BY- SAMAIRA GULERIA
When it comes to music and meditation, youth tend to believe that—first, you cannot meditate while listening to music, and second, you can be mindful only with relaxing music. Is this true?
The first statement isn’t true. Music helps to balance our chakras. There are seven chakras, or energy centers, in our body. Every chakra has a corresponding sound that activates it and leads us to meditation. When we are extremely low on energy, dance music (music that one can dance on) encourages the movement of prana (energy) upwards within the system, which gives us a “clean” high.The second statement isn’t true either. Every individual is different. Each is in a different state of mind at a particular point in time. One will have to experiment with it and see what works for them. It is subjective to the situation, the person involved, and the state of the singer. In my opinion, there is no hard-and-fast rule for it. Also, it is not an intellectual exercise, it is an experience. You cannot be rigid that only a particular type of meditation will always work, as each person is in a different space. Different types of music appeal to different people. That is why we have to have an open-minded approach towards it.
MY JOURNEY OF MEDITATION
My meditation journey started three years ago. I was in class 6 and studied in Carmel convent school, Chandigarh.
My plan was to sit and meditate for hours on end, to become enlightened. What a naïve ambition that was! As a consequence, I never ended up sticking with my meditation practice. I would have great weeks, with perceived breakthroughs, and then I’d miss a few days or weeks… and then I was back to square one.I did learn a lot and I believe I did benefit from my stop-start practice. But I never felt comfortable that I was getting the most I could from meditation.
This all changed when I came across an article detailing a study by Zoran Josipovic of New York University. The study examined how meditation altered our brain waves, and could subsequently influence our immediate mental states and behaviors. What if I’d got it all wrong? Maybe I should lower my expectations, and commit to a realistic and consistent practice. Maybe I could reap some more immediate and tangible benefits before worrying about enlightenment!
So, that’s exactly what I did. At the beginning of 2017, I made a commitment to meditate for a minimum of fifteen minutes every day to see where it would take me. I achieved my goal, and continue to meditate daily. It’s just become a regular part of my life. My practice involves simple breath awareness meditation, ending with brief loving-kindness meditation. I’ll usually do one session in the morning, and one in the evening. The results have been incredible. Here are the key things I learned from my experience.
Increased Emotional Health and Wellbeing
I feel much more connected to the world, and to other people. I’m less angry, less competitive, and kinder and more loving to my family, friends, and people I meet in day to day life. I have learned to see that we’re all on the same path with similar challenges. We work far better together, as opposed to buffeting against one another. Coming from a place of love and support, I have felt much better equipped to help both myself and others. And I have noticed that I have become much more approachable.
I believe the loving-kindness aspect of my practice has played a big role here. There are several studies support the supposition that loving meditation can induce positive thinking and optimism and reduce anger compassion for myself and others. Studies also show that like many things in life the more effort you put in, the more you get out, and that these benefits consistently accumulate over time. Just taking a few moments each day to focus on love and compassion for yourself and others is a big deal.
Improved Self-Awareness and Mindfulness
This leads to my next point. In the modern world, we are constantly hit with a never-ending stream of stimuli. We hardly ever have a moment to stop and think. We are conditioned to look to the future. We bounce from one thing to the next, chasing dreams that are just around the corner. And so we should. But, it is important to stay mindful of the present. Really that is all we have, and the journey is arguably more important than the destination.
Stopping to meditate and exist in the present daily really helps you connect to the present. On a moment to moment basis, I now feel much more self-aware of both my thoughts and my actions. I am far more capable of embracing, enjoying, and remaining grateful for each and every moment I experience.
A number of the studies already cited allude to some of the benefits of generating improved self-awareness and mindfulness. There are also specific studies showing how increased present moment awareness can deliver a range of benefits, including; subjective well-being, mental and emotional health, improved behavioral regulation, and more constructive thought patterns.
Positive Feedback and Improved Quality of Life
Obviously, I’m excited about the improvements I’ve made in my life, and clearly, I believe that meditation has played a major role in that. I have tried to be objective and share the research and studies underpinning some of my opinions. You could potentially argue that has created a placebo effect, or that this is all very subjective. I will leave it up to you to experiment yourself and draw your own conclusions.
What I can say, is that I have received a lot of positive feedback from other people. Those close to me have said that I’ve become much warmer, more open and more approachable, and much less aggressive, and competitive. This has also reflected in the wider friendship groups I have recently developed over the last year or so. I seem to find it easier to speak and connect with people, and they to me. Not that I was a horrible person before (I think), but I’ve made improvements.
I’m also in the best shape of my life, and meditation has definitely played a role in that. Keeping me focused and mindful of what I’m doing and helping me build great habits around things such as nutrition, exercise, and sleep.
I’m not putting this all of this down to meditation. However, I would say that it’s the solid rock on which I have built a foundation to build and excel across these other areas of my life. Many of you are probably reading this as you already have a regular meditation practice. Others may be new to meditation or just have a passing interest. Whatever your situation, I hope I have given you a few interesting insights into the benefits of meditation that you may not have considered. I’d love to get an insight into your experiences.
HOW TO INTEGRATE MUSIC ?
- Select the right music for you.
- Use the music as a way to center your thoughts
- Identify how the music makes you feel
- Focus on your breathing.
Meditation is a simple strategy that can help obtain better health and happier life. It takes time to master, as does any other skill. If a person sticks with it and is willing to experiment with the different methods, they are more likely to discover a meditation style that suits them.