Let’s start with what meditation is.
Meditation is an ancient Buddhist, Hindu, Yogic and Taoist practice meant to bring focus and a stillness to the mind. By concentrating on the breathe and/or controlling the inhale and exhale, meditation can bring you into the present moment.
There are several different types of meditation that have been develop over the centuries. Vipassana, Pranayama, Mindful, and Transcendental to name a few.
Vipassana is also referred to insight meditation and has been used by Buddhist monks to ages. Buddha himself speaks about this type of meditation in the Dhammapada – the book of Buddha’s teachings. In Vipassana meditation you focus on the inhale and exhale of the breathe to still the mind and bring calmness.
Pranayama is a Yogic type of breathing that brings focus to the mind. there are different types of breathing methods in Pranayama that also bring other heath benefits, but we’ll just focus on the effect of the mind. Unlike Vipassana though, the breathing in Pranayama is controlled in a specific way.
In Mindful meditation, the focus is on the body and the sensations that you are feeling in the present moment. It is a way of not only bringing focus to the mind, but also an awareness to body. Mindful meditation is mostly associated with the Zen Buddhist monks.
Trancendental is different in that the focus and stillness that it brings come from a specific word or sound that is repeating either in the mind or aloud. The sound that is given to you from a person qualified to teach Transcendental is specific to each person. By repeating or chanting the world or sound, it bring focus and calmness to the mind and brings higher states of consciousness.
Getting Into The Zone
Ok, so what does all that have to do with playing bass, or music in general?
We’ve been there before, playing a gig, and everything just seems to be working. We’re playing things that we never thought of, like we’re trying to catch up with our fingers. We all know the “zone” when we’re in it. But what exactly is the “zone”?
Essentially the “zone” is when we are in that exact moment in time and no where else. Our minds are strictly focus on what we are playing and what is happening in that moment in time.The present moment is the only thin that is important, everything else has fallen to wayside.
How meditation helps with that is by training the mind to be in the present moment at all times. By bringing a focus, stillness, and calmness to our already busy minds, it allows us to get into the “zone” easier. For musicians, that one moment on stage is like the life blood to us all. To be able to cherish and relish in that moment at that exact time is one of the best feelings. Meditation helps to bring that type of focus to the mind so that we may be able to more often.
Give it a try. You don’t have to sit in meditation for a long time. Science has shown that even five minutes day can help to bring a focus and clarity to the mind that wasn’t there before.
Please leave any comments about your experiences or stories that you may have below. If you have questions, feel free to leave those as well. I’ll do my best to answer them for you.