I heard a song recently titled “I Am light.” Lovely title isn’t it? The lyrics are just as charming, speaking about not being our pain, not being our past, not being the things people have done to us, but being light at the core of who we are. I believe this to be true. But how do we experience this truth? After all, day in and day out we live in a physical body and in a physical world that projects suffering from so many angles. With the complexity of our human mind, believing and actually experiencing the truth that we are light can be a challenging quest that often seems to lead only to fleeting moments of any real awareness of our light – our Spirit – our God-self. Anyone on a spiritual path pursuing spiritual growth knows of the many practices and journeys involved in seeking such awareness.
There is one practice that I discovered 15 years ago that truly opened my awareness of my light. Whenever I engage in this practice, I sink deep into my body, feeling every cell of my being while simultaneously feeling connected to my spirit and my oneness with the Great Spirit. This sensation lasts for hours, sometimes days. The more I do it, the happier I am. The amazing aspect of this practice is that it engages body, mind and spirit. It is not a passive practice like meditation or listening to music; it is an active practice that requires gentle physical involvement. It is an activity that has been practiced since the first humans walked this planet, in every corner of the world. Every culture has roots to this practice, and in many parts of the planet it is still utilized today. It truly is etched deep in our DNA, for no matter our cultural background, this practice was present at one point or another. It is also something that anyone can do, at any age.
Drumming! And to a similar extent, dancing and singing or chanting. These are all activities that our ancestors engaged in. These activities were a part of everyday life. They were healthcare for the community. No one needed training. No one was told they had no rhythm or a voice not good enough to sing. Where community is strong in cultures around the world today, you will still find people engaging in making music, dancing or singing. No one is a spectator; everyone participates, young and old. And although they may not articulate as much, when they drum or dance or sing – they experience their light. They experience joy and happiness. They feel connected to their community as a valued member with something precious to contribute. These innate elements of creating rhythm with others is sweet medicine to the body, mind and soul; medicine so many are missing out on today. This missing medicine I believe to be a big part of why so many people feel disconnected, disenfranchised, depressed, ill, and overall unhealthy in today’s world.
Because we have evolved so far away from such activities in western culture, drumming is often a safe beginning activity to get our feet wet and reconnect to our light as we drink in the delicious awareness of our spirit. Anyone can pick up a drum like a djembe or frame drum and play it. And when a group of people come together and play drums – magic happens; literally! I’ve witnessed it hundreds of times with people from all walks of life, all ages, and all backgrounds. I’ve seen reticence morph into ecstasy in less than 30 minutes. It just never gets old. I get a double whammy of light every time I lead a drumming event because not only am I experiencing my spirit, but I’m watching everyone around me experience theirs.
Honestly, you don’t need a drum though to unleash this divine connection to your light. Something a simple as a tiny egg shaker can connect you to your rhythm, which is the real essence that exposes the light. Even objects around your home can be used to make some sacred noise. A basic rhythm such as a heartbeat rhythm played repeatedly for at last 10 minutes or longer will actually shift your energy. This isn’t something I’ve hypothesized, this is scientific fact. Dr. Barry Bittman has done extensive research into the effects of group drumming. To summarize one of his most notable findings, cancer fighting antibodies were found in the blood of a group of people drumming together that were not there prior. I would hypothesize however that it was not so much the drumming that manifested these antibodies, but the group of people connecting with their rhythm and making music together that made the magic. It is rhythm that is the direct link to our light, regardless of the medium.
Our ancestors may not have had the knowledge we do today about rhythm, but they certainly had the wisdom. They knew the power of rhythm and how it affects the community as a whole, which in a healthy society is the health of the people; body, mind and spirit.
So the next time you are feeling down, disconnected, unsure of your light – drum, dance or sing. Better yet, find a group of people to do it with. Let go of any inhibitions about rhythm; those would be just part of an untrue story. No one is truly without rhythm; it is a biological impossibility. We might find ourselves disconnected from our awareness of it, but just like our light, our inner spirit, it is there…always. The more you explore rhythm, the more connected to it you will feel.
Be forewarned though – connecting with your rhythm has been proven to ignite states of joy, harmony, ecstasy, peace and a lasting awareness of the light within. So don’t blame me if you find yourself in a space of exhilarated happiness from drumming or dancing or singing – thank me.
In Rhythm & Harmony