Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Tink_HeadphonesAlmost in every conversation the word “mindful” pops up. It could be because of the circles I’m running it but I do think it’s the latest buzz word – driven perhaps by the ongoing desire for “self-help” or “lifehackers” amplified by the our digital communication channels. Maybe I’m just getting old and this is what happens.

I’ve listened to many podcasts from meditation, wellness, naturopathy and dedicated mindful podcast but I just didn’t quite get it. It seems to mean to be very / hyper aware of YOU and your surroundings – to take a moment and take stock of your breathing, tension in your muscles, your interactions with something (not normally email though!).

It wasn’t until I decided to be mindful with some music that it clicked so I thought I’d share. It’s quite simple which is what you’d expect!

Step 1 – grab some headphones. Being a part-time audiophile I recommend some good quality headphones that allow you to hear all the nuances of the music.

Step 2 – choose a song. In this case I recommend one that you  are very familiar with, an old classic that you could put your hand on your heart and say “I know that song”.

Step 3 – play the song. But instead of listening for and to the dominant noise i.e. the vocals, the guitar riff or the deep base, listen for that background noise behind the dominant sounds.

Step 4 – focus on that. Listen for it. Keenly anticipate it. It might come and go, you might even switch which sound but the idea is to drill into the one noise.

When I did this I found a new fascination for the song. I started to feel like I was pushing aside the dominant noises and look behind them. I wondered why the artist choose to put that noise there – there must be a purpose right? Or maybe it  was leftover from the production and they didn’t remove it? Or did someone else suggest they put it there?

This train of thought reminds me of the idea of ‘processes for process’ sake, or what someone once called ‘wallpaper’ at work (layers and layers of redundant stuff). We all know we do things at work because that’s how it’s always been done. Joe before me did it, John over there does it, and group-think settles in with no-one challenging it.

Maybe this epiphany of mindfulness through music will train my mind more to look beyond the dominant noise at work and focus in on what’s behind it. It’s a loose connection from a background noise in a song to the real the meaning of a task  or work but perhaps mindfulness is actually all about changing the way we look at things.