One fabulous activity that you probably already do and have never thought of as a mindfulness exercise in daily life is listening to music. If you are really listening and letting it fill you up and move you, you are using music as meditation. And, you are rewiring your brain for more happiness.
Christopher Germer’s book “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions” suggests creating a playlist from songs that evoke feelings of love. He writes, “When we use music to evoke good will toward ourselves, by focusing our attention and allowing loving feelings to arise, it becomes a self-compassion meditation.” He then lists 25 songs to get your playlist started.
Christopher’s book has been like a bible to me for the years. And the free guided meditation downloads from his website got me through many dark days and nights. When I met him at my Mindfulness Self-Compassion teacher training, it was as if I already knew him. I said, “Wow, you are the voice I’ve had in my head for the last four years!” Strange, yes; but also quite wonderful.
Pull out a notebook or journal and jot down any songs or other musical compositions you can think of that bring you joy, fill you with peace, or remind you to love yourself or others. Then make a playlist of these songs that move you and practice letting music help you be in the moment.
Sit, stand, or take a walk and let your mind fully attend to the music — each note, each instrument, each voice; the rhythm and the spaces in between; the lyrics, if any, and what they mean to you; the sensations you may feel in your body while listening to the music.
It’s fun to incorporate mindfulness into the things we already love to do, and music is no exception. Through mindfulness, you give the music you enjoy a new way to boost your experience of life.
How great is that?