View Full Version : Music and Meditation

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08-24-2004, 08:14 PM
Is true meditation supposed to be done without external noise? I've found that listening to Enigma 3, "Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi" during meditation really helps. This is my favorite album and I find it aids contemplation and meditation. Has anyone heard this album?


L. Camejo
08-24-2004, 08:22 PM
Personally I like "Return to Innocence" for that purpose.:) But then again I can meditate to almost any type of music, as long as there is a constant rhythm in the background I can follow subconsciously. What distracts me is sudden background noise that breaks the white noise:p.

Never heard that particular album though.

09-22-2004, 06:44 AM
I haven't heard that piece Drew.

I sometimes listen to Shostakovich's 5th Symphony when trying to meditate.

It's hard though living in a noisy city environment. My street is never quiet, and neighbours slamming doors doesn't help either. Ideally, I feel that to meditate properly you need to be in more peaceful surroundings. As you say Larry, a sudden noise can easily break the mood. That's why I hope to move up to the Scottish Highlands sometime, for some real peace.

I tend to listen to relaxing music through headphones late at night - that sometimes helps me to drift off.

Iain. :ki: :)

09-22-2004, 05:20 PM
the city is an ideal place to meditate. meditation is not about Shutting it Out it is about Letting It Be.Use the noise instead of trying to run away from it. I bet you don't even notice it except when you're trying to Not Hear it.

09-22-2004, 07:20 PM
I am very disturbed by noise. I now wear ear plugs all the time. Doors being slammed is the worst. I'm housebound, so I notice all these things more.


09-22-2004, 10:08 PM
Damn, i thought i was the only one who listened to enigma = P

Principles of Lust is my favorite, but you have to listen to the whole 11 minute long version.

09-23-2004, 01:32 AM
It depends on what we're defining as true meditation. Also meditation and contemplation are considered, at least in most traditions, to be very, very different.

But anyways, here's my answer:
No, I wouldn't listen to music while meditating. While Jo gives good advice in saying you shouldn't run away from noises or other external stimulai, you shouldn't try to create more for yourself. Also remember just because it might make your meditation easier or more pleasing doesn't make it a great thing. I can go to the gym and lift less weight than usual and it will certainly be easier and more enjoyable, but I don't stand to improve much.

All that being said, I would suggest listening to your favorite music directly after a silent meditation. Just as food tastes better and colors seem brighter after meditation, music will be more uplifting. You might also find making music (chanting for example), instead of just listening, to be satisfying before or after meditation.

09-23-2004, 10:55 AM
I once spent seven days on silent retreat in a Catholic convent. Oh, nice & peaceful you would think.Seven days and nights of sheep.Sheep are very,very loud.

It was a great retreat.

Try sitting in a nice Buddhist meditation hall and have the janitor come in.

Trust me, you can meditate in complete silence and comfort and you will still find something to complain about.

Dustin Saint-John
09-28-2004, 09:08 PM
When I meditat which can hardly be done because i have to many brothers but any ways. i listen to chamber music for china or from Japan.

Dustin :ki:

09-29-2004, 07:08 AM
I think when it comes to meditation music, and falling asleep are frowned upon ^_^

I'm not sure but I think i read that somewhere...I've fell asleep before (I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep...I suppose now that I look back meditation was a bad idea, because I started and then woke up a while later >.<)

I think part of meditation also involes the noises around you. While you're not supposed to concentrate on them, you should let them come and go, as your thoughts. Not sure about that though.

Anat Amitay
09-29-2004, 02:47 PM
I like enigma too, but when trying to meditate I like certain classis music or parts like "celtic music- the bard and the warrior".
I don't think I ever really managed to meditate, only relax, but I'm working on it.
BTW, Jo, I loved the part with the sheep!
Actually, when I was on a trip in Scotland, I spent a night on top of a mountain, in a barn that was converted to a bunk house and all the fields around had scattered sheep which gave a very peaceful surrounding.
Well, good luck with the meditation!

Anders Bjonback
10-11-2004, 09:54 PM
I don't really see how music could help me in meditation. I also don't like much outside noise--people talking, etc. I find my attention going away from its main focus (the breath) towards music, or whatever it is that's going on.
I find music helpful sometimes when studying because it helps drown out noise from my roommates, and some songs create a calm atmosphere. I like this one song, "Compassion in Exile" by Philip Glass, and sometimes play it when I study for hours at a time. But when meditating, I think music would distract from it because I would want to listen to it rather than meditate.
It could be argued that the music could be made the object of meditation. But I think that's besides the point because at least for me meditation shouldn't be a form of ammusement or distraction. Sure, when watching TV or listening to music, your entire attention can be wrapped up in it. But for me that's a method of distraciton rather than meditation. When doing a contemplative or reflective type of meditation, I think that listening to music would also be a distraction.
Once instance I can think of where music might be helpful would be when visualizing things and reciting mantras and stuff like that. I've found when doing chanting practices, doing it with a group of people, maybe sometimes having Tibetan instruments added to it, really transforms the atmosphere and makes the practice more powerful. But that's a different type of meditation practice.

Caitlyn Raggio
10-20-2004, 10:56 PM
This is a bit tangential to the original aim of the thread, but I have found that while playing music I can meditate or go into a meditative sort of state. I play the hammered dulcimer (sounds like a cross between a harp or harpsichord if one had to define it), and I have noticed--after the fact-- that I have gone into 'trances' while playing a particular piece. When trying to duplicate it, I realized that what I do when I play well is very similar to what I do before I meditate (or before I do aikido): relax, center, and focus on the music. Become 'one' with the music (I'm cringing about the wording there, but that's how it is). Just like in meditation, as I practice it: relax, center, focus on...whatever.
I also seem to play better when I do this. During one of my 'trances', I played a very beautiful but fairly complex piece for 40 minutes straight, and did so without error (according to my roommate, who is familiar with the piece and would have noticed if I had screwed up--I was so wrapped up in simply playing and the music I was creating that I don't know if I would have noticed any mistakes). Maybe it is the centering that does this?
Anyways, sorry to ramble! The thread reminded me of that. I suppose it's analogous to what athletes achieve when they are "in the zone". Can anyone else relate to this?

PS--I personally have a CD of a rainstorm that i sometimes listen to when I meditate. Also, a CD by a wonderful harpist named Therese Schroeder-Sheker. :)