Music is a wonderful way to gather our attention, focus and center ourselves.
My wife and I sat down to relax with our cup of coffee after breakfast this last weekend and listened to some music as we usually do. This particular morning the kids didn’t interrupt us with nattering or idle talking. We were able to enjoy our music playlist without interruption. To mix things up and to subliminally affect any receptive listeners, I put quotes from audio books and movies on our playlists to punctuate the songs with different thoughts. After a song or two we heard a quote from Socrates, played by Nick Nolte in Peaceful Warrior. “Take out the trash Dan. The trash is anything that is keeping you from the only thing that matters, this moment, here and now.” After this my wife made a comment about how music helps us focus on the present moment. Considering some recent posts like “Make Your Own Music,” “Music or Noise?” and “Prune the Drama” music helps us connect with the essence of what’s unfolding around us. It helps us separate the noise of our meta-thoughts and meta-feelings from our raw experience of the the unfolding present. It helps us let go of the distractions keeping us from enjoying what’s happening around us.
We connect in nonverbal ways to the music we listen to. Our bodies tune into the rhythm, our minds connect with the lyrics and interrelated tones, and our spirits find direction and harmony when we allow ourselves to listen with more than our ears. This focus reduces the noise of worrying about our past interactions or our desires for future joys. Herein is the power of music if we can simply tune in. Music helps us center ourselves and let go of the things pulling us away from the rawness of our experience. Of course we can get lost in the music itself and miss ourselves in the process, but music is nonetheless a means to gather our attention to the rhythm of our experience unfolding every moment. We can use it to get into a physical work out or find some enjoyment in our mindless work we get paid for. We can use it to accentuate the feelings of love and carnal desire for another or simply unwind from a long tortuous day. Music is a tool helping us gather our attention. With practice and awareness of what we are doing, this tuning in may be performed with or without the aid of listening to music. It’s also achievable via meditation, physical or mental activities. It’s something we find in what’s called the flow state theorized by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyl.
The take away here is to use the tools we have like music to help us gather our attention and center ourselves on what’s unfolding around and within us. In doing so, we enable ourselves to tune into our own music or at least change our melody in ways we want. Tuning into our own music created every moment of our lives is how we create the life we envision for ourselves.