Today I would like to share a mindfulness practice using music, which I have been offering as part of teaching mindfulness, as well as using for myself from time to time. I call it Mindful Music Listening, and people have described it as very calming. The invitation is to choose a piece of music which you find to be particularly relaxing. You may have some music like this which you enjoy, or you could use one from my Spotify playlist called Mindful Music Listening. We all have different experiences of what makes music relaxing for us, but generally speaking it might be music which is slow and even, with not too much contrast in volume, and stepwise rather than jagged melodies.
I have recorded a guided meditation introduction which you can access here.
Find a place where you can be comfortable, and where you will not be disturbed. It’s very important not to do this practice while driving or otherwise needing to be fully alert.
You can sit upright in a meditation posture, or recline in an armchair, or lie on the floor. You might find it helpful to use headphones for this practice as it makes the experience more immersive. Sometimes people also like to cover their eyes with an eye mask or soft cloth, or at least turn the light down to low. Lighting a candle or some incense can also help to create a relaxing atmosphere.
There are a number of different ways of using music during meditation, and you may like to explore a few of these. You can use the guided meditation induction and listening to the piece of music as the whole of your meditation, or you might like to include the music as part of a longer meditation practice. For example, the music might be helpful near the beginning of the meditation session, to assist you with relaxing more deeply into the meditation. Another option would be to meditate for about twenty minutes or so first, and then introduce the music as a way of listening very deeply. You can play the piece of music several times and choose a different focus each time – perhaps the emotion of the piece one time, the melody another time, the accompaniment next time, picking out one particular instrument, hearing the piece as a whole, and so on.
When the meditation has finished, it’s really nice to savour the silence for a while before opening the eyes and coming back to normal consciousness.
If you have time, processing the experience through doing a drawing, journaling, or going for a short walk in nature can all help to deepen the benefits of the practice.
I hope you enjoy this experience of mindful music listening, and would love to hear how you found it!