An Uncommon Daily Practice for Finding Your Groove
Has your mind taken over your mindfulness practice? Maybe your meditation has gotten monotonous, your prayers too predictable, or your favorite inspirational quotes and refrigerator affirmations are just no longer doing it for you.
If the pulse has vacated your purpose and flat-lined your creative inspiration, you’re ready to try an experiment.
Forget thinking different thoughts, altering your attitude, or having a conversation with God; you need something with more fire and movement. Tomorrow you can go back to breathing deeply or whatever else you do to handle anxiety, stress, funks, boredom, existential claustrophobia, divine disconnects, relational rifts, or overactive overwhelm. Today, try activating your inner drum.
Here’s How it Works
As you’re walking to the office, driving in your car, scrambling eggs, talking to your boss, washing the dishes, strolling with your child, buying an orange, having a difficult conversation, pretending not to freak out during airplane turbulence, or performing virtually any activity whether important or mundane — turn on your internal rhythm machine.
You choose the rhythm: Big Band jazz, polyrhythmic African beats, deep house, up-tempo tabla, or whatever you like that has some life force and soul. It doesn’t matter if you can’t hold a beat or even clap in-time, because we all make perfect rhythm on the inside. Go ahead and do it aloud if you feel it’s appropriate, but for this experiment there is no need. Simply turn on your inner jukebox, hop on board a good rhythm (something more interesting than a metronome), and watch how it immediately alters your experience.
You and everything around you are made of multiple rhythms, whether it’s your heartbeat, your breath, the turning of the Earth, the ebb and flow of the tides, and the changing seasons. Listen: there is rhythm everywhere, and more rhythms going on inside you than you could ever imagine. There is nothing like a good rhythm to rein in a runaway mind, tune your whole body, awaken a good vibration, and get you (literally) back into the swing of things.
Go Even Further
If you’re really serious about recharging your spiritual battery, obtain a pair of drumsticks at a music store and sign your name or make your mark on them. Use them to tap a rhythm on the side of a small box, the bottom of a waste can, the top of a book, a street, various trees, lakes and streams, a matchbox, a jar of sand, your body, and anything with which you are able to make rhythmic contact. Reach as high as you can and tap the whole universe. Do it to get on board a rhythm train and send a message to the Big Mystery that you are ready to go all the way.
Your tapping is ready to be used as a mystical kind of telegraph. In a global spiritual emergency, tap an S.O.S. to “save our ship,” “syncopate our soul,” and “season our spirits.” This is exactly the urgent message you need to send on behalf of everyone. All hands on deck to carry all wrecks wanting a trek to rehab your soul! Consider your tapping to be the prelude and opening act for the forthcoming ecstatic stride and exhilarating ride that take you to the sacred sea where all the water needed to quench your spiritual thirst is readily on tap.
Think More About Cymbals than Symbols
Consider finding a cowbell, hi-hat, marimba, snare drum, wood block, castanets, triangle, bongos, tabla, djembe, conga, darbuka, octoban, tom-tom, timpani, bock-a-da-bock, cabasa, celesta, maraca, steelpan, vibraphone, xylophone, side whistle, apita, chimes, glass harmonica, glockenspiel, rainstick, tambourine, bucket, garbage can, metal pipe, pot, rocks, gamelan, berimbau, timbales, and piano. Do more than think about these rhythm instruments. Play them, listen to them, feel them, and absorb them.
Spiritual attunement, health, well-being, and creative inspiration thrive in ragtime, swing time, and jazz time. Rhythm is unquestionably the spiritual ambassador, ecstatic vernacular, and electrical capacitor of soul. With a pair of drumsticks, you can set the world on fire.
Wait no more for rhythm to arrive and inspire more song and dance in your life. Go ahead and start tapping your fingers, hands, toes, and feet. Tap a rhythm on every table at which you sit and on every floor you walk upon. Consider this to be a mystical knocking on the door of your soul. Aim to tap into the universal cosmic algorithm while remembering that electrifying your life requires one thing: bringing the rhythms of mystery home to your everyday.
For another experiment, don’t forget your special flashlight.
– The Keeneys, May 24, 2017. Excerpted and adapted from Sacred Ecstatics: The Recipe for Setting Your Soul on Fire.