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My first intune session

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

As someone who has had an inconsistent relationship with meditation, yet a constant reverence to the practice and those who managed to have meditation in their daily routine, I came to my first intune session with Andrew optimistic that I was entering yet another chapter of my life where I try to become one of those I revered so. There have been so many. Those brief chapters of my life usually began with a workshop of some sort at a yoga studio or a time I was finding myself feeling high levels of anxiety, depression, stress, or all of the above and was trying to create my rock bottom so I could wiggle my way back to feeling my self.

Neither of those paths ever stuck, and meditation never became a daily practice for me. I remember past instructors guiding us to lean into letting our legs fall asleep and that being still as a corpse will lead us to the present moment and enlightenment. There would often be some kirtan music carrying us to the goal; that peaceful, zenned out, blissful, post-meditative state we were all seeking in stillness. Well, then, why was I sitting there screaming obscenities in my head at myself, my body, and the instructor? Meditation was HARD. My legs hurt, my nose scratched, and I had a tickle in my throat. It seemed that just knowing I had to be quiet and still in discomfort while escorting passing thoughts out of my mind made me more agitated than anything else. I couldn’t help but wonder if being still and quiet wasn’t a ‘rule’ If I’d even experience any of these annoying throat tickles or nose scratches. As a child raised Catholic, meditation was something I’d always known about since prayer is meditation, really, isn’t it? Kneeling in prayer on hard, wooden, cold pews in church is one of my most vivid childhood memories. It sucked. No leaning back a little to give your little baby knees some brief relief, or mommy would silently reach under her arm to pinch yours. Yikes. I’m realizing that pain andmeditation were something I’d linked together at a very early age. Until now.

My assignment was to choose three songs, considering music that was meaningful to me during a time in my life. I didn’t overthink it and sent in Beastie Boys’ Flute Loop, Carly Rae Jepsen’s Cut to the Feeling, and Panic at the Disco’s Don’t Let the Lights Go Out. I started questioning my choices as soon as I shot off the text with my songs. None of those songs are ones I would call calming or meditative, at the time, anyway. Maybe I should have sent some of my favorite Beatles songs from growing up or Enya, the songs that remind me of falling in love. Why did I make this harder on myself when I already know that meditating can be challenging? I messaged Andrew in the morning with three different options just in case I chose ‘wrong.’ Or, perhaps I was subconsciously testing a theory that any music could be used as a meditation. Andrew assured me I could pick anything I wanted, so I went with my first choice. I wanted to come into my session in a peaceful place rather than a scattered frenzy, so I carefully planned my busy morning and had enough time to get everything done with time to spare. Whew. It was a busy morning getting there, though, I’ll be honest. I started work at 8:30, ran to a yoga class from 10-11, more work until 3pm, then my meditation session at 3:30. Throw in a shower, green smoothie, and a little puppy time, and it just felt like a hectic morning, and I wasn’t quite sure how I’d sail through given my overall stress level lately has been on the high side. I’m happy to share that at 3pm, I had accomplished everything I’d planned and was ready to soak in this new experience. I went along my day looking forward to listening to my music. Knowing that was waiting for me once I finished my work put a surprising amount of wind in my sails. I left my yoga class promptly, with no chit-chat like usual, I had more work to do, showering to get done, and my essential date with myself at 3:30 for some ‘research’ on this new meditation I’m learning about. I had a feeling that the research would be very much something my stress levels would appreciate, and I intended to kick-start a habit. Again. We will see how it goes; as I’ve shared, meditation has always been challenging.

So, we begin. Breathe in and hear the music. Breathe out and feel the music. I close my eyes and dip in. As Andrew had assured me, the concerns I once had about my song choices not being conducive to meditation were a non-issue. I could sense it as soon as I heard the first notes. Andrew’s cues come and go, and I am just there. “I’m doing it!” I say to myself, then dip back in again. There is none of the usual difficulty ‘getting into’ the meditation because as soon as the music begins, I am focused on my breath, the music, and Andrew’s cues. I’m sitting in my office chair instead of in lotus, so my legs never become numb and uncomfortable, except for that little twitching movement that wants to happen in my body. My foot starts tapping my ergonomic footrest, and I can feel my brow furrow a little. I can feel my head sway just slightly with my breath, which is in sync with the rhythm of my music. I cannot tell how much I am moving, but it’s not as much as I want to, though I’m pretty sure I’m not totally still either. As if he can hear my thoughts, I hear the cue from Andrew that it is OK to move. What a surprise!

My mind brings me memories of music and dancing, something I’ve always come to when I need to release stress or sadness. I am reminded of the countless times that turning on music and just feeling, singing, dancing, and sometimes crying was the only thing I wanted and could turn to…and it always felt so good. This makes so much sense now, as I intently focus on feeling and hearing this music I love. It is not foreign at all, as I had initially thought; it was the opposite. Natural, intrinsic, innate, as if this is how we are meant to meditate. It was, dare I say, easy?

As we finish my last song and I slowly open my eyes, I have that blissfulexperience where everything feels fresh, sharp, and fuzzy simultaneously; my senses experience every sensation as beautiful. Do you ever feel like you have new eyes when you come out of meditation, Savasana, or a good massage? Like this magical, all-natural, non-substance-induced high or buzz, it is incredible! I bounced out of my office and into the rest of my day, and my songs were the soundtrack in my mind for the rest of the day and evening. Much better than the stressful automatic anxious thoughts that can regularly keep me company. It felt like the relatively short meditation had quite an impressive ‘extended release’ effect, and my stress levels are remarkably improved.

My journey with intune has just begun, and I’m very excited to have found a way to meditate that is so accessible. Listening to music you love is relaxing and relieves stress, as does meditation, and the way Andrew’s method with intune blends the two, is a unique meditative experience unlike any other. I can now see a daily meditation practice within reach and am eager to continue this exploration!

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To make mental and emotional health more accessible to our Cleveland community, I started a weekly donation-based music meditation class. What makes this meditation unique is that you select the songs


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