Meditation music

“In the spiritual world, next to meditation is music, the breath of music.

Meditation is silence, energizing and fulfilling.

Silence is the eloquent expression of the inexpressible.”

– Sri Chinmoy

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Let us simply and spontaneously

allow the music-bird to fly

in our heart-sky.

Sri Chinmoy

Meditation music

by Patanga Cordeiro

As I sat to write this page about meditation music, this morning’s meditation came to my mind. I was sitting on my shrine, trying to focus and trying to meditate. Somehow, it was more difficult than the other days.

Still, I noticed something… maybe in the environment? But it was not, it was within me. I was happy. I am really happy. Over the years, these morning minutes became the happiest moments of my life. If only I could share with others how to find such happiness, even if a little bit.

That is why I got inspired to write today for you.

How to meditate with music


A meditation music exercise

How to meditate with music? It is easier than you might think! I can suggest Sri Chinmoy’s exercise on meditating with music.

How to:

  • Start by playing some music appropriate for meditation (see next section below)
  • Then, with a silent and vacant mind, practise the feeling of the aphorism just beside this text… “let us not try to understand music…”
  • Keep your mind as empty as possible. You might notice that you will only get a few moments of silence here and there. If thoughts come, try to throw them aside, or let the music take them away. With time, you will learn to meditate.

Should you find it too difficult (it is natural to feel so), see below our section on techniques for meditation with music.

 

meditation music bird


“Let us not try to understand music with our mind.

“Let us not even try to feel it with our heart.

“Let us simply and spontaneously allow the music-bird to fly in our heart-sky.”

– Sri Chinmoy

Free meditation music – online and downloads

Here I would like to share recommended free music for meditation.  I personally think that this is the main “treasure” of this page to our readers – not my words, but the experience itself of meditating with music. You can listen to the music online, and you can also download the mp3/m4a files free of charge so you can enjoy this music during your daily activities as well.

Sri Chinmoy offered over 800 concerts of meditation music, always free of charge. These recordings are mostly from his live musical performances and, as each of Sri Chinmoy’s offerings to the world at large, are also free for download and personal use.

 

Concert for meditation

How to meditate with music

Music, the universal language

 

A selection of music for meditation videos for download.

 

Techniques for music meditation

If you had difficulties trying to do the exercises mentioned in the beginning, do not worry. First of all, concentration and meditation, like any other skill, are developed over time and effort. But there are a few things which you can do that will be very helpful:

  • Try imagining that you are inside your heart, and not in your head or mind.
  • Breathe slowly and peacefully.
  • Do not try to “follow” meditation music – try to observe it in a detached way – as if you are a third person simply observing.
  • Focus with your half-open eyes on a small focal point – a flower, a dot in the wall, a picture of a spiritual Master, etc. Or imagine you are observing the vast sky or the endless ocean with an empty mind.
  • Keep your spine erect and really try not to move very little during the exercise.
  • Use appropriate meditation music.
  • For a beginner, a good recommended practice period can range from 7 to 15 minutes.

Music meditation videos – download and online

It can also be a very uplifting experience to watch a live or video performance of meditation music. You can still apply the methods and basic techniques we shared already, but with the new dimension of visual inspiration.

I have selected just one among my favourite meditation music videos and embedded it on this page. It starts with a short meditation followed by an Esraj concert (an Indian musical instrument very conducive to meditation). You can watch as many minutes as you like, or even meditate looking at Sri Chinmoy playing the music while in a high, peace-filled meditative consciousness. If you would like to see different instruments played, you can freely browse, for example, Sri Chinmoy TV. All content there is available at no charge and can be downloaded to be watched later on.

(By the way, if you can manage, I do recommend watching meditation videos on your TV instead of on the computer screen. You might have a better experience, as the TV is much simpler and has a singleness of purpose. My experience tells me that meditating on the computer is much more difficult.)

Zurich Hallenstadion Concert

On March 31, 1985, Sri Chinmoy visited Switzerland and offered a Peace Concert to 6,000 people in the Sports Stadium “Hallenstadion” in Zurich. 

What kind of music is good for meditation?

Usually, music which is helpful for meditation is the music that nurtures and awakens our aspiring consciousness. This music will not bring up emotional feelings, desire for greatness or recognition, etc. It will only kindle our inner hunger for a more fulfilling, spontaneous and childlike reliance in our inner divinity. In the video to the left, Sri Chinmoy comments briefly on how to recognize spiritual music. You can read a longer explanation here about meditation music.


