Music or podcasts while training?

Robin Wu

Panda Cub
I sometimes let a Youtube video play, but I never really pay attention to it when I practice.

I sometimes feel lonely, and playing a video with people talking gives me the illusion that there's people in the room.

Do I know what's being said in the podcast? Nope - didn't pay attention - not enough mental power left to know what's going on in the podcast.

I would guess doing this is not a good idea from a meditation perspective. But on the other hand, panting, profusely sweating, and growling are not things I associate with meditation either. And there's the risk of this becoming a distraction.

Adam Liu

I remember this topic briefly coming up once, and I have thought about it a few times since then. From what I understand and how I practice, the ideal situation is to practice in silence or nature sounds. There have been many times where I hear a conversation or music or something and my mind reacts to that by thinking about it, and then my concentration is lost and I lose whatever I am focusing on.

I used to train listening to this:

It made me feel like a character from a gongfu movie as I walked to my practice spot, and I often kept the entire album on as I went through practice. Looking back, I can't be too sure if that was good or bad, but nowadays I prefer silence so that there is one less sense I have to worry about. Maybe in a noisy environment a little opera is better than screaming children?

The meditation part is also something I've thought about, but of course I have no idea what I'm talking about. I've heard and felt the benefits of practicing in silence so that all my intention is directed towards practice. After a practice like that, I do indeed feel a similar feeling compared to when I meditate (I did this sometimes on and often off for a few years). I've also heard this idea that certain types of meditation are not necessarily supposed to be done by shutting off all the senses, but by experiencing them, acknowledging them, but exercising control over where the mind goes after that. The example I was given was that instead of closing your eyes during meditation, I should keep them open on a point in the room because the practice is not to ignore things, but to accept the reality of them/see them for what they are/whatever philosophy is backing up that specific type of meditation.

I would say that if someone were to ask for my advice, I would say that if possible, one should listen to their screaming muscles and think about how to make them scream harder ;^) The counterpoint to silence I brought up might not apply to gongfu, partly due to how hard it can be and partly because in my mind, I am practicing so I can get better at what I'm doing. Meditation effects might happen, but are treated as a pleasant surprise.