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Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:26 pm
by BeingBoring
Hi.

so this is my first post in this group. I have a question for people more knowledgeable than me. Is listening to music while doing something else a good idea? I wonder what do you know about what your tradition or the traditions you know say about this. I'm talking about:

a) listening to music while doing stuff like cleaning or ordering the house. In this case, energetic music.

b) listening to music while studying. In this case, relaxing music or classical music. (Bach, Beethoven's & Vivaldi's softest pieces; Buddhist bowls).

Thanks!

Re: Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 12:17 am
by Tlalok
Abstention from listening to and performing music is part of the eight precepts kept on holy days in most Buddhist traditions. But, there's no one stopping you from listening to music in your daily life unless you are a monk. It's a good idea to reflect on why it is included in the precepts, and really think hard about how it benefits you on the path though.

Re: Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:48 am
by madhusudan
By virtue of your question, I assume you have misgivings, perhaps because of reading of the detriments of listening to music while engaged in other activities or maybe by an innate sense that it could be better to forego music. The negative aspect that I've heard of is that one might lose mindfulness of the activity one was engaged in. That's a possibility, but then again you might also lose mindfulness without listening to music. Apart from directly asking your teacher, it's up to you to determine how much that is going on if at all. Some tunes, like dharma melodies, might increase awareness.

With that said, from my own view there seems to be a general proclivity in our times to seeking constant distraction with smartphones and other forms of digital entertainment. Being a bit older, it does strike me when I observe nearly everyone on the bus seemingly mesmerized by one device or another.

If you have any sense that applies to you, why not give a chance to silence and see how it goes?

Re: Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:07 pm
by Motova
Generally one's working (short term) memory can only handle seven to eleven objects at once. In some situations listening to music might regulate one's overwhelmed working memory, in this case it is good... otherwise it is just a distraction....

Re: Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:07 pm
by Aryjna
I don't think it is a matter of foregoing music in the sense of a Theravada monk foregoing music. But usually, when you put music on, while doing something else or while using the bus etc., you do it to distract yourself from your surroundings. If trying to be mindful at all times, it seems much better not to add extra stuff. You can also listen to music later after finishing cleaning, and be mindful while listening to music.

Re: Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:28 pm
by Sennin
BeingBoring wrote: Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:26 pm Hi.

so this is my first post in this group. I have a question for people more knowledgeable than me. Is listening to music while doing something else a good idea? I wonder what do you know about what your tradition or the traditions you know say about this. I'm talking about:

a) listening to music while doing stuff like cleaning or ordering the house. In this case, energetic music.

b) listening to music while studying. In this case, relaxing music or classical music. (Bach, Beethoven's & Vivaldi's softest pieces; Buddhist bowls).

Thanks!
I often listen to music while studying, usually different ragas played on sitar and sarangi.

Re: Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:50 pm
by mechashivaz
It's an excellent idea, the sounds become ornaments of experience. It can be a tool as well, choosing the proper music for an event, ie, hard music for a work out, ambients for study, etc.

Re: Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:03 pm
by 明安 Myoan
It depends on your intention for doing so.

Re: Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:35 am
by BeingBoring
Thanks everyone for your answer.

Indeed I have misgivings.

I have chronic pain and listening to talks or music in the background distracts me, literally, from the pain. A little bit. But of course distraction is against mindfulness. But as much as I try meditation and mindfulness it has become very very difficult and I don't do it that much anymore. So, I wanted to know what are the official positions on this anyway.

Maybe I should try to be more mindful, and turn off the music, but it's very very difficult.

Re: Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:50 am
by 明安 Myoan
Have you considered using a mantra instead?
I suggest it because if you have an attraction to music, something auditory may hold your attention just as well.
Not only is a mantra a wholesome object to divert attention away from pain, but they offer additional benefits due to their association with various buddhas.

Popular choices that anyone can start with are "om mani peme hung", Chenrezig's mantra, or simply reciting "Amitabha Buddha".
In your case, since you're dealing with chronic pain, it might be worthwhile to look into the Medicine Buddha as well.

There are ample teachings on all of these buddhas and their mantras, including threads on Dharma Wheel.

I hope you can experience relief from the pain. :group:

Re: Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:44 am
by Motova
BeingBoring wrote: Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:35 am Thanks everyone for your answer.

Indeed I have misgivings.

I have chronic pain and listening to talks or music in the background distracts me, literally, from the pain. A little bit. But of course distraction is against mindfulness. But as much as I try meditation and mindfulness it has become very very difficult and I don't do it that much anymore. So, I wanted to know what are the official positions on this anyway.

Maybe I should try to be more mindful, and turn off the music, but it's very very difficult.
To be honest chronic pain is very personal and subjective... you need to create a dialogue between you, your doctor(s) and your teacher(s) to see what is best for your goals in life and death.

Re: Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:08 am
by Motova
Motova wrote: Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:44 am
BeingBoring wrote: Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:35 am Thanks everyone for your answer.

Indeed I have misgivings.

I have chronic pain and listening to talks or music in the background distracts me, literally, from the pain. A little bit. But of course distraction is against mindfulness. But as much as I try meditation and mindfulness it has become very very difficult and I don't do it that much anymore. So, I wanted to know what are the official positions on this anyway.

Maybe I should try to be more mindful, and turn off the music, but it's very very difficult.
To be honest chronic pain is very personal and subjective... you need to create a dialogue between you, your doctor(s) and your teacher(s) to see what is best for your goals in life and death.
Regardless of whether your chronic pain is reversible or not, you need to optimize the quality of your life. Obviously you have things you want done, but then at the same time your attention, energy, and time is limited by chronic pain. You are trying to overcome these limits with music. Is that the best short term? Is that best long term? Is it good for success in life? Is it good for success in death? You need to think about your quality of life. Are certain things worth doing if you can't do them mindfully or if you need to poison your body? Maybe you should do less chores and/or study/work less.

Re: Listening to music while doing something else: good idea?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 9:15 am
by Yellow_13
It's sure that the ideal solution would be to spend less time working or doing other stressful things, but sometimes you don't really have a choice, unless you want to have to choose between rent and food. I'm not in this situation, but I used to be, and in such a case, resting is close to a death sentence.
In these situations, listening to music you like while working is a short-term ersatz of fun that can keep you going in these bad moments: you don't have time to rest, meditate or do something you like, so sprinkle some pleasure in the forum of music on your work, so that it it isn't just stress and difficulty in your life.$
Of course, it's far from being ideal, but it makes the hard times go down a little easier.