A quick search online shows many diverse answers to the question is it Better to Meditate With Music or Without?
The ‘for and against’ reasons only serve to highlight the different reasons why people are engaging in a meditation practice to begin with.
And this means that we are left to come up with an answer that is specific to our personalities and what we are desiring to achieve from our meditation practice.
So, let’s get to the important stuff to see if we can discover what will work best for you.
Is It Better To Meditate With Music Or Without?
Because we are individuals, it comes down to personal preference. And, since we are emotional beings, what suits us one day may not necessarily suit us the next. Whether we meditate with music or without is not what’s important. Meditation has so many benefits that we should find whatever way suits us to ensure we keep practicing. And each day, and throughout the years our situation, ability, and desires will change, and our practice should adapt accordingly.
Why Using Music To Meditate Is Ok
Music is used in many different forms of ancient and modern therapy. And depending on the quality of our nervous system and the type of sounds we listen to, it will either be beneficial or have a detrimental effect on our state of being.
– Music is proven to be able to release stress, change our moods and behaviors, enhance focus, and heal us from our emotional wounds. It helps us settle down into a relaxed state.
– Many people, who don’t meditate with music, may still use relaxing music as a precursor to their mediation to set them up in the ‘proper mood.’ The proper music will balance your moods, promote deep relaxation, improve concentration, reduce stress, and can be inspiring.
– Focusing on sound is a valid form of meditation in its own right. Nada Yoga is an ancient Indian metaphysical system, philosophical system, medicine, and a form of yoga that is formed around sound.
According to Wikipedia: Those who teach Nada yoga maintain that “Silent vibrations of the self (Anahata) and sound and music (Ahata) are considered to play a potential medium/intermediary role to achieve a deeper unity with both the outer and inner cosmos.”
– Those who regularly use Sanskrit chants during meditation, according to a study done at Spain’s Basque Centre, had on average over ten percent more grey matter in their brains. They also had substantial increases in cortical thickness compared to those who didn’t chant.
When Using Music To Meditate Is Not Ok
Many people and traditions believe music is a distraction from the ‘real purpose’ of meditating.
– Some say it distracts us from coming to know our bodies and minds as we are incapable of multitasking and focusing on both.
They believe that even if we are not focusing on the music specifically, our subconscious minds are still aware of it. And this awareness can evoke memories and associations in our minds that prevent us from meditating effectively.
– Others claim that using music is like having a crutch to lean on and as such will hinder our practice rather than enhance it. Their theory is that if we are unable to sit in silence with ourselves, then we will never find inner peace.
They propose that the best way to become comfortable with the silence within is to first become comfortable with the silence surrounding us.
– And still, others believe that unless your mind is already strong, having music playing while meditating will turn into ‘just listening to music.’ And while this may be fun and relaxing, unless it is ‘mindfulness-based meditation’ it isn’t really meditation.
YOUR Answer Depends On Why YOU Are Meditating?
We meditate for different reasons. Some people simply want some relief from a busy schedule while others wish to attain enlightenment.
– Many people in the Western world fall under the first category. They mostly meditate for relaxation, and because of this, the type of music used depends on your personal preferences.
There is a huge selection of styles to choose from including instrumental music, religious hymns, new age music, etc.
Nature sounds are very popular as they evoke a sense of peace, security, and tranquility within us. They include sounds of flowing water, wind rustling through leaves, falling rain, waves on the beach, bird songs, etc.
– Meditation, as used in spiritual traditions, or for attaining altered/heightened states is a whole different ball game. The reasons for meditating include attaining inner peace, achieving clarity of thinking, improving cognitive abilities, and the ever-elusive ‘enlightenment.’
The end goal is to transcend the ‘monkey mind’ to ultimately come to ‘know thyself’ in all your spiritual glory.
Some of these traditions promote the use of sound as an important springboard to launch the practitioners into ‘higher’ states of awareness. It is here that they believe they can gain deeper spiritual insights greater wisdom and an end to suffering.
I Believe Most Of Us Want The Relaxation AND The Inner Peace.
Sometimes, we just need to relax, and at other times we yearn for a greater understanding of ourselves, our world, and our place in it. Our spirit may be calling us to connect more deeply with our essential divine nature.
To come to realize OUR SELF and our place in this creation, we need to go deep into the vast silent space that resides within. And music is a tool that can enhance our meditation and help us to get there.
Beneficial forms of music that can take us deeper into meditation traditionally include Indian classical music, Sanskrit chants, sacred mantras, kirtan, Gregorian chanting, and rhythmic drumming.
More recently, Brainwave Entrainment Technologies have made it possible for many people to reach deeper states of meditation more quickly than ever before.
So instead of training in traditional methods, which can take tens of years or a lifetime, students can now use the science of brainwave entrainment to meditate like an experienced monk, maybe even during their first attempt!
These technologies include binaural beats, isotones, solfeggio frequencies, and subliminal messaging.
Check out my reviews of some of the best ‘make mediation easy systems available.’
So Is It Better For Us To Meditate With Music Or Without?
Our meditation practice is something that changes us. And as we change, the conditions with which we meditate can also change.
Initially, when I was beginning meditation, I preferred to have my space as silent as possible. This was because I didn’t want to be distracted by outside influences. I found the more I could deprive my senses of any external stimulation, the easier it was to slip into a meditative state.
This meant that I could focus on the initial goals of my practice. These were to become more aware of my breath, my body sensations, and the thoughts that were constantly floating through my mind.
As my practice evolved, I began incorporating different techniques to explore what my already developing mind could achieve.
So sometimes I would focus on the flame of a burning candle, the distant sounds outside of my room, or go deeper with the sound and movement of my breath.
All the tools I have used and continue to use are to expand my awareness of myself, to help me to come to know myself better… and with this goal in mind, how can any practice we undertake be wrong?
When people are against this or that, including using music in meditation, they are in a way against the very reason we as spiritual beings descended into this physical reality to experience ‘life on earth’ and all the diversity that it contains.
We are here, not to quickly achieve enlightenment so we can escape our ‘suffering,’ and live out our day in bliss…..
….. we are here to experience life in all its aspects, just as it is, without judgment…..
And as such, we would never need to ask whether it is best to meditate with music or without…. because we know that ultimately the meditative state is an internal state of being and is achievable regardless of what conditions are present in the world around us.
Do we all like the same foods, brush our teeth the same way, have the same thoughts, do the same job….. no, of course not. We are all different in so many aspects of our lives.
Your way will reveal itself to you when you are ready….. and until then, experiment a little and try different things until you come across something you are comfortable with.
With music or without music….. it doesn’t matter! What is it you wish to experience today?
However, even if you do meditate with music, you will still eventually want to be able to get to a place where you become aware of your own inner sound….
And this will happen as you more practice. Because, as we lose ourselves in the process of meditation, we stop registering all external stimuli altogether. And then we are left with our own unique sound from within…..and after this, there is just the silence…….
However, until then, you should just do whatever you need to do to encourage and supports yourself in maintaining your practice……
And you’re the best person to figure out how to do that!