Calming Our Inner Pulse Through Drumming

“Grandfather, what has changed about the drumming from the time you were a young man?”

I asked this question many years ago when, as a young man, I had the honor of drumming with an elder of the Chumash People of southern California named Semu Haute, though everyone simply called him Grandfather.

After a long, deep drumming session, Grandfather’s young drummers had gone back to their camp, and he and I remained seated at the huge PowWow drum we had all played.

Grandfather looked deeply into my eyes, his dark brown eyes set in his broad, sun-weathered face, framed by two thick silver braids.  “All my young drummers want to play the traditional songs much too fast,” he stated.  He then looked down for a moment as if drawing a drink of wisdom from an ancient well of remembrance.  “It’s that damn Rock n’ Roll!” he exclaimed.

We both laughed heartily… but I realized that this was the wisdom; Rock n’ Roll reflected the fast-paced tempo of our modern lives!  Our lives today are faster by far than the lives of any other humans throughout our long, rich history.  If we try to match our inner tempo to this fast external tempo, then we fall prey to dis-ease, un-wellness, stress and a general sense of always trying to catch up!

Drumming at a slow, purposeful tempo, along with specific breathing rhythms, helps us to reinforce a calm inner pulse that releases stress, and helps us release mental and physical distractions.  This allows us to get in the Zone, the place musicians call the Groove.  In this state, we are deeply present, in-the-moment, and are able to focus completely on the task at hand.  This real-world skill allows us to act at peak efficiency when living busy lives!

PowWowDrumAnd Drummers

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