What Music Matches Your Meditation Style?

by Simona Terron

The sound of music could be a soothing addition to your meditative practice. Whether you wish to relax or increase focus, your choice of music can enhance the process and help you achieve the goal more enjoyably. Read on to find out how to go about selecting music for different kinds of meditation.

How It Works
Our waking state involves the Beta waves, wherein the brain is most active (the activity level ranges from 12.5 to 30 hertz). Music therapy or sound healing moves the brain into deeper frequencies like Alpha (8 to 13 hertz) and Theta (4 to 7 hertz). These frequencies are associated with a state of relaxation, thus used to ease the mind during meditation. Some people pray or chant, while others listen to sounds such as whispering trees, sea waves, bells or crystal bowls. Some even listen to subtle sounds in their own bodies, such as the sound of the breath or the sound of the heartbeat. Here’s what you can pick:

1. Mantras
Whether you choose a religious mantra such as the Lord’s Prayer in the Christian tradition, or the holy name of God in Judaism, or the Om Mane Padme Hum mantra of Tibetan Buddhism, each one of them helps achieve the same thing—a state of mindfulness. Some meditations include repeating the name of a deity, saint, a quality to enliven in life, or a sacred phrase. Some mantra meditations use a Sanskrit syllable, words or phrases which, when repeated, will help to focus. These syllables are sometimes called bija sounds and include the word Om or Hum, which have no particular meaning but reflect the sounds of nature.
Meditation It Works With: Ideal for beginners and those who find it difficult to concentrate during meditation, mantras are best suited for Transcendental Meditation.

2. Tibetan Singing Bowls, Gongs, Crystal Bowls
These healing sounds are designed to restore the sense of inner peace and harmony. Used for thousands of years in Tibet and Nepal, they provide healing vibrations, which can loosen up blockages and release the tension built up in the body. The sound harmonies further create a sense of well-being by stimulating the relaxation reflex in the body, slowing down the listener’s breathing and heart rate.
Meditation It Works With: Soothing and grounding, these devices are best used for focused meditation.

3. Ambient Nature Sounds
There are few things as soothing as the sounds of nature, whether it is the gurgling of a stream going over rocks, the gentle pitter patter of raindrops, waves breaking on the shore, bird song or the wind in the trees. Being in natural surroundings is a type of meditation in itself, but if you do not have access to the outdoors, bring the outdoors inside by playing nature sounds while you meditate.
Meditation It Works With: This works with almost all kinds of meditation, especially mindfulness meditation.

4. Guided Instructions
Listening to a set of spoken instructions (usually recorded against a background of musical notes) can help the meditation practice. This sound may advise you to visualize a certain image such as a lotus in a calm pond, a dew drop poised on a leaf, or a cloud capped mountain, all in the pursuit of tranquility. The voice of the instructor is usually soothing, and the instructions are delivered in measured tones.
Meditation It Works With: This kind is good for movement oriented meditation such as walking meditation.

The music you choose is important, especially when you have committed yourself to the practice of healing and reflection. Select a piece that best suits your needs, and enjoy the process of traveling deeper into yourself.

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