Does Music help with meditation?

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Music is a part of everybody’s life. I listen to music when I wake up. I open my itunes and listen to pump-up songs that help me get ready for my day. There is nothing more compelling than listening to the nice rhythm that powers your heart and soul.

Recently I have come across many musical mp3′s that enhance one’s meditation. On ocassion I have listened to the songs and found myself in a peaceful state of mind. This peaceful state due to music is a very interesting as I always had thought Meditation was about breathing. Meditation should help you reach a deep inner state of mind where you can be present in the moment. In contrast music stirs many emotions. A song that contains lyrics soon become our thoughts because we remember the lyrics and repeat them. So when one listens to music, the rhythm and beats get latched onto the inner thoughts of the mind. As one is meditating the mind shifts from awareness of surroundings to the gentle rhytm of the music. There is an interesting fact about the relation of music and brain waves.

As I started to investigate further into which music is best with meditation I came across brain waves. There are 5 brain waves that have different frequencies and effects on mental state. There is Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta waves. Each wave will produce a different effect on the brain thus resulting in different actions/feelings/emotions. For example, Alpha and Theta waves are related to relaxation and meditation whereas Beta waves and Gamma waves related to higher mental activity. This rhythm is called Binaural Beats and was discovered in 1839. The binaural beats became of sudden interest because now there was an “fast” way to get immediate relaxation. Well I soon realized there is “fast” way.

I started listening to different meditation music and had surrounded myself with different types of audio. But after a while I different feelings started to arise. I would find myself entrapped in thoughts because of the music. I tried to focus back on my breath (sensations of inhalation and exhalation) and try to match a rhytm to it but my mind would leap away to the music. This really started to bother me because I thought the music should enhance my meditation experience as it instils peace in me. The challenge I found was trying to not get lost into the music but rather use it as a tool of awareness. For example, when I listen to different meditation music, I now chant “My ears are listening to the rhythm. The rhythm is traveling to my ears and then getting processed in my mind.”. This techniques helps me become aware of my body.

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