Spring is here!
Since 1997, drummers have gathered on warm and clear Sunday afternoons in Big Spring Park.
For those who are unfamiliar with these gatherings, let's cover the basics. Drumming quite possibly could be older than man as it has been found that even rhesus monkeys have rhythm (Article). Humans gather together with rhythm more for social and cultural reasons. Basically, a circle of drums (e.g. mostly hand drums) and percussion instruments (e.g. shakers and cowbells) forms, and the group creates a dynamically powerful rhythmic space. Usually, there is a leader or two that keeps the group together and the rhythms flowing. If the rhythm is inviting, women and children then have a comfortable space to dance.
The interaction on an individual level can teach one a great deal about their behavior in social settings. Play too loud, and other drummers cannot be heard. Be careful not to annoy other drummers or you may find that a Congolese rhythm that sounds like an AK-47 might blow your eardrums out from behind. Play too soft and the group will be unable to hear you. If you think too much and get distracted from the present moment, you might lose the rhythm completely and throw off the rest of the group. Never drummed before? You'd be surprised at how much rhythm the human body has.
A brief list of the therapeutic effects of drumming include, but are not limited to: a reduction in tension, anxiety and stress; helps control chronic pain; boosts the immune system; accesses the entire brain; releases negative feelings, blockages, and emotional trauma; and has been found to benefit disorders ranging from autism to cancer. (About.com; list of articles).
Now, imagine for a moment, the beat of a drum from the result of your hands. Each hand accesses the opposite hemisphere of the brain. Focused on all five senses and mindful of the space around you, your entire brain is active and pulsating at the rate of the rhythm. Eventually your heart rate and breathing rate synch up to the rhythm as well. This process is called entrainment. All biological systems have been found to have rhythm, from the circadian rhythms of night and day, to our lifelong heartbeat. With all of your body's systems dancing to the rhythm of your drum, a door to true healing opens. One may even find navigation through life a bit more fluid.