View Full Version : Listening to music

7th June 2010, 09:44 AM
Recently I have become extremely disinclined to sit and do concentration exercises. I wanted to find out why, and I brought that into a reading I booked with Kurt and his non-physical teacher Charles.

The advice was remarkably simple. It was to seek relaxation. Enjoy nature, listen to music. Things that naturally relax me. Just be there when I do it.

One of the problems I have with concentration exercises is that I get extremely tense. Just having a structured exercise itself kind of makes me tense. It puts me in goal-oriented mode. Oppose that with the fact that almost all my mystical and special experiences happened either in states of relaxation or sometimes even exhaustion. Both put the thinking mind on the back burner.

It is funny - I bought a book on impulse some weeks ago. It's a series of Krishnamurti quotations about meditation. He basically never gives meditation instruction, he kind of always hints at what meditation is and is most definite about what he thinks isn't meditation. When I got frustrated with it because I could not figure it out, I basically asked out what is he recommending? What's meditation according to him? The answer I got was simple and came to me in an instant: paying attention.

Charles says, meditation is simply directing awareness. It comes to the same. I just need this kind of validation, at least I consider it to be validation.

This comes together with a recent trend of mind of paying more attention to everything - to do a thing well, or at least better. To consciously listen to music instead of having it in the background, which I find increasingly unnerving. And I can only say this turns listening to music into an event - like enjoying "Meeting of the Spirits" from the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Or I had a small vision during listening to "Third Eye" by Tool.

For the time being I have made this my meditation. Listening consciously. Sometimes I have to bring the wandering mind back, but most of the time I am in rapt attention anyway. It certainly relaxes me, brings me trance.

IIRC I have proposed the opposite in the past, that listening to music is not meditation. It happens. I'm going to send a message to my past self to not say such things to contradict and embarass me anymore. ;) :lol:


Neil Templar
7th June 2010, 10:31 AM
Oliver i've said it before, but i'll say it again.
i think you'd get alot out of Vipassana meditation.

i know how u feel about Buddhism, but it's not really important that it comes from the Buddha.
it's the practice that is important.

from your other post today -
"This came after I was reminded that a lot of suffering derives from the expectations we hold about how reality should be and that the primary method for meditating and relaxing the mind is simply being present to our experience."

exactly what Vipassana is. :wink:

7th June 2010, 11:50 AM
Hello, Neil.

I don't feel attracted to the practice.

I could give you all kinds of rational arguments why, but that would only be rationalisations of the thinking mind for explaining a feeling I have.

We tend to dismiss feelings and argue and rationalise, I know I do. I've also been busy contemplating if the resistance I feel is indeed just that - resistance. But I am getting a hunch here that all along I've been ignoring the voice of my own soul. Because I'd say that's where this feeling is coming from, and sometimes it's really that simple.

Follow the joy. Charles would call it "Follow the bliss." But "bliss" has no meaning for me, so I prefer to say joy instead. Being attentive to music is true joy for me. I want to pay attention. I'm directing my awareness and I'm relaxing. It restores a sense of joy to me that I have missed so much.

Due to recent events I was forced to walk to the next town a lot. But in doing so I also found joy in just appreciating walking along the fields, or through the forest. This is also joy. The joy of seeing a butterfly and being present to that experience. A breeze. Moist air in your lungs. So this is joy as well.

So, I'll heed that feeling. You may have the same feeling for Vipassana, but I don't. You want to share your joy, and I am grateful for your consideration, but it's not the practice. It's the joy of tuning into the right thing for where you are right now, for who you uniquely are, for having found an answer and knowing it is the answer because it is the answer given to you by your soul.

It is the satisfaction that comes right from the soul, and of course you want to share it. But my soul's answer is different, and I have to start to heed that answer. I feel like I can't wait! I feel like I want to pay more attention, and it's just the start. Just noticing things around me can cause a slight, contenting sense of joy.

So, thank you. But the answer stays the same, though for a better reason! ;) :D


7th June 2010, 12:05 PM
PS - I just want to share this.

