Drumming my heartbeat

“Rhythm is the soul of life. The whole universe revolves in rhythm. Every thing and every human action revolves in rhythm.” ~ Baba Olatunji

I’ve always been fascinated by drums, especially those that are played with the hands. I can easily be mesmerized by watching people play them, but I’ve never had the chance to try one out myself.

I have recently become quite intrigued with the idea of learning to play a djembe drum after watching a fascinating video about the way that they drums are hand-made in Africa. While visiting a friend of mine today, I had the opportunity to play both a djembe drum and a frame drum for the first time.

Not only was this experience a much greater delight than I would have imagined, it was also addictive! I imagine it won’t be long until I own one or more of these drums myself.

The thing that amazed me the most, however, was the how powerful I found the experience to be both physically and spiritually. The feeling of the rhythm and vibration of the drum moving through my body was profoundly moving. In fact, in one exercise she did with me, she had me tune in to my heart beat and begin playing that rhythm on the frame drum. Over time, my heart beat began following the beat of the drum if I sped up or slowed down. It was an amazing feeling to notice the changes, but it also made me more aware of the rhythm of the beating of my own heart in a way I don’t think I’ve ever been before.

In another exercise, we moved energy through our chakra systems with the beating of a frame drum moving in concert with the waves of energy. The beat of the drum could be felt in my body and in my energy field as it prompted the flow of energy through my energy body. The vibrations of the beat moved through me like a river of sound on which the energy rode.

I have had the experience of taking a shamanic journey (or shamanic dreaming) to the beat of the drum, and that was a profound experience where the beat of the drum carried me forward. However, there was something equally trance-inducing in the simple act of playing a repetitive beat on the drum—feeling the vibrations of the drum in my fingertips, my hands, and resonating throughout my body. I didn’t journey in the same sense, but within minutes, I could feel myself settling into a meditative state where my focus was entirely on the beat of the drum.

Yoga has taught me so much about being present in my body. The practice of drumming seems like something that can help me do that in a different way, and I can’t wait to learn more about how to drum, what the drums can do, and what effects of drumming in a community drum circle might have on me.

Until I have the chance to explore that further, my friend also reminded me that I can use my own body as a drum to drum my heartbeat out loud any time I want. What a wonderfully simple practice to bring myself back to my body just through the attention on my heartbeat! I can’t wait to see where this leads!

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a very fragile place, and it takes a good deal of vulnerability to share this personal journey of transformation so openly. Therefore, I need this to be a safe place for exploration and sharing for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight—or the expression of that experience or insight—are NOT welcome here and will be deleted.