Mindfulness, Meditation and Music

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Inner Journey
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Meditation is suggested as a key practice in spiritual development for many paths, and yet is an often overlooked technique. Despite becoming more accepted within society, for many people the word ‘Meditation’ still conjures images of sitting cross legged amidst trails of incense smoke, wearing flowers in ones hair and chanting Om blissfully. Certainly this is one image of meditation, but it is not the only one. Meditation is a broad and varied practice, involving concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself, in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth. Meditation is concentration, contemplation, reflection, focus and mindfulness.

Like any muscle, our mind needs periods of exercise and relaxation in order to work at its best. Overworking our mind or cluttering our thought processes on a continual basis without an opportunity to rest, negatively effects our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Taking just a few minutes a day to be mindful of ourselves and our well being can be very liberating and insightful, but you need not learn the lotus position to achieve this. In fact some of my favorite techniques for mindful meditation involve movement and music.

Tai Chi is a great example of mindful meditation using movement. Learning a form teaches us the very Zen practice of being in the present moment, with no distractions, no cluttered thought, just simple awareness of our own body at this moment in time. The conscious mind is given the rest is needs, the body is exercised, the energetic systems are revitalized and improved, and the subconscious mind focuses on each movement – the rhythm, flow, weight, balance.

Music is also a great technique, and no, it does not mean that you must listen to particular types of chanting, drumming, or sacred music. In fact, you can listen to any kind of music that you enjoy – although my preference is for instrumental music as I find lyrics to be distracting when I am practicing mindfulness. However, you may find that a bit of Metallica works well for you and if so, then rock on. Use the music to discover more about yourself, follow the impact of the music in your body, feel your emotional state, be aware and then let it go. Focus on the music itself, the swells of sound, the ebb and flow, the rhythm, the beat. Let all else fall away and just explore the music.

This following composition, Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell (more commonly known as Requiem for a Dream) is my soul deep connection to music as meditation. I hear this and my whole being reacts, my mind falls into the music, my body responds to the music, my heart beats with the music, my breath follows the music. When my mind is troubled, my heart heavy or my soul weary, I can play this composition and understand the truth of my situation and circumstances. This music allows me to be mindful of myself.

Take a few minutes a day to explore movement and music as meditation. Take a few minutes a day to be present and aware. Take a few minutes a day to be still and just breathe. Take a few minutes a day to be mindful of your mind.

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