I have listened to music and truly enjoyed it. I long for more. I had what Kurt called in "Music and the Soul" a "conversion experience." Listening to music can give me joy, sometimes even ecstatic for my standards.

I was really down last week. I felt miserable for two days like I haven't in a long time. You cannot imagine the change. I feel spontaneous bouts of joy and love. If this is the reward for finally acknowledging my soul's urge, I'd go for that any day!

I still can remember how miserable I was because I had painted myself into a corner. My thinking mind was absolutely convinced that concentration exercises would be required and help. But I was tense, I was getting miserable, and I really felt no longer like I wanted to sit anymore - at all!

I don't say there's anything wrong with practising concentration. Years ago it gave me joy and contentment. But I should have wondered why that stopped and what that means. But I just put more arguments down to why it should be the right thing.

Again it is really, really simple: If you have to argue yourself again and again into doing it, it's not the right thing. If you come up with a thousand reasons why, your mind is trying to overrule the soul. And my soul replied by withdrawing the joy, by making clear I was not on the right track for my growth. From diminishing returns I finally went to mounting misery.

There's a practice for everyone, but even if it was the right thing for your past self it might not be now. I was looking for all the logical reasons and the logical fix, I was restless, and rightly so! I knew I needed something different, but I always came up with something similar. Till I sat down and asked. And the answer came to me, and then I was told again. But again I was told something I've known before and could have known all along.

My answers are not your answers, but if you follow real joy you're heading in the right direction. It's like overflowing, when it's strong. And it's like smiling all the time, and feeling good for it. It's a thousand little things and nothing definite. It is the Universe as experienced by me, with my little twist on it.


Neil Templar
7th June 2010, 05:42 PM
right on! :D

i'm glad you found joy Oliver. really.
i think many people go thru their lives without ever really knowing true joy. such a simple thing really. just listen... your soul/heart knows exactly what it needs... :wink:

your posts here made me think about my Vipassana retreat last year.
that was the most joy i've ever experienced. the best i ever felt. thanks for reminding me. 8)

7th June 2010, 06:50 PM
your posts here made me think about my Vipassana retreat last year.
that was the most joy i've ever experienced. the best i ever felt. thanks for reminding me. 8)

You're very welcome! :)


9th June 2010, 05:12 AM
I hope you'll forgive me Korpo for reading your opening thread and then skipping down to reply, but as a composer and entertainer for most all my life I'd like to offer up this observation as it came to me without clouding my mind with various inputs from other readers.

As I think you know, I was a student of meditation for a few years and when we would organize a 'retreat' a small ensemble of musicians would gather to play and sing 'sweet music'. This was very popular and many of the musicians were remarkably good players; the music was sweet and even 'entrancing' in its own way.

But the goal of meditation is to seek ever higher states of consciousness and whatever state music can bring you to, even ecstacy, is a lower state of consciousness to that which transcends music - sweet, sentimental music. I knew I was advancing in my meditation practice when I was able to completely ignore the music, because as long as I listened to it i couldn't get beyond it.

Simple and complex sound frequencies and percussions are a different matter and I hope soon to explore this type of 'music' for purposes of meditation.

9th June 2010, 07:48 AM
Hello, E1B.

So, you think one-pointedness is the "higher kind" of meditation, because that is what "ignoring the music" is: one-pointed concentration.

Try the following: Once you've obtained a strong one-pointed mind that can ignore the music, reverse it and ignore everything but the music, and experience the music through the tool of concentration.

That's what's behind the statement "Concentration is not meditation." Concentration is but a tool. It is not an end, it is a means to an end.

I had experiences of higher states of consciousness while attentively listening to music. It entirely depends on the music. Music is a non-verbal communication of states of consciousness - of feelings, for example, but much more is possible. Many a time I have marvelled at wanting to say "I felt this." and there isn't a single word for it, a thousand words cannot describe it, but a piece of music can contain it and transmit it to a receptive listener.

Of course, if music is communication and if music can transmit states of consciousness, it is of utmost importance to be aware of what music contains what message. A spiritually advanced composer can transmit other states of consciousness than, let's say, Kurt Cobain. Cobain's music can be cathartic if you feel certain kinds of distress, angst and anguish, but it will not lift you into a state of appreciating all creation. But for example the Adagio from Bruckner's 8th symphony can.

