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Photo by Sebastien Wiertz
Meditation has proven it’s usefulness among a lot of great guitar players and songwriters like John McLaughlin, Steve Vai, John Frusciante, Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow and many others.
Once you’ve experienced the benefits you are more than willing to sit down on the floor for a couple of minutes a day.
Meditation can improve the quality of your life and musicianship in a tremendous way.
But yes I know, the hardest part is to get started everyday. It seems there are always more important things to do than sitting down with your eyes closed doing nothing. Well nothing could be more further from the truth.
Meditation will give you the inspiration and answers you need for all your tasks, projects and hard questions. But it will also make you twice as efficient and effective rather than being just productive. By stepping back your mind will see things a lot more clearly and the good stuff shows up.
I use meditation to find inspiration for writing songs, blog posts, teaching guitar students, life solutions, creating new ideas, happiness and balance, peace of mind, overcoming guitar obstacles and difficulties, finding focus for guitar practice and in the past I’ve used it for stage anxiety and finding answers to what I really want in life.
There are a lot of different ways to practice meditation and there is no wrong or right or just one way to do it. Most of them boil down to the same thing when you focus on the essence and leave out any religious rituals or other traditions.
I use three approaches at different times throughout the day or week:
# BREATHING MEDITATION
# MANTRA MEDITATION
# INSPIRATION MEDITATION
Let’s take a closer look.
I use breathing meditation for better focus, health, gaining higher levels of energy, balance, calming the mind and developing inner peace.
I sit down and visualize breathing in a clear, transparent flowing stream of energy going through the lungs and then slowly breathing out all the waste products of my body and mind. I continue breathing in and out the energy through all the other parts of my body one by one.
I always start with my lungs, then the heart, stomach, intestines (to name a few)… then I go to my neck, spine, arms, hands, fingers, my legs, feet, toes…. and I go back up higher to my vocal cords, my eyes and the third eye where I go into a deeper state of meditation.
Whenever I catch my mind drifting off thinking about something else, I just let the thought move by like a cloud and slowly go back to visualize breathing. After a while I drift off again (when you just start out, that could be in just a few seconds) I gently let it pass me by without worrying about it and go back to my breathing. I enjoy the breathing and how it heals all my vital organs, every part of my body and feeling more energetic with every breath.
With Mantra mediation the quality lies in the repetition of words, inspiring phrases, quotes or a prayer.
It could be something to improve your personal development, something that will help you overcome obstacles in your life, quotes or wisdom that will make you feel more confident as a musician, artist or something that will contribute to your overall happiness and virtue.
Your mantra could be something like this:
“No matter the circumstances I will remain calm, mild and relaxed. I will practice kindness and compassion towards my loved ones, family, friends and strangers. I will observe the beauty in everything. I will not judge or have prejudice.
I choose to think in possibilities rather than in limitations. I’ll refuse to be a hostage of my ego and will learn to let go and surrender. I will replace any negative thought for a positive one. Real freedom is not enjoying the things I want to do, but enjoying the things I do at any moment, time or place.”
Or you could use just one simple phrase or quote and meditate on that. Practice it daily and experience how it will improve your life. Like Buddha said “Thoughts become things”.
For “Inspiration Mediation” I deliberately interrupt my meditation. It’s a method I use to save the inspiration. (But it won’t get you to enlightenment).
I use the breathing technique from method 1 or focus on one particular object (like a tree). I focus and concentrate on the object or the breathing for a period of time and whenever my mind drifts off I go back to my focus and let the distracting meaningless thought pass me by. I keep going back to the breathing for as long as necessary and then suddenly out of nothing inspiration is there.
Good ideas come rolling in, good song titles or lyrics, solutions to issues you’ve been worrying about for a quite while, how to deal with particular situations and other valuable insights will appear. It will come when there is room and silence in your head.
Once those ideas pop up one after the other I open my eyes for a brief moment. I make notes of all the ideas, solutions and answers with a pencil on a little piece of paper and then I quickly close my eyes again and go back to my meditation, back to my breathing, emptying my mind and making room for peace and quiet.
Only if you are able to empty your mind, making room in your mind then there will be room for new ideas and inspiration. The longer you hang in there, the better the ideas. You can try to cheat and think of ideas consciously, but the real inspiration, the brilliant ideas and solutions to life come out of nothing. Out of thin air.
It’s all in meditation.
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