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Meditative Drumming for Beginners

29th Oct 2014

The mental and psychological changes that can occur though quiet periods of observation or reflective moments of silence are potent testaments to the power of meditation. Meditation is a tool for those seeking stress and anxiety relief, to connect with the subconscious or a higher spiritual power. It brings a calming, peaceful state of mind that enables the processing of external stimuli that can affect the mood and thoughts as well as strengthen the bond between a person and a spiritual path.

Meditation takes many forms, one of which includes the ability to focus on a single action, such as walking, breathing or even drumming. Introducing drumming into meditation brings several benefits into the meditative state, one of which may be the ability to achieve a level of calm while listening to or even playing a rhythm on a djembe, bongos or other hand percussion instrument. The feel of the drum head as it is struck by the hand, and the physical release felt as a rhythm builds and takes on a life of its own, reflecting the mood of the drummer or those within the drum circle can help distract a person from the tired, overworked thoughts that plague the conscious mind. For this reason, many people turn to drumming or music with a strong drum beat in order to help achieve a meditative state.

Meditative drumming rhythms typically start off softly and slowly, easing the drummer or listener into the experience of meditation with drums. This type of drumming can be beneficial within a small group or drum circle, as well as during solitary moments with a favorite djembe or other hand drum. As comfort between the drummer and drum builds, the rhythms can get faster, louder and more complex. Even as the rhythms evolve, there is little distraction, as the drummer reflects internal rhythmic needs or the listener is guided into different areas of meditative focus. After a period of more intense drumming, the rhythms played or heard will naturally decrease in fervor, indicating a time for the subconscious and conscious minds to disengage from the drumming.

To achieve the most benefit from meditative drumming, it is recommended that the rhythm played on the djembe is close to 180 beats per minute, reflecting the same rhythm that scientists have recorded emanating from the earth. This natural rhythm is thought to increase the therapeutic effect of drumming when a person's subconscious mind is more open to receiving the health and wellness benefits of meditative drumming therapy.

For some, the ability to disengage the mind is difficult, taking practice and dedication. It is possible that the thought of meditating causes stress and anxiety because of the fear of failure. The prospect of turning off the spiraling thoughts in the mind can seem impossible, but with the indirect focus on a repetitive activity, a state of meditation can be easier to achieve. Meditative drumming is practiced by cultures across the globe, including those with connections to earth religions and more esoteric spiritual paths. For those seeking an easier way to reap the benefits of meditation, picking up a djembe or other hand drum and focusing on the rhythms and actions of playing, the relaxation and stress reduction benefits of meditative drumming can more easily be achieved.