a man meditating to his favorite song through headphones

How To Meditate: Alternatives to Traditional Mediation

Meditation has always been something that I’ve never quite been able to grasp. The thought of just sitting in a quiet space and counting my breaths, repeating a single word, or just listening to a repeating rhythm honestly sounds like a nightmare.

I don’t find these things calming and honestly, they tend to be distracting, for me.

I’ve always wanted to pursue meditation, even before I began my journey with The Craft, but I couldn’t find a way to make it work for me. Then, as I was trying to be proactive in a situation that was really bringing me down I found something that worked for me.

What Is The Correct Way To Meditate?

Trick question – much like Witchcraft and Spiritualism, there is no single, right way to meditate. People are each in different places in their lives; some are beginners to the idea of meditations while others are adepts. It’s important to recognize that every Witch is different, and different styles work for each person.

Each day, even our own attention spans differ, sometimes to the point where if we can only manage a few minutes of quiet time. Those few moments are better than no moments, and honestly, I know I don’t always have time for a 30-minute meditation bender.

Aurora has a favorite phrase that’s loosely based on a Zen proverb, “If you don’t have time to meditate, it’s time to meditate.”

If you’re like me and long meditation sessions sound horrible, there are many types of shorter, beneficial meditation that you can explore.

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Non-Traditional Meditations: What Are 5 Ways To Meditate?

Bite-sized is sometimes best, and baby steps help us move towards larger goals. These meditation techniques are really good ways to help refocus and center yourself when you literally only have two minutes to meditate.

These meditation techniques can be done in 30 seconds or for as long as you need:

  1. Mindfulness Training: the practice of spending just a few moments paying attention to the present moment.
  2. Guided Meditation: the practice of listening to an open-ended narration helps pull your attention away from current thoughts.
  3. Body Scan: the practice of mentally checking in with each body part and asking how it’s doing or what it needs.
  4. Resting Awareness: the practice of acknowledging a thought or problem and letting it pass.
  5. Music or Sound Bath Meditation: the practice of letting music or sounds wash over your body and watching your visualizations like a music video.

I’m musically inclined, so technique five is the way to go for me.

As I noted before, the idea of counting my breaths or repeating a single word is not for me. Neither are gongs and bells. So, don’t feel like you have to listen to nature sounds or singing bowls to relax.

Instead, be like me. Make meditation your own thing. Pick music that truly makes you feel relaxed. It can be anything. The universe is your oyster.

Non-Traditional Meditations: Your Favorite Music

Yes, you can use your favorite music to meditate. I know because it works for me. Trust me, you don’t have to listen to wooden flutes to find peace. It can be such a natural process that you don’t even realize you’re meditating.

A few years ago, I was in a situation with my job where I was not in a good mental space. My work continued to bleed into my personal life, and I had next to zero work/life balance.

I found myself sinking into a really bad depression.

To counteract this and bring some balance back to my life, I began searching for a new professional opportunity, and I began a new ritual to start my days.

In the mornings, after I got dressed and made a cup of coffee, I would head up to my home office, sit in my chair, set my intention, and listen to a song.

This song was Slow Dancing in the Dark by Joji.

My music meditation process:

  1. I would light a single white tea light.
  2. I thought about my personal healing.
  3. I thought about my desire for a new professional situation.
  4. I would listen to the song through my headphones.
  5. While listening, I would try to visualize the lyrics of the song or even replay the accompanying music video in my head to give my mind a second to truly focus on one thing.

The more I did this, the more I found myself having an easier time truly visualizing the song. I felt weightlessness in my physical body.

As soon as the song was over, my brain felt so much more clear. The following workdays were much more manageable.

When I told my wife, Aurora, that I was doing this activity each day she told me that I was pretty much practicing meditation each day.

This absolutely blew my mind.

I couldn’t believe that I had found a way, finally, to make meditation work for me without it being those things that I didn’t enjoy.

Since I started this non-conventional form of meditation, I’ve expanded this outward. I’ve begun to dive deeper into my practice.

Now, I more frequently use the song Pneuma by Tool as my meditation song when I need it.

There is an amazing video of the drummer, Danny Carey, playing this song live that I use to bring myself back into focus as I visualize.

Finding Your Way With Meditation

While this method might not work for you, take it as inspiration to find something that will.

Meditation, especially in the context of The Craft, is easily open to interpretation. If you find that you are having a hard time getting into a meditative state with counting breaths, instrumental music, or even guided meditation I highly recommend using music you like to experiment with.

I would definitely recommend using something more on the calmer side of music but that is definitely objective. Tool isn’t going to be considered “calm” by most people.

Make sure that the music you choose to try out has an element to it that you can easily visualize in your mind. Visualization, in whatever way that means to you, is key to this process in helping you reach a meditative state.

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