Hospitals around the world are seeing the value of music therapy, and are implementing programs for patients. Whilst I was an in-patient at Sloan Kettering, I found the music therapy program incredibly helpful. I was very fortunate to have a wonderful music therapist who played the harp. When I was feeling too sick to even lift my head, my therapist would play her harp quietly. It always lifted my mood, and helped me to sleep deeply.
Medical research has shown that listening to soft, classical music can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, relieve pain, and slow the heart rate. Meditating with music assists in creating a meditative state. It provides an outer point of focus, helping you stay in the present moment. It's also another way of measuring the length of your meditation without having to use an alarm or timer.
Below are some of my favorite pieces to meditate with. When I'm feeling particularly stressed or on days where I don’t “feel like” meditating, these pieces help me focus and meditate anyway. When I first started meditating, music also helped me meditate for longer periods of time.
Select a piece of music. Press play. Sit or lie in a comfortable position. If you choose to lie down, have the intention to remain awake. Gently close your eyes. Breathe in. As you breathe out, allow your jaw and shoulders to soften. As you breathe engage your diaphragm. Gently push it out as you breathe in, and let it soften as you breathe out. Continue to breathe as you listen to the music. Be aware of your mind as it wanders. Notice any thoughts, memories, or feelings that arise. Acknowledge their presence, and return your focus to the music. When the music is complete, give yourself a moment to become aware of the sounds around you. Gently wriggle your fingers and toes. Roll your shoulders back. And gently open your eyes.
I would love to hear about your experiences meditating with music. Share your thoughts and favorite pieces in the comments!