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  • Orçun Ayata

Surprising similarities between meditation and critical listening


I was listening to a beautiful concert. The band was rocking the stage, while the sound engineer had done a great job of mixing. I could hear every element of the arrangement, and I was jumping with my focus from one instrument to another. But I wanted to hear all the instruments simultaneously. This time, I wanted to focus on the relationship between those instruments. At that moment, I realized it was the same experience as trying to meditate.


I'm not a meditation expert, and I don't even meditate regularly, but I used to meditate regularly. So, I'm sorry if I write some incorrect information about meditation here, but I'm okay with that as it is not the main subject of this article.


At the start, when you're an amateur meditator, you have to focus on certain things. The most common tool is your breath. As your breath is always there, you focus on your breathing without thinking about it or changing it. You have to focus on the feeling in your nose or its effect on your belly. This part is close to critical listening when you focus on only one element of a song at a time. You hear every nuance, every movement of that instrument. You can even see the player in your mind if you focus enough. You can even read their minds. It's magical.


After a couple of weeks of learning how to meditate with guided meditation, I started meditating without focusing on anything at all. It was the hardest thing to do. You have to just be there and wait for everything to be themselves too. And just observe without focusing. Did you hear a bird call? Just realize it but don't focus on it at all. Because there are all the other kinds of feelings that appear at the same time. The touching feel on your body parts, all the smells around you, the taste in your mouth, and all the other sensations that might appear without your participation.


At that concert, I realized that you have to use the same method when you want to hear all the instruments simultaneously. You must create a distance between yourself and everything else, and then just be present in the moment without controlling anything at all. It's not the same thing as regularly listening to a song, nor is it the same thing as focusing on it.


If you want to experience a piece of music in much greater detail, you can try this method too. Let's focus on some parts first, and then step back from everything, and try not to focus on anything at all. Just be present with that piece of music, and observe it without controlling your focus. If the song is a good one, you might find yourselves in great harmony.


At first, this concept may seem a bit counterintuitive, but it can be incredibly rewarding. When you practice this method, you can experience music in a completely different way than before. You can appreciate the nuances and intricacies of the music and gain a greater understanding of how each part of the music interacts with the other. Additionally, it can help you to develop a deeper appreciation for the music and its creators. As you practice this method, you will gain a greater appreciation for the beauty of music and the craftsmanship of the musicians.


And let me know if it works or not :)


BONUS: You can start practicing with this beautiful psychedelic rock album that I discovered this week:




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