Meditation isn’t just sitting quietly and emptying your mind. It can also take the form of mindfulness, of being fully present in the moment. In my book, The Five-Minute Meditation Solution, I talk about moving meditations, such as taking a walk. However, anything that you remain fully present for in the moment can be a type of meditation. For me, that includes playing my clarinet.
I’m still very much an amateur. The last time I seriously practiced was a few decades ago when I was in middle school and junior high. Though I’m not quite in the beginner’s books, I’m finding working in my “intermediate” lesson books from that time helps to refresh my skills. I’m also dealing with fibro fog (cognitive issues caused by fibromyalgia) and getting my mind to talk to my fingers so I can play the right notes sometimes can be a challenge. That’s where the musical meditation comes into play.
The exercises I’m working on right now are for articulation and expression. A lot of note changes and moving up and down the scales using various intervals. It’s very repetitious work, but that also makes it good for becoming focused on the moment. I must pull my attention back to the music in order to play the correct notes.
Much like in meditation where you observe your breath or observe your thoughts, this returning my mind to the task is a great practice for being mindful as well as for those other types of meditation. When my mind is focused and the mind-finger connection is working properly, I become one with the music. Everything else fades away as I work through the exercises. This, for me, is why I love playing the clarinet, even if I have lost quite a bit of skill in the intervening decades, and why it has become one of my favorite forms of meditation.
If you used to play an instrument, I encourage you to pick it up again, to see if you can quiet your mind of all thoughts and just focus on the music. See how that meditation works for you.