Can Music Improve My Meditation?
It depends. Research published in The Journal of the Korea Institute of Electronic Communication Science measured the brain’s frontal lobe activity with meditation music and without music. The author found that meditation did indeed effect alpha and theta waves for those who meditate whether music was available or not.
For the experiment, successful meditation was when theta waves overtook alpha waves. This is the opposite from normal activity where alpha waves exceed theta waves. There were three measurements: at the beginning (0 minutes of meditation), middle (5 minutes of meditation), and end (10 minutes of meditation). There were also three volunteers of varying meditation experience, roughly novice and intermediate and advanced. The meditation music was described as “calming” (certainly subjective).
For both with and without music, alpha waves started out higher than theta waves. This would be the normal waking state. After five minutes of meditation the theta waves grew close to even with the alpha waves for those who meditated without music. Additionally, those without music had more theta waves than alpha waves at the end of the meditation, signalling a deep meditative state.
At no point in the experiment did the meditation music promote more theta waves than alpha waves. The music certainly showed a calming effect with more alpha waves. When listening to music, however, the subjects never moved into a state with more delta waves than alpha waves.
Meditation Music For Relaxing Alpha Waves?
Yes. This may be especially useful for those just starting meditation. Using meditation music can relax the mind and body. This can set the stage for meditation. Unfortunately, the experiment showed that the music kept the subjects engaged and in the alpha state.
Meditation Music For Those Delta Waves?
No. Meditation music can help relax but it also keeps one anchored in the relaxed but not meditative state.
Like many things in wellbeing, meditation music is not bad or good. It simple has to fit your needs. Whether you are a novice or advanced, music can help you relax and prepare for meditation. Set up your music to turn off after 5 minutes or so. Then enjoy the rest of your meditative journey! (And don’t forget a nice cup of tea waiting for you at the end!)
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