Music is very much a part of every culture on the planet. An attraction to music is a natural part of human society. Every one loves listening to music, playing music, singing and dancing. If you play music around small children immediately they start to move with the music. This even takes place with animals on occasion. We can not, in fact, separate music from our own lives as individuals or as a society. To incorporate music with meditation, therefore, makes for a natural and very potent practice.
There are different types of meditation and relaxation techniques which use sound. The one that i would like to briefly discuss in this article is called kirtan. Kirtan is the call and response singing of mantras with musical accompaniment. There is one person who is leading the kirtan, and they sing a mantra first. Then everybody else responds. Very easy. What makes kirtan a meditation and not just a performance is the use of mantras which have a spiritual quality. In the texts of yoga, it is described that there are certain sounds which are spiritual in nature, and have the ability to touch us on the spiritual level. The mantras we use for kirtan possess this spiritual quality. There are different mantras for different purposes, but we will not go into that here. The use of these mantras is what makes this a meditation. When you do kirtan meditation, the focus is on the sound of the mantras, by listening and singing.
The music carries the mantras, so to speak, and sets the mood for the kirtan. A kirtan can have different moods. Relaxing, peaceful, heartfelt, fast and energetic, ecstatic, or anything in between. Also, kirtan can be done with any style of music from any culture, setting the mood specific to the people in a given place. Any instrument can be used as well, but ones where you can sing while playing are usually best.
Kirtan is very easy and fun to do. It takes our natural tendency for music, singing, and dancing, combined with the potency of spiritual mantras, to make for a powerful meditation that can be done anywhere and with anyone! Check out the below link to some of this meditation music and kirtan, and visit our free programs to experience it for yourself live!
Wishing you the best!
We get together for Kirtan in Salt Lake city each week. Meditation classes in Salt Lake City.