Personally, I love meditating with music (in certain situations). Few things are more effective for bringing an immediate sense of calm.
But which music works best for meditation? Should meditation technically be done without music?
All great questions, which I will do my best to answer. I’ll assume that you already know how to meditate to an extent, so I won’t go into that here. Try my articles Meditation for Beginners or How to Become Enlightened Through Meditation, for some good how-to’s.
Should I Meditate with Music? Is It Good to Meditate with Music or in Silence?
Wayne Dyer said “There is no such thing as a bad meditation. Any time you spend in silence is valuable”. But does it have to be complete silence?
I don’t think so. They say the only bad meditation is the one you didn’t do, and I totally agree.
I think meditation should be done in whatever way works for you. There are few wrong ways to meditate. To me, if it brings you a sense of calm and happiness, then you’re good.
Some would say that music distracts from reaching deeper levels of awareness in meditation, or makes it difficult to notice sensations in the body properly. I completely disagree. But it does depend on the type of music.
But I understand the question. I’m a bit of a purist myself, so I want to practice in ways that have been proven over the millennia in ancient traditions, or proven through neuroscience.
For example, it’s common to use singing bowls in Tibetan Buddhism. I love meditating with singing bowls (well, singing bowl playlists), and they are a powerful way to deepen your meditation practice.
So if Tibetan Buddhists use singing bowls and gongs to help center their practice, and monks chant and sing, I’d like to think meditating with music is perfectly fine too (depending on the music).
It’s all about energy and vibrations. If the vibrations of the music help slow down your brain waves, then it is likely effective for meditation. The same goes for repeating “om” in your meditation. You’re creating a vibration that creates calm and coherence throughout your body.
In my experience, many styles of music are excellent for deepening my meditative states. Music is a great way to center yourself for meditation, much like focusing on your breath or repeating a sacred word.
Though, I would be interested in what brainwaves an EEG (like Muse) shows when we meditate with music. It’s possible that certain music is helpful for accessing alpha waves, some for theta, some for delta, etc. I’d imagine metal music isn’t too great for reaching relaxed brain states! 🤘😜
Regardless, meditation and music are massively beneficial on their own, but become even more powerful when combined. Even Verywell Mind agrees, “Combining music with meditation can deepen the positive effects of both, and bring you greater stress relief.”
Now, I will say that sometimes I’d rather meditate with no music. Sometimes I’ll start with some binaural beats or deep house music (yes, I said deep house – as in contemplative techno!). But sometimes I feel like even binaural beats or singing bowls are overstimulating, so I’ll turn the music off and sit in pure silence. But sometimes music is exactly what I need to access deeper awareness. It just depends.
Which Music is Best for Meditation?
The best meditation music is whatever works for you. Personally, I love many different styles of music for meditation: Tibetan singing bowls, binaural beats, deep house, ambient, instrumental, and more.
I would recommend asking yourself, “How do I feel when I listen to this music?” If it brings you an immediate sense of calm, relaxation, peace, and happiness, it’s probably good music for meditation.
The best music for meditation generally will have little to no words. Music with words are more likely to distract you, and produce more thoughts (not less). Music without words lets you access deeper states of meditative awareness without distraction. Our minds are wild enough with thoughts already – best for your music not to make things worse!
From there, I would just go into your favorite music streaming service and explore. I mainly use Spotify and they have a ton of great playlists to choose from.
If you search in Spotify for singing bowls and binaural beats, you will get plenty of options. Same with deep house and electronic playlists. I love electronic music, and deep house is a very low-frequency, meditative style. Check out the playlists Night Rider and Chill Tracks to start if you’re into the electronic stuff.
Spotify also has great categories you can search. For instance, the Wellness category has many options that are perfect for meditation or yoga, including the playlists Peaceful Meditation, Lava Lamp, Ambient Relaxation, and more. Lava Lamp is definitely more on the trippy side, but I love it.
There are many different ways to meditate, and meditating with music is just one of them. If you find that music distracts from your practice, feel free to stop doing it. But if like me, you find that certain types of music help center you, and deepen your meditative awareness, then keep going with it! Again, just try to notice how a particular style of sound or music makes you feel, and adjust accordingly.