Music: Language, Art, or Distraction?

Sean LeBlanc (@bongodeburrito) 9 years, 7 months ago

I’m big into my music, as are many of my close friends. We view music as a way to communicate, as do many other other musicians from what I’ve read, watched and talked about. Especially when we’re sitting in a circle having fun and just jamming. However, some claim it to be an art and dont discuss the communication aspect of it. But then again, art is widely viewed as a medium to communicate emotion. But I digress. The real question I have: Is music a distraction? Not as in listening to it throughout the day, but the core of music. Is it just a way to lose focus on the world as some mindsets view it? Namely, I was researching Mahayana Buddhism and it teaches that it is a distraction. I personally consider myself a Buddhist, though I follow no single sects guidelines word for word, and it struck a, forgive the pun, note with me. How can something as beautiful as music be negative(except for death metal and whatnot, sorry if it offends anyone) in any way?

June 16, 2012 at 9:21 am
itsacosmos (0) (@itsacosmos) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

music is an art form as visual arts can be. and the only way to make it possibly negative is if you surround yourself with negative music, such as negative art. Its kind of like if you locked yourself in a room, would you rather have the room painted blue or black? if you desire happiness, then the smart decision would be to choose black. same with what you listen to.

happy music=happy thoughts=happy life.
you’re a reflection of everything you surround yourself with. choose wisely.

Sarah (113) (@smorris926) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

Music has always been a form of communication for me, as well as a creative outlet. I don’t think you could consider music to be a distraction from real life when a lot of it is exactly how people are experiencing real life. It is the way people get away from the surface of day-to-day activities, and brings you closer to the inner self.

This could just never be negative for me. Music is how I live, though, so I’m a bit biased.

Anonymous (202) (@) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

here’s a nice Rajneesh discourse on Music

God is not a philosophy, God is more music. God is not a theology, God is more poetry. God is not a hypothesis, it is more a dance. Start seeking God in these directions and you will be moving rightly, you will arrive home.
Follow music in the outer world and in the inner world. There is no need to go to any other temple, music is enough. Learn to listen to the music of existence: the wind passing through the pine trees, or the sound of water, or the ocean in a tremendous dance. Listen carefully, attentively, listen mindlessly, listen without thinking, so that it can penetrate to the very core of your being. And you will be surprised that what the Bible cannot give you, what the Gita cannot give you, music can give you.


Peaceflower (72) (@cosmicplur) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

Fellow almost buddhist, for the sake of argument I give you this “the more you talk about it, the less you understand”

Suppose art is a means of expression (wow what a stretch!)
But these expressions usually contain powerful messages, esp if its the right piece at just the right time. (synchronicity), and lets suppose someone takes these messages very seriously, maybe even too seriously, analyzes down to the bone and nitpicks every possible translation… then I believe music would becomeaa distraction, for that person. The question is, a distraction from what?

Enjoyment without thinking, is all I can really come up with.

DaJetPlane (994)M (@lytning91) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

“The question is, a distraction from what?”[email protected]

This is exactly what I was thinking, man. Beast mode.

R.Alvarado89 (2) (@ralvarado89) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

Herbie Hancock, one of the greatest musicians of our time, claims to be a practicing Nichiren Buddhist. “Life is about being in the present moment. It’s about being able to have the courage to be in the moment.” I think musicians, and music listeners spend more time in the moment than most people. I believe that music is a form of meditation that focuses your mind on the present moment. When listening or creating music, your focus must be on the immediate past, the present moment, and the immediate future all at once. If music is a distraction, then meditation practice can be considered a distraction as well.

Anonymous (202) (@) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

@ralvarado89, That will be the true state of a meditator – the one who will be creative outside and meditative inside. :)

Dan (890) (@danfontaine) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

Music = Sex
They can both detract from your potential. Not listening to music, not being constantly entertained/satisfied in general, is how you can gain clear sight of what you really want and you will sprout drive that you didn’t know you had. My 2 cents.

Dan (890) (@danfontaine) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

I like to think about human nature before electronics. Music was a rare gift to the senses. It would have been wondrous and transcending whenever you came across it, the way it should be.

Anonymous (202) (@) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

Both meditation and musical-training do have positive effects on structural brain development, Meditation techniques do work, and with effort average individuals can push themselves ahead in consciousness to the equivalent of 10%, 20%, or even 30% of a fully enlightened state. Consciousness comes in degrees of intensity and fullness, and it is far better to be 30% enlightened than not enlightened at all. Tibetan Buddhists take 4 and 5 year old boys and stick them into monasteries in order to grow their brains to become enlightened monks like so many hothouse tomatoes. This strategy works to some degree due to the neuroplastic nature of the brain. If you start early enough, while the central nervous system is still forming, you can grow the brain to function in a way that is conducive to meditation.

Music study on the brain:

Sean LeBlanc (76) (@bongodeburrito) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

@ralvarado89, I do consider music to be a form of meditation. A collective meditation, where all that is happening is the music that fills the room. Each person plays a part, a part of the whole and its all coming together right then, right there.

