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Will Mindfulness Ever Rule The World?

Will Mindfulness Ever Rule The World?

Ever since I started using drums for meditation and mindfulness i always wondered what would happen if the corridors of power were filled with the sound of drumming instead of back biting and vilification.

So I was gobsmacked to read a small piece in the UK press that seems to have quietly bubbled to the surface without any of the roaring fanfare that it deserves.

Last week, the Guardian reported that ministers were to meditate with politicians from Israel, Sri Lanka and Sweden as part of a new initiative exploring the impact of mindfulness on political process.

The group were to meet together and then be led in a series of meditations as a way to increase their awareness and, lo and behold, their compassion.

I can’t disguise my distrust of politicians and how simply delirious I am to hear that such an evolutionary step has been taken. This is a world where ideals and vision get trampled on by egos and self interest. Bypassing the fearful ego voice through the process of meditation has the potential to be a hugely trans-formative step.

Jon Kabat-Zinn who addressed the group reflected on the impact of such a move.

“The UK is way ahead of the curve,” Kabat-Zinn said. “I don’t know of any other country that is doing this, and now you have inspired politicians in many different countries. That is what this event is about. They can look each other in the face and strategise and support each other.

“This is not a weirdo lunatic fringe trying to take over the world, but an oxygen line straight into the heart of what is deepest and most beautiful in us as human beings.”

The other co-chair, Tim Loughton, a Conservative former minister, said: “There is an affinity amongst those who have been through this course and a rather more considered approach to exchanges of differing views.”

It won’t be long before the sound of those drums will become a reality.

You can read the original article here: http://craigcoggle.com/politics

 

The Spiral Concept

The Spiral Concept

 

Taking a circle of drummers through transformation is a life changing event.

The circle gives us equanimity and clarity. It allows us open communication and connection.

Not sitting behind desks or standing in lines; instead a limitless path.

Now take the circle and twist it in on itself to give a spiral. Allow the drummers to overlap each other as they play.

Hear the overlap, the fields of rhythm. Plant a starting rhythm at the centre point of the spiral and let it travel outwards along the curve from player to player and drum to drum.

Once the rhythm is breathing by itself take the spiral on a journey, let it move and spin.

Feel the rhythms sweeping from the centre to the edges and let the momentum build and the energy rise.

Keep playing.

Let the spiral expand like a galaxy and unfold out into the room. Keep playing and listening.

When the expansion is complete join the ends together and bring everyone on back to the circle of one.

Connect together and breathe.

A Rhythmic Primer

A Rhythmic Primer

 

When we organise sounds with silence we have the beginnings of rhythm.

The nature of the spaces between the sounds will determine a regular rhythm or something we would describe as arrhythmic. Something that we describe as rhythmic would have a certain degree of predictability about it, it wouldn’t feel unexpected as it unfolded.

Sounds played with a recognisable periodicity create a cycle that feels balanced and a movement that engages us into a groove. Rhythm played in this way is infectious and satisfying.

Our connection to rhythm comes from our physiology. We move and function through a series of balanced actions that flow and cycle in regular rhythms. From our heartbeat and our breathing to the way we walk and move. Our arms and legs swing with balanced motion and we can create changes in pace through rhythmic shifts.

When we are healthy and well we are harmonically rhythmic beings.

Just imagine how unpredictable our existence would be if our organs and muscles worked in an uncoordinated almost random fashion as they functioned. Life would be a struggle to say the least.

The world around us is a rhythmic symphony. On a subatomic level everything vibrates at its own rate. This vibration is rhythm and the universe vibrates in rhythmic harmony.

On a wider level the tides, moons, seasons, and sunsets follows a balanced set of cycles. We may have labelled them with our own classes of measurement but by their nature they follow broad rhythmic patterns. The universe is polyrhythmic.

The rhythms around us and within us affect us in three important ways:

Physiologically – As the rhythms within your body change you experience the physiological effects of that change. An increase in heart rhythm will trigger a series of corresponding change to breathing rate and other organic cycles as they change with it.

Psychologically – The brain generates its own rhythmic patterns of activity as brain waves. Typically grouped into four classes: Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta they correspond to different levels of brain activity from high to low. By immersing yourself in a particular rhythmic stimulus it is possible to change your brain state as the wave cycles shift to match the stimulus. This is how many relaxation audio programmes work.

Behaviourally – From the rhythmic lulling of a baby to the aggressive drums of war rhythm can cause us to alter our behaviour patterns. Equally powerful are the trance rhythms of the shaman which can shift our state of consciousness and awareness.

We can explain the power of rhythm through a phenomenon known as entrainment. If you take some time to observe couples walking through a park or city centre you will see its effect.  As people walk side by side you will notice that their steps fall into a synchronous rhythm.

It’s difficult to walk next to someone and pace with a different rhythmic cycle.

Entrainment happens when two rhythmic events are close to each other, there is a coming together and a matching of rhythms or vibrations. It is the nature of harmonic rhythm and explains how easy it is to get absorbed by rhythms and grooves. As an audience we can feel the pull of the time and entrain to it.

By creating specific rhythms to lower brain waves and physical rhythmic rates we can use rhythmic entrainment as a therapeutic tool to entrain a more relaxed state into the mind and body of the listening audience.

We can use rhythm to create harmony and to create relaxed and effective states of being in ourselves, in others and in the world.