Songs stuck in head.

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Songs stuck in head.

Postby MaitriYNOD » Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:10 am

This is a recurring obstacle that I'm sure many people can relate to. There's a particular part of my mind that likes to play certain songs over and over and over again that I don't seem to be able to silence with Shamatha, even as other facets of my mind calm down. I usually end up doing the practice (in this case, ngondro) while gently ignoring whatever arbitrary piece of music plays alongside them, and making a conscious decision to place my attention on the practice at hand. This seems to work out well, but I imagine the practice can be taken deeper in actual silence. Has anyone discovered any sneaky tricks to quiet the musical part of the mind?
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby Ramon1920 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:33 am

Sense restraint should work very well. No music for a week and see if it works.
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:53 am

MaitriYNOD wrote:This is a recurring obstacle that I'm sure many people can relate to. There's a particular part of my mind that likes to play certain songs over and over and over again that I don't seem to be able to silence with Shamatha, even as other facets of my mind calm down. I usually end up doing the practice (in this case, ngondro) while gently ignoring whatever arbitrary piece of music plays alongside them, and making a conscious decision to place my attention on the practice at hand. This seems to work out well, but I imagine the practice can be taken deeper in actual silence. Has anyone discovered any sneaky tricks to quiet the musical part of the mind?



Sometimes if I look directly at it it will cease for a bit.

I've found that during Shamatha, I cannot quiet it, only choose not to focus on it as you are. Moving into more of a vipassana deal though, if I can "see" it clearly, sometimes it will kind of morph into whatever the next object of awareness ends up being, and so is gone for a bit.

Are you a musician? it's really hard when you are, especially if you have been working on something for a while heh, I usually take a break with a bit of silence beforehand for just this reason.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby wisdom » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:04 am

You can try to chant a mantra and get that stuck in your head. At least that might accumulate some merit for you! I know the Vajrasattva Ngondro I was taught in the Dudjom Tersar has its own melody, and after chanting it sometimes it will get "stuck in my head" for periods of the day. I always just view it as a good thing because on some level I am mentally repeating the mantra over and over again. Its all about intention!
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby Ayu » Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:59 pm

Yes, i found mantra-singing is like a backfire against inner songs or thoughts that go on endlessly.
Even though the mantra has a melody also, it generates peace and is different to radio-hits. If the mantra has conquered the sounds in the mind, the way for silence is paved.

Another interesting method is to focus on it during the day. But i'm not able to explain it here. It is a pratice of mindfullness and is called "inner listening" (in German).
It is very surprising to see how less music and talk there is within the mind, if one focuses on it. Then out of "listening to inner sounds" it comes to "listening to inner silence".
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:29 pm

Like others have mentioned, mantras work pretty well for me. I work third shift on an assembly line, so it frequently happens to me when my mind gets bored. So I'll just quietly recite nianfo, and this generally helps.
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby NIRMAL2 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:51 pm

wisdom wrote:You can try to chant a mantra and get that stuck in your head. At least that might accumulate some merit for you! I know the Vajrasattva Ngondro I was taught in the Dudjom Tersar has its own melody, and after chanting it sometimes it will get "stuck in my head" for periods of the day. I always just view it as a good thing because on some level I am mentally repeating the mantra over and over again. Its all about intention!

:good:
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:23 pm

Also you can practice "seeing" the tune as the deity of Sound. And transforming the sound into the six syllable mantra. I'm sure some will say you need empowerment or some such for this, but some also present this kind of practice to be unrestricted, i've even been told by teachers to transform cussing into the six syllable mantra! I am not great at this but I do notice the rare occasions I "get it" the ear worms no longer bugs me.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby MaitriYNOD » Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:34 pm

These are all really good suggestions. I particularly like the idea about mantra. The funny thing is that I don't listen to music regularly, certainly not every day, nor do I play an instrument. I think this is just the default way for my mind to seek distraction. And there's something about Streetlight Manifesto that nestles itself deep into my psyche and stays there for days. :tongue:
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby oldbob » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:25 pm

My Teacher, ChNNR says you can dominate your mind.
Observe without comment and let it go. I usually find that the choice of song is a way of my unconscious mind communicating with my conscious mind.

Change the tune.
So changing to mantra is definitely a good possibility.

Sometimes I relax about it and sing along. Then monkey mind jumps to something else.

Main thing is to understand that this occurs in many people's minds.

Not to worry.
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby philji » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:50 pm

Listen to the sound of the song.....make it the focus..... See what happens.... Don't make it the enemy.:spy:
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby Uniltiranyu » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:00 am

A reliable way to break a looping song is to sing, in your mind, another song in its stead. It seems to disrupt the temporarily habit-forming rhythm of the original song.
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby philji » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:49 am

Mingyur Rinpoche often tells the story of a farmer who tells his teacher he can't meditate because he keeps seeing the cows in his minds eye. His teacher asks him what the cow looks like..when the farmer describes the cow the teacher then tells him to focus on this image of the cow........so our meditation should not be about pushing things away, sound, sight, smell, taste all can be supports for meditation....what will happen if you get rid of the song and then something else pops in to your mind..
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby seeker242 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:26 am

MaitriYNOD wrote: Has anyone discovered any sneaky tricks to quiet the musical part of the mind?


Yes! By not trying to ignore it but by paying full attention to it. Sing the song! Of course you don't have to sing out loud. If you focus your complete attention on it, after a short while your mind will become pretty bored with it and it will go away by itself. Often, the desire to ignore it or get rid of it, is the very thing that causes it to persist.
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Re: Songs stuck in head.

Postby avisitor » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:19 am

Some songs are meant to be repeated over and over in the mind.
They are called jingles. The tunes are catchy and stick in the mind easily.

How do we stop it??
There are many methods. This is what works for me.
We don't. Let it arise and then let it go.
If you focus on it then it will have more power to stay in your head.
Bring your focus back to breath ... listen for the noise outside .. let it go.
Bring attention back to breath.
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