I love listening to music, but not during my meditation practice. This is one of those areas that there are many different opinions about. I often get asked, “should I meditate with or without music?”
I recently completed the Deepak/Oprah 21 day meditation experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the message before and after the meditation. I found, however, that the actual meditation time was distracting as I attempted to focus on the mantra while background music was playing.
Whenever you’re focusing on more than one thing at a time ie. music and a mantra or music and the breath, you are in a sense multi-tasking. Multi-tasking has been found to be detrimental to the nervous system and our health, which defeats the whole point of meditation.
Some people like to listen to meditative music or chants as a way to create a sense of peace or calm either before or after the meditation practice. It is not, however, recommended to listen to music while attempting to do a “silent” meditation practice. The whole point of a silent practice is to turn your attention inward and minimize distractions, which music can be. In these instances, music may be considered a crutch, which hinders our practice and ability to sit with ourselves in silence.
Having said all that, I am definitely a shades of gray kind of girl. If listening to music enables someone to actually commit to a time of minimal distractions and a more peaceful state, then go for it! I would suggest to try and have a period of silence at some point during the practice and you may find that over time you can increase the time in silence and actually receive the most benefit from it.
If you decide that you really enjoy the meditative music, then make it the focus of your meditation. When your mind wanders bring it back to the music. Limit all other distractions and don’t attempt to do anything else while you’re listening. Play music that is calming and not stimulating.
The type of meditation that I am certified to teach is called the SEED (Simple, Easy, Every Day) Meditation Method. This practice is a silent practice which consists of turning your attention inward. There is no music… only you, your mind and the focus of your meditation. It’s simple to do and once you commit to a regular practice you will notice the benefits in so many areas of your life.
While I weigh in on the side of meditation without music, I would love to hear from you about your experiences. Do you like to meditate with or without music?