Meditating with Beethoven | Daily News


Meditating with Beethoven

How do you practice listening meditation? Just listen to sound. If you know that you are listening to sound, that is meditation. Normally you don’t know that you are listening because your mind is lost in the sound. But when you do know, your mind is not lost. In this way, you can enjoy music and meditate at the same time.

You do not need to worry if you have extra awareness about whether or not you are listening. Don’t check too much. Just listen with your ear and mind together. The sound and the music become the object of the meditation. That is good for the crazy monkey mind because you are giving it a job. Normally the monkey mind gives us jobs, but when you give the monkey mind a job, then you become the boss.

Here’s how to practice: First, relax the muscles in your body, and try to keep your spine straight. Relax and let go of all your worry. Just be your mind in your body; your mind comes to your body, fills your body. And just relax as though you just finished a physical exercise—sit in your comfortable chair with a big sigh, a big breath.

From this relaxed posture, begin listening to sound. Don’t listen too forcefully; simply notice the sound.

You cannot mindfully listen to sound for too long, maybe a few seconds, before your mind wanders away.

That’s OK. Listen again. The practice consists of a short time, many times.

You will notice that you have a lot of thoughts and emotions, which is the crazy monkey mind. But the monkey mind is not a problem. The problem is in how you are treating it. We tend to treat the monkey mind in two ways. In the first way, you are listening to the monkey mind and believe what it has to say—if the monkey mind says, “No good,” you believe it is not good. That leads to anger, fear, jealousy, panic, and so on.

In the second way, you hate the monkey mind, you fight with the monkey mind. If you have anger, you are fighting with the anger. But you cannot defeat anger by fighting it. If you fight with the monkey mind, it becomes your enemy. Yet if you listen to the monkey mind, it becomes your boss.

So what do you do?

Instead of telling the thought or emotion, “Get out!” or “Yes, sir,” you just let go, and give a job to the monkey mind.

When I was young I had panic attacks, which was a great source of suffering. But then I learned meditation, and I made friends with my panic. I ended up becoming very grateful to my panic because it is why I am here—to share my experience.

So, as you listen to this music, be aware of your emotions in the same way that you are aware of the sound. Your mind can go back and forth between listening to the music and being aware of the feelings that arise in your body. This awareness of emotion is like the sun, which eliminates darkness. When you are aware of the emotion, it becomes powerless.

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