Listening Closely to the Music of Your Mind

Andrew Olendzki, Ph. D. is a Buddhist scholar, teacher, and one of my favorite writers. I read everything of his that appears in Buddhist magazines. In these words of wisdom from, he writes about listening closely to the music of your mind. In this way, we learn to see life just as it is, without adding in our hopes, dreams, and expectations. We learn to see life just as it is without complicating it with our worries, fears, and doubts.

The Music of the Mind

The practice of meditation involves listening closely to the music of your mind. We are not concerned in the moment about how things get to be the way they are, only that they are so very much exactly what they are.

– Andrew Olendzki, Unlimiting Mind: The Radically Experiential Psychology of Buddhism

Instruments in the Courtyard

Instruments in the Courtyard of the Parador de Cuenca, by Jerome Freedman, © 2015

When we investigate how the mind works, we try to isolate the components of the mind. However, the isolated components don’t give a true picture of the music of the mind.

This is like the king in a story from the time of the Buddha, which Andrew so clearly tells in Unlimited Mind. The king hears a wonderful sound as it is being played by a musician. He asks for the instrument, which happens to be a lute. He breaks down the lute into its parts and wonders where the sound went. He fails to realize that all of the parts plus the musician plus the playing of the lute together make the beautiful sound. All of these components are interdependent on each other to create the sound.

Similarly, all of the components of our brain and mind must be played together in an appropriate way for us to recognize the music of the mind. In the excerpt from Unlimited Mind on, Andrew concludes, “Accounting for experience is a fascinating project, but living it is far more so. Just sit quietly, and listen to the music.

Why don’t you take a few minutes right now to sit quietly and listen to the music in your mind?

Books by Andrew Olendzki

Unlimiting Mind: The Radically Experiential Psychology of Buddhism

Andrew Olendzki

Both broad and deep, this eye-opening book is one of the best available overviews of the radical psychological teachings underlying the Buddhist approach to freedom and peace. Sophisticated without being daunting, brilliantly clear without becoming simplistic, Andrew Olendzki’s writing is filled wit… [Read More…]

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