Focus, Intention, Release, Express: FIRE Meditation
If you are a meditator, chances are that at one time or another, you’ve
meditated with instrumental music playing in the background. Most of us
have probably participated in a yoga class where music was playing in
the background. Music can help us relax and enhance our experiences. In
the case of meditation, music can help to fill the silence and to mask
distracting ambient sounds around us. And, let’s face it, music is just
nice to have playing while we’re going about our day. But, have you
considered to have music be the actual object of focus in your
Any practice that you perform which can help slow your active mind and
bring you to a peaceful, calm and focused state can be considered a
meditative practice. That might involve sitting on a cushion with your
eyes closed, or practicing yoga, or taking a walk. Really, any of your
daily tasks can be a meditative practice. The key is to be truly focused
on the present moment, bringing your full attention to the task at hand
and releasing that constant journey of rehashing of the past or worrying
about the future that your brain takes you on. Listening to music can be
one of those activities that brings you to a focused meditative state.
But if you’re going to use music as a meditation practice, then really
put your attention on the music. Don’t be doing some other work or
activity while you’re meditating with music.
I would like to suggest you try a 4-step music meditation practice that
I call “FIRE” which stands for Focus, Intention, Release, Express. It
could be a short 4-minute meditation which spends just one minute on
each step. Or, it could be longer, like a 10 to 30 minute or longer
meditation, dividing the time equally among the 4 steps. But before we
begin, let’s select some music.
relaxing. But meditation is much more than finding bliss and being
relaxed. It is a tool to help us become more focused and productive in
our everyday life that also helps us to act from a place of courage and
wisdom rather than just reacting to what happens around us. Accordingly,
music for meditation need not just be slow and quiet. It can also be
rhythmic, active and energizing. I would, however, recommend that you
meditate with instrumental music rather than vocal music so that you
aren’t drawn into a story created by lyrics.
The instrumental music could be anything. I recommend music from my
album “Dreamtime” that I created with drummer Martin McCall. It contains
a mix of slower and more energetic pieces that work well for meditation,
and yoga and tai chi, for that matter. Many of the songs on this album
are 5-6 minutes long. For a shorter meditation, just select one song.
For a 20 to 25 minute meditation play four songs, one song for each step
in the FIRE practice. (Dreamtime is readily available from Amazon,
iTunes, Google Play, my website and most other online music sources.)
Turn down the lights. Turn off the phone. Start the music. Sit or lie
down in a quiet place. Breathe…
1. Focus. Bring your focus to your breathing and to the music. Listen to
the music. Don’t try to analyze the music or follow the melodies. Just
listen and focus on the music itself. If your mind wanders and starts
making up stories about the music or if you become distracted, just
acknowledge that you are distracted, breathe and bring your focus back
to listening to the music. Follow the breath… Breathing in… Breathing
2. Intention. During this step, focus on a positive intention. For
example, if the intention is “gratitude,” bring to mind a person, thing
or experience in your life that you are grateful for, and silently say
in your mind “For you I am grateful,” or “For this I am grateful.” Then
move on to the next person, thing or experience and express gratitude.
Continue this practice throughout this step in the process. Don’t forget
to offer gratitude to yourself.
3. Release. This step is a return to the first step. We return our focus
back to the music and breathing, but now resting in the fact that our
positive intentions are being realized.
4. Express. In this step, I give several choices. If you like, just
mindfully enjoy the music. Or do yoga, stretching, dance or other body
movement. If writing is your passion, journal freely. If you draw or
paint, allow your hands to create without direction.
When the music stops, your meditation practice is done. Drink some water
and ease gently back into your daily routine. Experiment with this
practice. Even though I suggest dividing the time up equally between the
steps, you can try different time allocations. For example, you could
spend 3 minutes on each of the first three steps and then spend 50
minutes on step 4, mindfully dancing, drawing, writing or some other
creative or expressive activity. The key being that you are fully
focused on the activity you are performing.
Enjoy the music!
Cornell Kinderknecht is an award-winning recording artist and Grammy
nominee. He is also a meditation facilitator and co-director of the
Dallas Meditation Center. He frequently facilitates meditations with
live music. To learn more about Cornell and his music, visit his website
at www.cornellk.com Visit www.DallasMeditationCenter.com to learn more
about the Dallas Meditation Center and the classes offered there.
Painted Sky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0zl3U79BdI
Canyon Sunrise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RI86CDksTE
My People: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvOM79vOtQs