Music has the undeniable power to stir one’s feelings, owing to its emotive lyrical and melodic content. In fact, you can even argue that it produces the same range of feelings that meditation does. However, listening to music during meditation might not be the best idea—as music is more of a form of relaxation and meditation is more than that. Beyond relaxation, meditation is about helping you improve your focus and reflect more deeply. There are other forms of meditation music, however, that can help make meditation more enriching.
Although meditation music is not part of traditional meditation, there’s nothing that stops you from indulging in it while you’re not meditating. Listening to music can in itself be a form of meditation—just like any other activity, such as walking or lying down. In other words, you can treat music as a meditation object and experience the rush of calm, concentration, and bliss.
However, as you use music as a form of meditation, do not perform any other activity, such as working or reading. Concentrate wholeheartedly on the music and put your entire soul into it. This means turning off the phone and even darkening the room.
There are a vast majority of natural sounds—the still flowing of the river, the chirping of the birds, and the rustling of the trees—that can accompany meditation. These often take place when the Buddha is meditating. However, for those living in urban areas, these natural sounds would rarely be heard. Listening to recordings of such sounds can enrich the meditation experience.
Meditation Music: What Works and What Won’t
Also, natural sounds are more random and less “catchy” than music, and the mind is less likely to become attached to and distracted by them. So at worst I’d say that natural recordings do no harm, while at best they may help us to fill a need for the experience of natural sound. Music on the other hand is likely to be a distraction, or to artificially produce pleasant feelings, thus preventing us from finding those pleasant feelings from within. (Read more here)
If you must insist on listening to music while meditating, perhaps natural sounds are your best choice. The mind will not be distracted by them as much as other sounds and it will even help you reach deep within and experience the beauty of meditation.