Meditation is Metal

Posted: 07/15/2010 in Metal, Music, Spiritual


This is part 2 in a series of posts about how I believe Buddhism is Metal.

I’m sure anyone who is reading this has at least looked for information on meditation, so I’m not going to delve into a lengthy monologue about meditation. I just want to spit-ball about how I think it relates to metal, and music in general, from my own experience.

I believe the connection involved here is “practice.” We call this spiritual journey we are on, of which meditation is one of the central aspects, a “practice.” This means that a beginning meditator has not attained the ultimate goal. Some would define the goal as enlightenment, you can define it however you want. We don’t just wake up one morning, cross our legs and breathe in and out for a half hour and immediately attain the goal. It takes time to learn the basics and practice just to learn to freakin’ breathe, and to focus on that breath. The more you do it, the more you advance into the meditations on mindfulness, loving-kindness, etc.

Learning to play metal, and music in general, is the same way. You don’t wake up one morning and watch a video on MTV, (yes, I’m referring to back when MTV had music) and see the dudes shredding on Headbangers Ball, decide you want to do it too and immediately start shredding. It takes years to learn the basics and practicing chords and scales (freakin’ scales!) to attain the level of ability it takes to play metal. Do you see a pattern here?

I would also relate meditation to playing music in front of an audience. Have you ever watched a musician play and they seem to be in a groove such that the sound that comes from their fingers is nothing short of amazing? Their eyes are closed, they appear to be in a state of samadhi, they are “in the zone.” This my friends, is meditation in my opinion. I have had the pleasure to play with other musicians where we got locked into such a groove that I felt to be in that state of consciousness, and this was way before I knew anything about meditation.

One more example would be falling out of practice. I’ve noticed that when I’m a slacker and don’t sit, I get irritable, I’m not as mindful of how I react to people, and can even be a complete douchebag. The way I handle my day-to-day experiences reminds me that I need to get my ass back on the cushion. The same thing happened when I stopped practicing guitar. My fingers wouldn’t move where I wanted to, and I lost my “chops,” which caused even more frustration and I just say “fuck it” and put the guitar down. This is how it has been for the last few years. Playing music has been on the back burner, but I’ve been inspired to pick it back up and make it a higher priority; sitting my ass back down and practicing – both meditation and guitar. The good news with meditation and metal/music is that it’s never too late to start practicing again.

And speaking of shredding…

Keep it Metal \m/

Photo credit

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Zen Outlaw, Brandon Glasgow. Brandon Glasgow said: OK, my 1st attempt at a series. 2nd post now up: "Meditation is Metal" […]

  2. […] contemplating and meditating on the Dharma. Maybe I will continue my “series” on Buddhism and Heavy Metal, or maybe I won’t. The most important thing for me when it comes to being inspired or […]

  3. laiandy says:

    Love it, you rock Metal Buddha. Hope to see some results from myself.

  4. Jason says:

    Your writings are my first exploration and personal attempt to merge the dialectical positions of metal and spiritual enlightenment. I’ve struggled with it for 20 years. Moralistic underpinnings obstruct my complete immersion into the depths and rythms of AC DC, Sabbath, Nugent, Maiden, metallica, etc. Yes, I’m old. In short, the mind-body experience of metal appears to resonate through some of us to elicit a trance state, which allows for us to drop into the void for awhile. There are many ways to be mindful of the void, observing death for one. I think one trick is to stay mindful with metal and not attach to the angry and destructive aspects. It can be useful to observe these aspects, just as one observes thoughts in meditation. I really don’t know what I’m talking about.

  5. […] Meditation is Metal […]

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