Mindfulness, Music Appreciation and Empathy

“Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the [Bach’s] B Minor Mass?” — Michael Torke, composer

Sometimes people will ask me whether or not listening to music counts as mindfulness practice. I’d say sure,* you can do pretty much anything with an intention to be mindful, but what makes a session of mindful music appreciation unique and distinct from a mindful breathing practice?

Beauty-ful “Mindful Drawings” by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Paula Kuitenbrouwer keeps a lovely online portfolio and shop of “Mindful Drawings.”  Most masterful artists would likely have developed a refined quality of mindfulness, but Paula’s work breathes from a deep and clearly-articulated intention to work from a place of mindfulness.

“I carefully prepare my drawing session by laying out all the tools. I think long about what I want, and I pay attention to the composition. I also do research, because I like to know what I am drawing. When I draw a bird, I study that bird in real as well as with the helps of books. When I draw a flower, I have it seen in nature or it is right before me on my table. I read about the flower, and I like to study and know its Latin name. The same counts for bugs: I do not draw any bug I haven’t seen or studied.”