Music and meditation

Music is arguably one of man’s greatest inventions. It can invoke many emotions and stimulate many different kinds of moods. When you think about a serene atmosphere, is there music playing? It’s very common in places such as yoga studios intended to calm one’s mind. However, in certain types of meditation, should music be part of your practice, or does it interrupt your concentration?

Meditation versus relaxation

Meditation and relaxation may look the same on the surface, but they have very different goals. However, when one thinks of music playing in the background of a meditation session, that’s usually because its being confused with relaxation. The exception to that is if the meditator is practicing nondirective meditation, a subtype of meditation where the participant uses soothing sounds or music to help them meditate. However, another type of meditation, concentrative meditation, strictly forbids this, and the meditator only uses the sounds of his or her own breath to enter a meditative state.

Indeed, there are many sides to listening to music while meditating. Be warned, many experienced in the practice will tell you that music, by nature, produces emotion, dampening the effect of meditation by taking away from your concentration.

As opposed to music, one may try an assortment of relaxing but ambient sounds: a running brook, a forest or myriad other ambient sounds that can soothe and deepen meditation.

When was the last time you truly experienced silence? In this day and age, we have sounds all around us – at this moment, I can hear my dishwasher, dryer, neighbor kids playing and a dog barking. All of these sounds are drowned out as I type, but could distract from a successful meditation. Since the point of meditating is to concentrate on one’s self to reach a deeper relaxation and focus, I, for one, prefer to get away from the constant noise pollution that assaults me constantly.