I had a roommate who was learning the guitar. He was overly apologetic about all the noise and made efforts to not practice anytime I could be disturbed. But I loved it. His soft, repetitive strum of acoustic strings was soothing and the perfect sort of light background music. I meditate frequently and it wasn’t long before one of my meditations and one of his practice sessions coincided—harmony.
In my opinion, meditation is about submission. It’s about letting go. I’ve become used to meditating to a metronome or a fading gong, but there was something newly challenging about meditating to music I had no control over. It was powerful.
Many people practice with music and, of course, I dream of an in-house meditation studio with luxury mats, a gurgling fountain, a customer home theater system to play meditation music and soft, ambient light. While my personal studio may never happen, music is the next best way to create a perfect environment for meditation. In the meantime my roommate’s guitar music drifting through apartment was enough.
Now, I have well-worn CDs of rainstorms and Japanese flutes that make a great background for meditation, but practicing with live music is different. Before long you get used to your recorded music and know what is coming up next. With live music it is less predictable. Meditation is all about letting go of control. Live meditation music adds another element of surrender.
Using live music to accompany meditation is not a widespread practice. Not because of unpopularity–I’m sure many more people would adapt the practice if they could. But to do it you need a musician. This artist seamlessly integrates his music into meditation sessions. The experience is similar to what happens when a group gathering has each member hold a tone. The individual hums collect into an emotional harmony. One person cannot control the sound beyond himself or herself.
Dave Antonio uses a didgeridoo, which sends out high vibrations. This makes the experience of the sound physical as well as aural. He navigates the room of meditation with his didgeridoo resting on the floor. The vibrations from the instrument increase as Antonio gets closer. The participants feel the pulses intensify and yield but are never touched directly by the instrument.
I think it’s important to experiment in meditation. What works for someone will not always work for another. Things that assisted me let go at one point in my life may no longer channel that release. But I think music is a fantastic way to encourage and structure your meditations. Recorded music quickly creates a relaxing and harmonious environment while live music provides are extra element of surrender that can really help one slip away. No matter the type of music, vibrations of sounds can easily help you channel the vibrations of the universe.