Be well,

10th June 2010, 12:49 PM
first, i'd like to say how refreshing it is to read this thread which exemplifies honesty and respect for one another, even in the product of disagreement rising from the exchange. you guys are very mature fellas, Korpo and Neil.

secondly, i so agree with the 'music' korpo. i find music to be a most powerful agency for many angles in this spiritual journey.

there was a time for me that music was just music and no more than something i liked or didnt like at whatever time i felt to hear it.

the first time music revealed depth of feeling to myself was 1991, probably in april of that year, cant remember the date...

the whole night had been spent observing an aerial and artillery assault just a few kilometers away, and boyo howdy it was one hell of a thang to watch as it unfolded from our U.S. side of it.

just at dawn we mounted up and drove on in to that moon scaped zone of mass destruction. pillars of smoke rose up into the sun's rising light upon it. we had to slowly pick our way through, as there was much unexploded ordinance laying everywhere, probably 25% of whatever was layed down in that hot zone by our unmatchable side of it.

finally, after hours of winding around, there lay one burmed up wall of desert floor between us and the smoke pillars. at the moment I was atop our humvee manning a high caliber automatic weapon.

with earphones on i was halfway listening to U2's rattle and hum, and just we angled our ride up and over the steep burm the battle zone in sight, the song 'pride(in the name of love)' started. well the sight was brain cell overload with plentiful more bursts of andrenaline to say the least.

anywho, for the first time in my whole life music took on a deeper resonance, as this song could not be ignored, and finally i listened. tears uncontrollably raced down my face in an emotional upheaval like none i'd ever felt. perhaps my entire life leading up to that point suddenly reached forth and spntaneously poured out.

for now we didnt just manuever around dangerous ordinance, we also manuevered around bodies and body parts, some torn to shreds and some charred black. tmi...sorry.

anyway, this was the first day of my awakening life, and i've ever 'listened' to music since. music/song would say the impossible, would explain through feeling the incomprehensile, would free the very soul locked up in an unawares person.

any kind of art, especially music i think, conveys what is in anyone up and out into a shared world.

music is key enough for myself, opens lots of doors and windows of opportunity that otherwise could not be. and like you korpo, i feel not to mess with it or add to it, anymore than the shared 'feel' it would deliver.



10th June 2010, 12:58 PM
That's a powerful synchronicity there, Tim. The timing of music and sense experience - a marvel of the soul.

Be well,

14th June 2010, 11:44 PM
Hmm, coincidence, I was just realising some stuff about meditation and music and stuff.

Have been meditating for some time with music on, before that I was meditating in silence (for a long time) but I found music on to be better. My thinking is now this - music can help put the mind into a good place, but its kinda like a forced consciousness state. The bliss that arises from within, does so according to its own harmonies. Sometimes this can be in harmony with music, sometimes it isnt, but I dont think it is possible for music to fully describe the higher emotions as they cascade through our energy bodies and consciousness'. Some music, comes close though :). So now, I am nudging towards silent meditation again, as it more easily clears the channel for the higher emotions. Creating an empty vessle that can be filled, if you like.

So I think that using music is very useful and valid for a certain stage of meditation practice, but after that it can get in the way.

It reminds me distinctly of the Tibetan Buddhist way of dealing with karmic traces (thoughts (which layer into the subconscious), basically). In early practice, you stop the negative stuff and replace it with positive thoughts/karmic traces - cultivating wisdom karma I think it was called. Later though, with more developed practice, it is preferable to simply remain as the point of stillness, immovable as a mountain, and let the thoughts (karmic traces) simple flow past and through you - without any grasping or aversion. Simply allowing them to be - being a clear channel, allowing the old baggage to dissipate on its own.

15th June 2010, 01:46 PM
Great thread! I'm taking it all in. I love music and the way it affects my moods and helps me through good and bad times. I've been missing it lately- too many cartoons on in the house.

26th July 2010, 12:20 PM
You ever try to listen to Isochronic tones?