Finding the Beat

The room began to darken, lit only by candles. Pounding, tapping, and shaking sounds filled the circle. My mind, which only moments before had been spinning with thoughts of this and that, focused only on the pulsing beat.

Though I had taken one drumming class last fall (and loved it), this was the first for me–an unstructured hour of making music. A form of engaged meditation, the drum circle provides a place for community, creativity, and, in a way, storytelling. Without speaking, we played our instruments together, allowing the sounds to build and diminish naturally–and together.

I have trouble meditating, and I worried I wouldn’t be able to drum for an hour without some kind of instruction or direction. And yet, the time passed quickly, the heartbeat patterns centering and grounding me.

I wonder if any schools offer African drumming for students or teachers? Can you imagine starting or ending each day with this transformative act?

“The knower of the mystery of sound knows the mystery of the whole universe” – Hazrat Inayat Khan