Thank you for taking the time to explore my music and deepen your meditation practice. The Meditation EP (Experimental Project), features rhythmic drums and celestial instruments to help meditators tune out surrounding distractions, help focus on their breath and turn inward. The music is part of a larger project I am researching on meditation and the fifth limb of yoga, Pratyahara, the withdrawal of the senses. This limb is often viewed from the perspective of a renunciate: removing or limiting all sensory stimuli. The Meditation EP is the auditory component to exploring the idea of neutralizing the senses with pleasantries instead of denying them any stimulation.
Notes about The Meditation EP
Dr. Rick Hanson’s book, Buddha’s Brain, and his research on mediation, have been an inspiration for me since my introduction to his work. Hanson gave me my first understanding of the two aspects of the autonomous nervous system: sympathetic (fight or flight response), and parasympathetic (rest and digest). As one engages, the other disengages. One of the goals of yoga and meditation practice is to engage the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), the anatomical mind-body connection, and induce the healing qualities in the body for natural, holistic betterment; while simultaneously disengaging the sympathetic wing (SNS). Dr. Hanson wrote another article, Relaxed and Contented, which has served as the template for this meditative exploration.
The easiest way to begin practicing is by finding a tall, comfortable seat and taking a long, smooth, deep breath. Simply breathing with awareness and mindfulness can create a shift within the body to reduce physical tension. That shift is the PNS engaging! Count the number of seconds as you inhale, and then exhale for same amount of time or a little bit longer. Find a comfortable rhythm and maintain it. If you fall out of your pattern, return to it and adjust as needed. Deep breathing with repetitive rhythm is a great way to swiftly engage the PNS. Allow the eyes to close and the body to soften. Now, while maintaining your breath, allow the music to help you clear your mind, and take a moment to simply be.
Here are a few tips to help your meditation practice yield stronger results:
- Instincts off, consciousness on. Maintain a sense of comfort, safety, and relative quiet because distractions or nagging discomforts will engage the fight or flight response and inhibit the influence of the PNS. Prop up the body as needed by sitting against a wall or placing pillows under your knees. Reduce any likelihood of surprises: phones, kids, pets, etc.
- Let go of listening. The rhythms and tones are meant to help induce the PNS with repetitive sound instead of elaborate musical compositions. Consider them pretty sounding white noise to neutralize outside influences. They are intentionally made so the listener gets lost in time.
- Find the vibrations that suit you best. This project is not necessarily meant to be listened to straight through. Each song was written to spotlight a particular tonal range and rhythm. If meditative music is serving you, may this be a jump off point to explore the wide variety of musicians writing mind-body music.
Mediation practice is not to gain, but to take away. It strips away desire and shines light on the resources around us. Attachment can be the root of suffering, but with practice it becomes easier to recognize that everything needed to be content and happy is already available. Taking a moment to meditate and reflect can help us deviate from getting bogged down in routines that waste energy. A steady practice, even a few minutes (one song!) daily, will help maintain energy and a positive outlook. Finding time to practice is vital to overall balance and emotional stability. May these songs help you turn inward, relax, and spread peace. The album is also available for free download.
Namaste. Johnny Scifo, April 2016