    If anyone is interested, here is my absolute favorite music to listen to while meditating, unlike any Marley you've ever heard before!

    Kerome
  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    @Mingle said:

    Thoughts?

    I love the recordings by Deva Premal. Her Moola Mantra is Hypnotic in its own way. Haven't sat to them yet, though, oddly enough, as I think that's what they are for. Often I'm stuck with a one liner from a pop song rolling around my brain, so in that case I really appreciate the use of a windy outside space, water falling noises (rain, shower nozzle, fountain, etc.) crickets, etc. They are their own kind of music.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @spencerstone said:
    Even as a new Buddhist, I have always found it helpful to meditate to music.

    If anyone is interested, here is my absolute favorite music to listen to while meditating, unlike any Marley you've ever heard before!

    That's funny, I've had some really interesting experiences meditating to Bob Marley (and that's without any herbal aids). It's something about the slow rhythm, the words that he uses.

    I like this concert, it's complete on YouTube...

  • I don't think there is any problem at all with meditating to music, as long as you don't have to meditate to music. Sometimes I will just start with some calming music or short guided meditation to get myself into a more receptive condition. Kind of like pre meditation yoga.

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