How do you choose the best meditation music? Baroque music is often recommended, and particular pieces may have the right number of beats-per-minute to alter your brainwaves. But more on that in a moment. The science isn’t that settled in this area yet, and you may find that any music which you don’t enjoy will just distract you rather than help your meditative state.
Personal experimentation is called for then. You can start with baroque if you like. Compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach are commonly recommended. Try “Prelude from Cello Suite” or “Allemande” (Cello Suite 3). Frederick Handel’s music works well for many as well.
But you don’t have to limit your experimentation to classical music. Meditation music can include Jazz, guitar and Indian sitar compositions too. Gregorian chants are used by some, as are CDs with the sounds of nature mixed in with the music. We’re all unique enough that different things will work better for each of our meditation practices.
However, there is one element that can really improve meditation music. It is the addition of “binaural beats.” These are cyclic pulsations caused by having the same notes or sounds on an audio recording, but slightly out of tune with each other. The effect is to “entrain” your brainwaves, meaning they begin to follow the beats. This technology of “brainwave entrainment” has been around for a couple decades now, but it is being used more often now.
The idea is that the beats in the music will slow your brainwaves down so you go from the normal waking or “Beta” state of consciousness (14 to 30 hertz) to and “Alpha” brainwave state (8 – 14 hertz) or deeper. The alpha state is one of relaxed alertness, and is considered a light meditative state. The “Theta” state (4 – 8 hertz) is one of deeper meditation – if you stay awake (drowsiness is common).
Do this kind of meditation music work? My wife and I have tried several different products, and yes, brainwave entrainment works. My meditation CDs quickly put me into a relaxed meditative state, and the ones designed to synchronize brainwaves to the theta range (4 – 8 hertz) either facilitate deep meditation or, if I am laying down, put me to sleep. My wife found greater self awareness and less stress as results of listening as well.
So which is the best meditation music? Many kinds may work well. But what is added to the music may be the most important thing.