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Meditation and Music

Music and MeditationMusic has always been a connection between mind and heart since its inception.  Music can stir the soul in ways that other things cannot.  Listening to music while meditation is no different.  When we listen to music we are transported to another dimension, a connection between our heart and our consciousness. The experiences of “rapture” (the Buddhist technical term is “priti”) that you receive from listening to music opened my eyes to the fact that music can help transfer yourself to a new level of enlightenment.

Traditionally, the idea of listening to music while meditating would be completely out of the question. In no Buddhist lineage is there any kind of mention about music being a part mindful meditation. This is more of a modern notion probably in part by the onset of “meditation music” which is available in our modern world.  Traditionally there would simply be silence or ambient background noise to accompany meditation.

Although in some Buddhist practices, singing bowls are used as a signal to begin and end periods of silent meditation. Some practitioners use the singing bowl during chanting and meditation by striking it during a particular phrase in the process. Singing bowls are similarly used during chanting and may also mark the passage of time or signal a change in activity.  So, in some way, this could be considered as a part of music in the practice of meditation.

Meditation music is meant to be relaxing, and of course meditation does help you to relax but also assists us to be more alert and focused. It also helps us to reflect deeply into our soul. If we are trying to concentrate on our breathing, it becomes very hard to concentrate on the music too and visa versa.  But in it’s own right, listening to music can be meditative in itself!

If there is a place in meditation for music, it should be incorporated into your total mediation practices.  Listen while in the same posture and position as you do do your silent meditation, but only with the addition of the music.  Pay attention to the music as you would your breathing and concentrate to the positive reinforcement of the music.

There are many helpful websites that provide meditative music to be downloaded or streamed to your phone or device.  From classical music to nature sounds are available. More recently new age music called HemiSync has come onto the scenes and proven to be positive in the combination of medication and music.  This is called HemiSync.

HemiSync is a patented, laboratory tested and clinically proven audio meditation technology that works by sending slightly differing tones to each ear through a music device. The two hemispheres of the brain, left and right, then work in unison to create a third signal, the difference between the two tones. This is not an actual sound, but an electrical signal that exist only within the brain through the cooperation of both hemispheres.  Studies have shown that Zen Buddhist monks with decades of meditation experience and practice are able to achieve hemispheric synchronization for about 15 minutes at a time. Supposedly, with Hemi-Sync meditation anyone can attain hemispheric synchronization a lot faster and are able to hold the subsequent focused levels of consciousness for longer periods of time.  Go to; http://www.templemound.com/hemi-sync/hemi-sync.php for more information.

Personally, I believe there is a place for music in your meditation practices, after-all the purpose to meditation is to become more enlightened and more in tuned to your inner self and if music helps you to achieve that state of mind and energy, I am in total of support of the process. Just because silence was a part of the Buddha practice of meditation in the past, doesn’t mean that music cannot be a part of our meditative experience today!