I was having one of those days when I can’t settle into anything. Having completed my appointments, cleaned the house and to do list, I was exhausted from a late night outing of ballroom dancing that was definitely fun and felt good physically. But the day had a sense of agitation for no reason and I felt so tired but couldn’t sleep. I wanted to just enjoy myself in the moment but there was something not at peace with myself. I sat down to read a book and was intrigued for a bit and fell into meditation or a dream state or a nap. Even there I was having a lot of images passing by in my mind and felt the agitation there as well. I just couldn’t seem to be comfortable with myself this day.
Then a friend reminded me to listen to the Opera that was on the radio in a live performance being broadcast from the Met . As I put on the radio, I picked up a survey from the mail and was sitting quietly in my kitchen and answering the survey questions as the radio hosts were talking. As the music started I was instantly drawn into the music. I love opera and I was transformed instantly.
What happened next was that I gave all my 100 % attention to listening and in doing so and I had a complete change of consciousness or a complete absorption into the present moment and forgot the “separate Me”. This started as a conscious choice but melded into moments of total oneness with higher consciousness and forgetfulness of the ego and mind and all that keeps us feeling separate. We often hear music in the background, or it is even an interference as a car drives by with someone blasting music that may not by our choice and is perceived as unpleasant. Sometimes we listen to music and like the words or the beat and we enjoy the song. But to give 100% attention to the joy of music by listening and do nothing else but listen was for me a transforming experience. It is the combination of the absence of distraction, the present moment, the focusing of the mind, the absorption of having a place to rest the mind that was so transforming. Giving ourselves over to a focused activity gives the mind a place to rest. Becoming absorbed in joy as Music is listened to with 100% attention can take you to a state of oneness with yourself and the world and bring peace to an unsettled day. It is this present moment consciousness that we strive for, that brings us peace.
There is a sutra from the ancient text the Vijnanabhairava or Divine Consciousness by Jaideva Singh, verse 73 that talks of these principles.
To quote the text: “When a yogi mentally becomes one with the incomparable joy of song and other objects, then of such a yogi, there is, because of the expansion of his mind, identity with that (i.e.with the incomparable joy) because he becomes one with it. The crux of this statement is on the meditation of the origination of the joy, and to meditate on the source of the joy which comes in small doses through all of life. Other examples of this source of joy are when we see an old friend, (rupa or visual) or a delicious food (rasa or taste) or an intimate connection (sparsa or contact). Perhaps you can think of other examples of sources of moments of joy in your life and meditate on them.”
Barbara Neiman is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Yoga and Mindfulness teacher, Body-Mind Centering Practitioner, and a National Presenter & Educator. She is the author of The Adopted Teen Workbook, My Calm Place Card Deck and Mindfulness and Yoga Skills for Children and Adolescents. She offers courses and coaching online and in-person to schools and agencies around the country.