The Rhythm of Life

In this weeks podcast we had Steve with us, the master drummer who spends his time helping people find their beat, lovely guy doing amazing work!

The universe has a beat, it has a rhythm. The whole of creation moves at a pace. This is the rhythm of life. Are you living in time or out of time?

If you stop, become still and listen you will hear your own heart beating. Some people, when they are learning to meditate, find this eerie or disturbing. Every time that your heart beats it gives off a little electrical signal that goes off into the universe just like the ripples flowing from a stone that has been dropped into a pond. This is your call sign that states to the universe that you exist, that you are alive. This is you individual rhythm.

When a group of people or animals come together they begin to harmonise their rhythm. Heart rate, blood pressures and hormonal excretions become more alike. We all know the story of a house full of female students, or a nunnery when, over time, the menstrual cycles of the women begin to fall in line and they develop periods in unison.

The same is true of all groups. When I run a course I have the three week rule, no new members after week three. This is because within three sessions the group bond has been formed. What that really means is that the group has begun to harmonise together so that when they enter each session their heart rates, respiration and many hormones will be matching and harmonising.

Once any group has formed the emotional experience is that we are now an ‘us’ and anyone new that joins feels odd, they are one of ‘them’. Groups even begin to smell the same and we may experience that other groups, nationalities or ethnicities smell different to ‘us’. I have an image hear of dogs smelling each other’s bottoms and what they know from doing so. I know that if you dropped me anywhere in France I would know that I am there because France has a smell that is peculiar to itself. It is not a bad smell, quite the opposite, it is just that it smells of France. The same is true in the spices of the east, or the tannery in Kidderminster.

There are ever smaller rhythms within all matter that go right down to the cells, organelles, atoms, particles, quarks and the source energy. The other way the rhythms are ever bigger as the Earth turns and the moon marks the months increasing and decreasing the tides, the earth moves around the sun and the sun around the galaxy and the Galaxy around the universe.

All that happens, on every level happens in time, in beat, it has its own rhythm.

Your individual rhythm is individual and peculiar to you. Those around are either in the same or similar rhythm so that you feel that sense of belonging or it is the other way you feel out of step with those around you they are working in a different rhythm and you feel the odd one out as though you don’t belong.

When you begin a new job it feels odd, you are not yet in rhythm. After a period of induction you feel that you suddenly belong, you have harmonised. In group dynamics psychology gives the process of harmonising the rhythm of groups names – forming, storming and norming. The important word in that is the ‘norming’ or normalising. When we have normalised to the group we have adopted their behaviours ether good or bad. The people that controlled the concentration camps of the Second World War began as normal everyday people who normalised to the brutality and killing of extermination. The monks in an ashram arrived as regular normal people and normalised into mediation, prayer and good deeds.

Often we normalise to what is happening around us below our awareness. The group or heard instinct can be negative as in a riot or positive as the collective response to the giving following a disaster.

Once we understand that the universe at all levels is in beat and time the next question is am I in beat with where I am? That might be mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually, financially and so on. If not, then it is time for change and that will normally mean action, same behaviours will always lead to the same outcomes. When we want a different out come we have to change the behaviours. To do this may simply be the decision to act. Sometimes it will require some mindful meditation and for deeper issues psychotherapy.

Question: how do you know if you are in, or out, of rhythm?

Well, that is what your emotions are for. They tell you if you are in tune or not. In tune equals happiness, fulfilment, contentment and so on. Out of tune equals unhappiness, anxiety, depression and so on.

As King Louis said in the jungle book ‘you gotta get in the beat’.

Finding your rhythm and living it, is the only life lesson that any of us really need to learn. Listen to the beat around you and if it doesn’t make you feel good play a different one.

Take care and be happy

Sean X