The first time I meet a new energy work client, one of the first things I ask is whether they have a meditation practice. I almost always get a guilty look in return, like they know it’s something they should be doing, but aren’t. Most say they don't have time or just don't think it's something they can do. There seems to be a lot of pressure around the art of meditation and what that's expected to look like, leaving many feeling overwhelmed and intimidated by the process. But it doesn't have to be that way.
In the last Moonlight + Sage post about meditation, I shared a few of my favorite guided meditation apps like Headspace and Calm, which are great ways to ease into meditation. Many of these apps have free 7- and 10-day programs, so you can try them out and see if it's an approach that resonates with you.
But since that post, I’ve been using some new approaches to meditation, one of which I go back to so often – and is so easy – I felt it was worth sharing.
How to Meditate Like a Basic Witch
When Sheena Mannina and Amberleigh Carter (aka the “Basic Witches”, pictured above) were in Boston last fall, I participated in two of their group meditation events. Until this time, I had only meditated on my own (unstructured) or with an app. I had never just selected a song on my iPhone and used it as the basis of my meditation. But this is how Sheena and Amberleigh led both meditations...and I absolutely loved it.
For each meditation, they chose two songs and the combined time (~10 minutes) seemed optimal for beginners or group meditations. And each brought up very different experiences and emotions. Here are two songs that really resonated:
- ‘You Learn’ by Alanis Morrisette (Now my “Holy Good Mood!” meditation song): You know those songs you haven’t heard in forever, but the minute you listen, you realize that – not only do you still know every word – you are taken back to a specific time and space that is filled with so much emotion you can’t help but get all the feels? That is exactly what this song did. I instantly felt overwhelmed with happiness. The visions I saw in my head during this meditation were of a happier, lighter, more carefree version of myself. Later that night, when I was reflecting on the experience and how this song put me in such a positive mood, I remembered it was this song I used to listen to with my best group of girlfriends from my hometown when we were at a young and carefree age. Today, I’ll listen to ‘You Learn’ in the car when I'm in need of an instant mood boost. The song doesn’t conjure up memories of those girlfriends – as great as those memories are. Instead, I think back to that night during our first group meditation, sitting on the floor of Btone listening to this song again for the first time in maybe a decade envisioning a different, more carefree version of myself, one with less day-to-day stress and worry. And it feels so damn good every time.
- ‘Kind and Generous’ by Natalie Merchant (Now my “Grab a Tissue” meditation song): When Sheena played this song during our second group meditation a couple nights later, she urged us to listen to the words in the song as if we were saying them to ourselves. Unlike ‘You Learn,’ this song made me instantly start fighting back tears. Have you listened to the lyrics lately? If you work hard every day to be a good person/friend/wife/mother/sister/girlfriend/coworker/etc. and feel like sometimes you just need to hear someone say, “thank you,” “you’re doing a good job” or “you are enough,” then do yourself a favor and listen to this song during your next meditation. Take Sheena’s advice and listen to these words as if you are speaking them to yourself. Because we are all just doing our best. And sometimes you need to take a step back and acknowledge how hard you’re working in every aspect of your life.
These songs may not resonate with you, but that is the beauty of music – there are so many songs to choose from. If you have trouble meditating, or simply want to change things up, I urge you to give this method a try. Listen to the words. Feel the music. What comes up for you?
If you need some inspiration, check out Sheena’s Basic Witch playlist on Spotify (love, love, love!). You’ll also find some good meditation options on the Moonlight + Sage Spotify channel as well.
Some favorites from the M+S Chill List include:
- ‘Station’ by Lapsley
- ‘Higher Love’ by Vincent McMorrow
- ‘Simple Things’ by Miguel
- ‘Swimming in the Flood’ by Passion Pit
And for those days when you need a little push to keep going:
- ‘Never Give Up’ by Sia
- ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by Yuma
- ‘Just Like Fire’ by PINK
- ‘Cold Water’ by Major Lazer featuring the Justin Beiber (this is the Basic Witch meditation guide after all)
Meditation doesn’t have to be so serious. In a recent Soul Cycle class, when all the lights came down, we were instructed to close our eyes and ride to the music. The song: The Apprentice by the Gorillaz. Even this was a form of meditation and some strange, magical stuff came up. I’ll attribute this to my recent Matrix Energetics training, in which we learned how to “hallucinate out of our freaking skulls.” Point being: meditation doesn’t always take place on a mat or pillow.
Figure out what works for you. You may find you prefer silent, unstructured meditation. You might find that music helps you reach a different level of meditation where you experience mild hallucinations that take you on a little trip for a few minutes.
So light some candles, get on your mat/pillow/spin bike/etc. and crank the tunes.
I’d love to hear what songs you love to play during your meditations and whether you tried any of the recommendations from this blog. Feel free to comment below or send me an email at email@example.com.