Michelle (17) (@adiaphora) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

I don’t think music itself is negative, maybe some of the messages in the lyrics could be, but that’s not the issue. I think that any music, no matter the genre, be it death metal or country has a positive impact on people. It may not always influence them to do the right thing, but everyone one of us can relate to a song. It is a method of communication and connecting with others on an intimate level. A songwriter pours out their experiences on paper, so others can relate and appreciate. When a person has a hard time connecting to other people, they can connect to music and the language that’s inside of it. The universe is even made out of music, everything is vibrating at it’s own tone, it’s own note. Hell, supposedly the big bang vibrations left in space create a Bb!
A distraction? What’s the harm in enjoying the beauties of our world? We all have a purpose or a job that we have to fulfill, but listening to music won’t completely derail your purpose. At least, that’s my opinion. Music can be used to serve as a tool in achieving whatever spiritual growth you wish to accomplish- shamanic drumming patterns, meditation music, and even the Beatles! They gave so much insight and spiritual awakening just through music.
Yet, I can understand how it can be a distraction if it is written for no other meaning but to create profit, like some people who can make millions off of writing about ‘bitches and hoes’…. That’s a misuse of music.

Anonymous (202) (@) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

Even Extreme Metal would be appropriate for this!:

Cathartic Dancing Meditation

Cathartic Dancing Meditation is a cosmic powerhouse that can be used by students in good health with a normal cardiovascular system. As it is a physically strenuous exercise, one should get a complete physical examination by a competent doctor before experimenting with this technique. Explain the method to your doctor and ask if it would be physically dangerous for you to do. He won’t understand your motives for wanting to do it but he can tell you if he thinks your body and heart can safely handle it. As with jogging or mountain climbing, you must practice this method at your own risk.

Cathartic Dancing Meditation is similar to Rajneesh Dynamic Meditation but is simpler, easier to do, and is more likely to keep you interested month after month, year after year. Neither method is really new. Sufis, Druids, and countless other esoteric and tribal cultures have used similar techniques for centuries. Most students will benefit from doing Cathartic Dancing Meditation daily for a period of between one and five years. After five years it has usually done its job and the student can move on to more subtle techniques.

Cathartic Dancing Meditation changes you from head to toe and benefits all the other meditation methods you may practice. It also helps develop a powerful hara center. I am reluctant to bring up the subject of kundalini (see definition near the bottom of the page) because of the common misrepresentations of its manifestations. I feel compelled to inform you, however, that this physically vigorous meditation method is the most powerful kundalini awakening technique I know of. Cathartic Dancing Meditation has three stages and lasts for forty minutes.

Stage #1 (ten minutes) Start by standing with your eyes closed and breathe deep and fast through your nose continuously. If you are only physically capable of doing deep breathing for five minutes then reduce the length of the first stage without feeling guilty. Remember that you are doing this method to help your meditation, not to physically injure yourself. Allow your body to move freely as you breathe. You can jump up and down, sway back and forth, or use any physical motion that helps you pump more oxygen into your lungs.

Stage #2 (twenty minutes) The second stage is a celebration of catharsis and wild and spontaneous dancing. Let go totally and act as an ancient human dancing in tribal celebration. Energetic, nonverbal background music is highly recommended. African tribal drum music works especially well. You may roll on the ground and do strange spontaneous body movements. Allow the body to move within the limits of not hurting yourself or others. For once in your life screaming is encouraged. You must act out any anger you may have in a safe way, such as beating the earth with your hands. All the suppressed emotions from your subconscious mind are to be released. If at anytime during the second stage you feel that your energy level is starting to decline you can resume deep and fast breathing to give yourself a boost.

Stage #3 (ten minutes) This stage is complete relaxation and quiet. Flop down on your back, get comfortable, and just let go. Be as if a dead man totally surrendered to the cosmos. Enjoy the tremendous energy you have unleashed in the first two stages and be a silent witness to it. Observe the feeling of the ocean flowing into the drop. Become the ocean.

This spontaneous dancing meditation technique is intended to grow with the student and change as the student changes. After a few years of vigorously practicing this method, the first two stages of the meditation may drop away spontaneously. You may then begin the meditation by taking a few deep breaths and immediately go deep into the ecstasy of the third stage. If practiced correctly this method is health giving and fun.

WARNING: Obviously one must practice Cathartic Dancing Meditation in a safe location and not near the edge of a cliff or on a hard surface where one might fall and break one’s skull. A large room or hall with thick carpeting is good. Outdoors in the early morning on a soft and well tended lawn with group participation is best. Do it on an empty stomach and avoid falling into dangerous objects such as windows. It is allowable to briefly open one’s eyes occasionally to maintain your location. Create a safety zone around your dancing and spontaneous body movements. Be courteous to neighbors and delete the screaming if it will be heard by others.

Almost all Westerners are head oriented and emotionally repressed. For us a chaotic, spontaneous, and emotionally cleansing technique like Cathartic Dancing Meditation is vital for serious progress to be made quickly. The physical benefits of this technique obviate any need for hatha yoga or traditional kundalini yoga methods. Cathartic Dancing Meditation is so multidimensional in its effects and benefits that it deserves the designation of a super-method.

* Definition: kundalini (k¢n´de-lê´nê) noun of Hindu origin. Physical and sexual energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine is activated through esoteric kundalini practice. This energy is directed through the kundalini channel in the etheric body upward to the top of the head.

– Christopher Calder

Sean LeBlanc (76) (@bongodeburrito) 9 years, 7 months ago ago

@tigerturban, I think I’m going to try that at some point.

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