I like my music loud and preferably some sort of alternative, 1990s grunge rock, typically Pearl Jam and yeah, did I mention it has to be loud? I take my music in floods--I want the sounds to envelope me, embrace me and change my cells completely. I love the silence that comes from the noise--there is nothing to be heard except the song I am playing.
When I was about 6, I used to wait to hear Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper songs on the radio and tape them. When I was 13, it was New Kids on the Block. Then I one day, I saw a photo of Eddie Vedder on a magazine at the grocery store. I fell in love. The hair, the flannel and then I heard their song, "Jeremy." I was forever changed and a whole world of music revealed itself to me. Nirvana, Counting Crows, Live, Soundgarden, Green Day, Screaming Trees, Smashing Pumpkins.
My music was loud and frequent. It, at times, consumed me. My bedroom became a fortress of grunge. My father, who was in his 70s in the 1990s, stopped wearing his earring aid. My mother gave up trying to control the car radio. And I was happy.
What I never knew is that I was meditating this whole time. I did not figure it out until I was sitting in an Ayurveda class with the fantastic Corinne Corcoran. We spent most of the morning doing Kirtan with a Krishna Das CD. Kirtan is call and response devotional chanting--seemingly opposite of anything I had in my iPod.
I sat, closed my eyes and began singing along. At first, I felt like some freaky member of a 1960s commune in California-Om-ing and Hare Krishna-ing. I remember thinking, "If my mother knew I was doing this, she would totally freak." The thought of making my mother freak out led me to enjoy the kirtan even more (I live to terrify her. She loves it.). I joined in the tide of everyone's voices and suddenly I realized I had gone deeper into myself than ever before.
My intention was to meditate and the rich tones of Krishna Das pulled my mind away. The music drown out my wayward thoughts and drew me inward, to the present and to my truth. It was a game changer for me.
Music changes us on the cellular level. The smallest bits of our body move and clear the way for our minds to delve deeper. Music draws us to our truth. It is like this outer music revs up our inner music and urges us to listen. We all have different outer music that speaks to us--after all our souls are all different and crave different things.
I have two favorite songs to meditate to. First, is my old friend Pearl Jam and a newer song of theirs, Unthought Known. As Lily says, "This is a good song."Lyrically, it is beautiful. Pure poetry. Musically it is delicious. The music layers, bass, guitar, piano, until you are enveloped in the sweet center of a rich dessert. It is decadent. And it is true. Listen to Unthought Knownhere.
My second song is Mountain Hare Krishna by Krishna Das and Sting. Regardless of your faith, you can embrace kirtan. Words are just words--you give them an intention. As Corinne taught me, Hare Krishna can mean whatever you want. It is a tool to draw you deep within, closer to your truth and closer to God, whomever you believe God to be. For me as a Christian, I take Hare Krishna and focus my intention on Christ. Take a listen here to Mountain Hare Krishna.
Try my favorite songs. Pick your own. Listen to it loud. Sing along. Bring your kids. And meditate.