If music be the food of love, play on. – William Shakespeare
In the early stages of learning mindfulness meditation, one of the most important moments comes when realising that the attention has wandered. This realisation of distraction allows for a return of awareness to the focus of your practice. It is very important to know that this realisation does not signify failure and need not be met with judgment or despair. On the contrary, it shows that both focus and awareness are growing.
In this practice the focus will be on a piece of music of your choice.
In this exercise, the length of your chosen music will determine the length of the practice. Mix things up by picking something unfamiliar or, if you do pick an old favourite, try to listen as if hearing it for the first time.
Choose a piece of music and press play.
Begin by finding a comfortable posture and by bringing your attention to the breath. Take a few moments to let yourself arrive and allow the breath to draw you gently into internal awareness. Allow the gaze to soften, the eyes to close.
Imagine you composed this music; that it flowed into the World directly from your heart.
Listen with clarity and allow yourself to be drawn into the melody, the rhythm, the movement and the emotion.
Feel the vibration of the music in every cell of your body.
What emotions arise? Pay full attention to any feelings present and notice their subtle movement through the body.
If the mind wanders from the focus of the music, bring it back patiently and compassionately.
Continue connecting and reconnecting with the piece.
Imagine that the music is flowing out of you now.
What do you see? What do you feel? What do you sense?
Take five breaths here.
Breathe and follow the music until it ends.
Return to wakefulness in your own way.
Record your experience of what you saw, felt and sensed in your Mindfulness Journal.
If practising with others, take turns sharing your discoveries.
This practice is an extract from 100 Mindfulness Meditations: The Ultimate Collection of Inspiring Daily Practices by Neil Seligman published by Conscious House and available on Amazon priced £12.99.
10 Mindfulness Meditations is an album of audio meditations to accompany the book and is now available on iTunes priced £7.99.
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