Music soothes, energizes, heals and irritates. With or without words, music has a powerful effect on us, especially when we are fully listening. Next time you have the opportunity to listen to music, try listening with awareness. As the music plays, tune into the body’s experience and allow the music to fill the space within. Let all thought go as you listen deeply. Experience the body’s sensations in response to sound. You may notice this is more difficult with music you would not have chosen to play. That’s OK. When you listen without expectation, any piece of music can be an adventure. Listening with openness, we experience it as it is. You may want to buy the CD or you may not choose to listen to that kind of music again. The point is to simply notice what happens when you are being fully aware and listening at the same time.

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Try this the next time you are aware that you feel stressed and want to quiet down the inner chaos quickly. Walking, driving, standing still or sitting, quietly say while breathing in, "I am breathing in, and I am at peace." Say while breathing out, "I am breathing out, and I am at peace." Focus attention on what happens. If you become distracted, simply return your focus to your words and notice what's happening within. Repeat until you notice a shift, and are ready to stop. The cells of the body receive thought as instruction, and they are willing followers to whatever we think. Saying we are at peace allows the body to shift from feeling rushed around, to slowing down, so we can feel quieter inside. With the goal of maintaining balance in all things, use this practice with care, and let awareness be your guide. Sometimes this practice is helpful, and other times, it can be used to distract us from exploring mistaken beliefs that keep us rushing around. Remembering awareness is a gift to yourself and others.

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