Music Meditation, Leonhard Cohen.

There is a wonderful mediation in the back of the book ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’, that goes like this:

Listen to a piece of music. Breathe long, light, and even breaths. Follow your breath, be master of it while remaining aware of the movement and sentiments of the music. Don’t get lost in the music, but continue to be master of your breath and your self.

A piece of music that goes supremely well with this is ‘Spiegel im Spiegel for violin and piano’ by Arvo Pärt. It’s sort of transcendental. When someone tells me about music they love, and I find I like it too, it’s like receiving a gift. This piece of music by Arvo Pärt was one such gift from my neighbour.

My sister’s partner recently gave me a Leonhard Cohen song, ‘Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye’. What a gift! Not only the gift of that wonderful song, but the gift of Leonard Cohen. I’ve been exploring his music, and feel extremely lucky to have found it. (I’m probably the last person to know – in meditation circles he’s very popular as he spent a number of years mid-90s as a Zen monk). If you have never heard his music then here are three classics:

Hallelujah (from ‘The Essential Leonard Cohen’)
Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye (from ‘The Best Of’)
Lullaby (from ‘Old Ideas’)

And the Arvo Pärt song, Spiegel im Spiegel for violin and piano, is from ‘The Very Best of Arvo Pärt’.

10 thoughts on “Music Meditation, Leonhard Cohen.

  1. I was late to LC too but he is both a wonderful poet and musician, his work is a real gift I agree. I recommend Anthem, it’s nearly meditative and such a beautiful song.


  2. Thank you, Ben. I love finding out about new music. Through you and Marina, in your Notes in Spanish podcast, I learned about the wonderful Joaquín Sabina and the wonderful Julieta Venegas. My favorite Leonard Cohen song is “Anthem”. (There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.)


  3. Thanks for the gift, Ben. I would also recommend any of these albums by Ray LaMontagne: Trouble, God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise, Till the Sun Turns Black, Gossip in the Grain.

    And I guess once one starts studying the ideas of any “ism,” we begin to see them in many places. The short novel “Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck is humorous and, to my reader’s ear, has a lot of social commentary that is Buddhist in nature. But much may be lost on readers who are not familiar with American culture. I’m not sure how well it “translates” internationally. I have a feeling it does, but not completely sure . . .


    1. Thanks James, I’ll definitely check all that lot out. Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath translated perfectly for me, and had some wonderful moments of deep compassion, a real masterpiece. I later read ‘The Pearl’, I agree with the message, but the end was a bit too hard. I’ll try Cannery Row, thanks for the gifts!


  4. talking about gifts ,I tend to feel the same not only about music, but about everything that is shared , espesially words or ideas, when someone can expresss what you think or feel in words just the way you would do it, or even in a better way.It brings me such happiness that I feel my soul is not big enough to take it, so it needs to grow.And to me, every single post on your site is such a gift , thanks.


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