I’ve been thinking a lot about music listening lately. Do you listen to music regularly? Chances are you’re probably nodding your head right now. In addition to the music we choose to listen to on our own, music is all around us – drumming on subway platforms, Top 40 hits in the supermarket, and elevator music in elevators.
Mindfulness is a gift we can give to ourselves in this busy world, to help ourselves slow down and really be present in each moment. Music can be a powerful way to experience the present moment.
Even if we listen to music all the time – do we really hear it and experience it on a deep level? Do we really hear and notice all of its complexities, layers, and subtleties?
So I invite you to choose one piece of music. I usually go for instrumental pieces, since I feel words add a whole other layer, but it’s up to you. Put on headphones if there are noises around you, and really listen.
See if you can listen from inside yourself. Notice your breath. Notice your feet and your head – this will help you feel more grounded. Notice if you want to move or be still.
And most of all – notice the music. Your experience may be different with a brand new piece, as opposed to a piece you’ve heard many times, but maybe not. See if closing your eyes makes a difference. It may be really hard to do (which probably means it’s important!). I just tried this myself, and found that I had to close my eyes to really shut out the distractions of my open inbox, the fridge behind me, and a truck outside.
Keep noticing. Notice any thoughts or feelings that come up. Notice the melodic line in the music, or the sound of each instrument, or the speed of the piece. Be in the present moment with the music.
This 3 or 4 minute experience can be a great thing to do daily. You might find you need different music each day, or that repeating the same piece is a sort of touchstone to a quiet, calm place inside yourself.
The piece I just listened to was “Sliding Down” from Edgar Meyer’s album Uncommon Ritual. You can watch the video below if you’d like. I’d love to hear what piece you chose – leave me a comment below.