The music that I can recommend most of all for a good meditation is the music played by a realized spiritual Master. Meditation music is the joint result of the composition, the musician himself and the audience.

Using music for meditation in noisy places

If at the usual time of your meditation there are outside noises, be it from the street or inside your own house, you can try using meditation music as a kind of background noise neutralizer.

You can use the same music, but, instead of choosing the music as a focal point of your concentration, simply do your regular meditation exercise, with the music in the background. It will nullify some of the disturbing noise and will let you have a better meditation in less than ideal circumstances.

If every day you experience noise during your meditation, it might be wise to change your meditation time – start a bit earlier. Generally, 6 a.m. is a good time to start your meditation if you are a person (like me) who works or studies regularly.

How to play meditation music more soulfully

“… if you can meditate for five minutes or ten minutes before you sing, then you will get the soul aspect of the song from your meditation. Even if you have not meditated, sometimes it is possible, while bringing the image of each word to your mind, to also get the soul aspect.”

“…If you bring the soul aspect forward and also symbolically bring the body aspect forward, the song becomes really soulful. At that time, those who are listening are bound to feel the soul inside the music. They may not even hear your words, your language; they will only see the soul inside. They will see in your face the divine reality. Sometimes your soul has permeated your outer face, and your face is shining. At that time, they don’t see anything but the soul.”

Sri Chinmoy, God the supreme Musician

 

sri chinmoy kamakura buddha meditation
flute music for meditation cd

Meditation music CD

Besides our selection of free downloads, if you are inspired to buy a CD of music for yourself or as a gift, there are many excellent meditation music CDs which I could never recommend highly enough.

You can find about 10 excellent CDs at

(including my favourite “Flute Music for Meditation” –  it is missing the image on the vendor site, but don’t mind – the CD is really good.)

Inspirational audiobook

Also you might be interested in The Jewels of Happiness audiobook (Heart-Light or Amazon). It contains 15 chapters, each on a different quality (such as humility, joy, etc) read out by 17 outstanding individuals including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Carl Lewis and Roberta Flack. CD and digital download versions available.

Meditation music book

If you are interested in in-depth knowledge about meditation music and its related subjects, we have a recommended reading, the book called “The Source of Music”.

Many of the excerpts here on this page were taken from that book. It also explains about mantras, which is a topic we haven’t mentioned in this page so far.

Its chapters run through many topics, such as what are mantras, music for meditation, performing and composing, “AUM” and other mantras, singing spiritual music, music and spirituality, stories about musicians, etc. It ends with interviews with Sri Chinmoy and Pablo Casals and Leonard Bernstein. I like this book so much that I made a translation of the complete book to the Portuguese language (as I am Brazilian).

source of music book

God the Supreme Musician

God the Musician knows that music is spirituality, music is Immortality. Man the musician thinks that music is sensuality, music is mortality.

God the Musician knows that His Music is His transcendental Self-communion. Man the musician thinks that his music is his world’s lifelong companion.

God the Musician is divinely and eternally mysterious. Man the musician is humanly and temporarily marvellous.

God’s Music tells us that music is the realisation of the universal Soul. Man’s music tells us that music is the aspiration of the individual soul.

God’s Music runs from the height to the depth. Man’s music runs from the breadth to the length. At its height, God’s Music is His Vision. In its depth, God’s Music is His Realm. In its breadth, man’s music is his crying soul. In its length, man’s music is his victory’s goal.

God’s Music is the constant expansion of His Soul’s Delight. Man’s music is the preparation of his life’s hunger for perpetual joy.

Sri Chinmoy

Relaxation music

Meditation and relaxation – are they similar? It depends on the point of view. From the physical point of view, they can be quite similar. For both meditation and relaxation, you should have steady and peaceful breathing, and try to eliminate all unnecessary tension from your body. But there the similarities end.

In relaxation, we try to leave behind our problems by not giving attention to them.

In concentration (which usually is a preliminary step to meditation), we bravely exercise our willpower to dive deep within in order to overcome our limitations and find our true self.

Which is better, concentration or relaxation? It all depends on the practitioner. If you come home after a long day, you might just want to relax a bit. But if you are on a quest to find your real self amidst all your daily activities, then concentration – the use of willpower to silence the mind and hush the outer turmoil – will be the real pathway to self-discovery.

