Meditation is becoming more popular as people from all walks of life discover its many benefits.
Therapists recommend meditation to patients struggling with anxiety and depression.
Business leaders meditate to improve mental discipline and focus. And for many people meditation is a spiritual practice through which they strive to reach higher states of consciousness.
Whatever your reason for meditating, there are many different ways to do it. While silent meditation is popular, listening to music can also be helpful during meditation.
Here are the five best kinds of music to listen to during meditation. Read on to learn about the benefits of each, as well as specific artists to check out.
1. Ambient Noise
Familiar sounds from nature make a great backdrop to your meditation practice. Listening to rain falling, ocean waves crashing on shore, or birds singing to one another is naturally relaxing. Furthermore, it was normal to meditate outside in the Buddha’s day, and many people still practice outdoors today.
Ambient noise may be the best choice if you don’t want to meditate in silence but would get distracted listening to your favorite music. Better yet, meditating with sounds from the natural world connects you to the practice’s ancient beginnings and fulfills the need all humans have to connect with nature.
2. Ambient Music
Ambient music can also help you relax as you meditate. It’s entirely instrumental, so there are no lyrics that could potentially trigger thoughts and memories. There’s also no beat, which gives the music a timeless quality similar to the state-of-mind you’re trying to achieve in meditation.
3. World Music
While many ambient music albums are produced specifically for meditation, some people may find world music more authentic-sounding and appealing for meditation. World music comes from different cultures around the world and can be just as relaxing as ambient music.
4. Alternative/Indie Music
Although some people might cringe at the thought of meditating while listening to bands like The National, Arcade Fire or Mumford and Sons, there’s no rule that says you can’t. Mantra chanting and attention to breath are popular forms of meditation. And it’s true: they don’t lend themselves well to music. But you can also practice mindfulness as you meditate, and your favorite indie bands are a great backdrop for that.
Mindfulness meditation is about being present for whatever’s happening internally and around you.
Instead of trying to relax or reach a higher state of consciousness, you simply notice your thoughts and feelings, as well as the noises in your environment.
If you meditate mindfully while listening to music, you may find you enjoy your favorite songs even more. And you’ll have the chance to discover any associations, thoughts or feelings that the music triggers. Try Spotify or Pandora for an easy way to listen to your favorite bands and discover similar artists.
5. Binaural Beats
Grab your headphones and take your meditation practice to new heights with binaural beats. They work by playing different auditory frequencies in each ear to produce certain rhythms and states of consciousness in the brain. You can listen to music with embedded binaural beats to enhance relaxation and other benefits of meditation.
If you try these five types of music as you meditate and none seem like the best fit, you may want to try meditating in silence. There are many benefits of silent meditation, including the ability to focus on your breath and avoid using a crutch like music to reach a more relaxed state.
Silent meditation is also very portable, so you can do it easily while you travel, or even in the middle of your workday. Just set your phone’s timer to five or ten minutes, close your eyes, focus on breathing, and acknowledge any thoughts that come up without judgment. Just release them to float away like clouds. The bottom line with meditation is to find what works for you.
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