My 13-year-old son reluctantly dragged himself into our car, harrumphing with frustration that he had to endure a 1.5 hour car journey with me, even though he would then be spending the day with his close friend.
My son loves listening to music and he decided to listen to a whole range of music on our journey. Not only that, he also decided to sing the lyrics, or make them up as he went along; with his low, booming voice. Initially I noticed my unhelpful, judgemental thoughts arise about how thoroughly awful this journey would be, wishing life were different
“I just want to have a quiet and peaceful journey – why is he so loud and out of tune….he doesn’t even know the words…he used to be sooo cute…!!”
Resisting the urge to react and just tell him to STOP, I decided to turn my attention instead to the sensations of tightness, tension and unease in my tummy and shoulders and with an attitude of caring for myself, I gently felt the ever-changing feelings, which then started to subside as I softened around them with my soothing breath.
This allowed me to come out of my own ego driven mind and instead I focussed my attention on my son, who was by now dancing to the music, filled with joy and longing for me to smile at him with acceptance. I noticed that he seemed so free, alive in the present moment, unbothered by how he sounded, dancing with enthusiasm and happiness. It seemed that the music and his decision to sing and dance had had a significant impact on his mood. I too felt great happiness as I shared his experience – it was indeed so great to spend such precious moments with him. I wondered why I had ever wanted life to be so different earlier.
After a lovely day spent with our friends, we were back in the car with the music immediately playing again, but this time he chose music that was quieter and calmer. Once again, his mood reflected the music as he too was calm, peaceful and content and so was I.
As a result of this experience, I wondered if listening to a guided Mindfulness practice with background music might have a similar soothing and calming effect for some people, although I know that music is a very personal thing. Some people may find it intensely annoying having music playing in the background, whilst others may find it soothing and helpful in terms of focus and feeling calm.
I have been working with my brother-in-law who is a musician and kindly composed a piece of music for one of my guided practices. You might find it interesting to observe your own physical and emotional responses whilst practising Mindfulness with music. I’ve also included the link for just the music without any Mindfulness guidance as another option.