To relax, you can use the same kind of music you use for concentration. I suggest that you lie down, close your eyes, breathe peacefully and let any restless or unpeaceful outer vibrations that you are may have right now be washed away by the music.

Mantras and meditative music

Mantras are also very conductive to meditation. However, we have a separate page about mantras for meditation, so as to cover the topic more thoroughly.

Indian meditation music and western meditation music

They say, “Classical music is the music without words; modern music is the music without music.” I say, “Classical music is the music that lasts after it has all been sung; modern music is the music that begins long before it has actually begun.” In classical music we try to see God the eternal Beyond. In modern music we see God the eternal Now. – Sri Chinmoy, God the supreme Musician

Since much of today’s spirituality comes from the East, notably India, it is only natural that we tend to turn to the East for spiritual inspiration. However, it would not be correct to say that only India is able to produce meditation music. Meditation music is the music that springs from the depths of our aspiring hearts and manifests itself as a fountain of beauty and delight. Even spiritual masters, such as Sri Chinmoy, regularly played on western instruments, such as the flute, violin, cello, piano, etc, and deeply valued the achievements of many western-trained musicians (such as Pablo Casals, Leonard Bernstein and others)

Eternity’s singing bird

Leonard Bernstein, Leonard!

Eternity’s singing bird!

Beauty-truth, truth-beauty,

Nectar-oneness your divinity.

Perfection-cry, perfection-soul,

Perfection-smile, perfection-Goal.

Composer-prince, conductor-king,

World-server-emperor in the cosmos ring.

Sri Chinmoy

When music is meditation – a personal anecdote

 Here I can relate a personal daily experience with music meditation. Since I started to meditate, I also started to learn to sing mantras and devotional songs. Specially in the very beginning, singing was even more inspiring to me than meditating. Somehow I think my nature gets much benefit from soulful singing.

So even when I am walking on the street or doing house chores, often I sing in a soft voice and get boundless peace and steadiness of thoughts. (mind you, I am not even a good singer :D ) After a long singing session, occasionally I have felt as if I have entered into some kind of paradise. Everywhere I look seems heavenly – be it the birds flying, the open spaces, the people around me, everything. This feeling has been a constant remembrance of the power that music has to inspire and awaken our inner senses. In this way, I feel, music is a great help to the beginner in learning meditation.

If you are interested, here are some of my song-learning experiences.

Music Is Meditation

Music is meditation

If it is sung soulfully by good singers

Or even sung badly by singers

With soulful hearts.

 

Sri Chinmoy

meditation music adesh

Inspiring meditative music

For your inspiration and daily activities, you can also listen to different kinds of spiritual music. Some compositions are exceedingly beautiful, specially if performed by musicians who also practise meditation daily.

If we are riding the bus, driving, running or walking, why not take the opportunity to beautify our days and nights with subtly spiritual music?

Here too I have made a short list of some of my favourite recordings of inspiring meditation music.

Songs of the Soul free music concerts

If you would like to participate in a free concert of soulful music (as in the video above), please go to Songs of the Soul and check out your nearest concert tour. There are worldwide events every year.

Meditation music on youtube

I am pretty sure many people might wonder why I don’t have here many links to videos on Youtube about meditation music. It is only that sometimes having too much information can be worse than having not much. Here we have made a page about meditation music, and we tried our best to make it friendly and dedicated to meeting your yearning to learn and practice meditation with music.

But, sometimes, if you go to Youtube, you will get hundreds of different topics, mixed or shallow opinions and a good deal of unwanted or even uninspiring advertisements (some sites are better in that respect, like Vimeo). Overall, *sigh* this is often the nature of the internet nowadays.

Even though the internet can find us a wealth of content, I would still suggest that a seeker should very much get inspiration from authoritative printed books, personal advice face-to-face with practitioners of meditation and, most of all, having friends and colleagues with how you can practice your group meditation a few times a week. Information is just the very first step. Practice and experience are needed. It is a worthwhile journey! I tell you!

More about meditation music on

 

Another meditation music exercise: a video

This exercise is a video recording, from the series “Meditation-Silence – Music & Meditation”.

It is only 3 minutes long, so it’s a great meditation music exercise for beginners. Just follow the instructions on the video.

Then do your best to keep your mind vacant and enjoy the last minute of the exercise simply watching his meditation. Try to identify yourself with it.

You will notice the eye-movements of Sri Chinmoy – it is a sign that he is diving into deeper levels of consciousness.