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Emotional attachment to music

+4 votes

I cannot start/end my day without having listened to music first, purely because I have been doing this since I was 9 years old and it became my every day routine. I dreamed of being a singer and performing on the stage. The dream is now gone, but the routine is still here.
Depending on the type of music I'm listening to, it usually tends to make my heart beat faster or feel strong emotions.
Does that mean I'm attached to it?
How do I become unattached if it's such a big part of my life?
Thank you.

asked Nov 17, 2011 in Buddhism by anonymous (66 points)   3

4 Answers

+7 votes

Make the determination to stop listening to music for a set period of time and then go for it. A good option would be to start/end the day with meditation instead of listening to music. like that you learn to break the pattern of your habits.
It will be a drastic change in your life but this attachment to music doesn't have the physical component as cigarette, coffee or drug adicction has, which makes it somewhat easier. All suffering and missing and feeling evtl. kind of lost when you stop listening to music will come from your mind.

With meditation you will see and understand your attachment and you will learn to let go of it. It might take some time, though. But when you observe your mind during meditation and when not in meditation it might even become fun to let go of habits.

music is nothing important, it's just sound. the rest is interpretation.

answered Nov 17, 2011 by phalanyani (3,394 points)  
+4 votes

This was me a few months ago:
I wouldn't even study without music! During exam times like this, music used to indispensable. Yeah, it was that bad not just morning and night

If you think you can't give it up in your present state, I suggest you take up a retreat for a few days. After the retreat, I found it so disturbing to the mind (and eardrums) that I gave it all up. But just before I gave up, I listened exclusively to instrumentals and that's all I had to give up which is relatively easier than trying to give up a whole lotta taste. If you're stuck in many genres, I suggest you do it gradually from genres to genre to freedom (freedom it is).

@yuttadhammo was a punk rock guitarist... If anyone knows what really is attachment to music on this forum, it's him

answered Nov 17, 2011 by ramesh (3,244 points)  
edited Nov 17, 2011 by ramesh
+4 votes

Music isn't the worst thing in the world... if you're not on a meditation course, listening to music isn't a big deal, just be mindful of your feelings when listening. If that is your biggest attachment, you should count yourself lucky

If you really want to go to the next level, you have to change your lifestyle; this is why the Buddha differentiated between ordinary precepts (5, no prohibition against music) and meditator precepts (8, prohibition against all forms of entertainment).

So, to answer your question directly, you can't. As long as music is a big part of your life, you'll probably lose your attachment to it. You have to change your life if you want to be free from that attachment, I should think.

answered Nov 17, 2011 by yuttadhammo (8,823 points)  
+1 vote

I don't know if this could be of any help, but I used to practice on my guitar for at least 2 hours everyday, and sometimes I would play the entire day. Now I never play guitar anymore and don't listen to music anymore ether.
I would learn musical pieces from different genres until I could play them perfectly from memory. After a couple of years of doing this I started to notice all the patterns and rhythms, and seeing them recurring in many songs. I started to see these similarities more and more until it got to the point that all songs were the same to me, maybe one melody has a little note added to it, or a slightly different rhythm, which was taken from another song, but basically its all the same. On an elementary level all songs use the same notes over and over again, they are just arranged in a different order.
Now when I hear a new song, I don’t find it very interesting because I have heard it before.

I would not recommend to start playing guitar for years to get rid of your attachment to music, but perhaps it could help if you start to analyze the music you like more, and see the similarities, until you lose interest, like I did.

answered Nov 17, 2011 by maarten (791 points)