Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Secret Power of Rhythm

Ancient calendars consisted of 13 months, or moon cycles, in a year with a very even rhythm to them. A four week cycle when the moon goes from dark waxing to full to waning to dark again. Some people speculate that church changed the calendars to the Gregorian calendar in 1582 which gave us the uneven count that we have today with some months having 30 or 31 days and one having 28 except for leap year to interrupt the natural rhythms of our lives. When people are off balance, they are easier to control.

What other events in history used rhythm as a control device? When slaves were brought to this country from Africa, the slave masters took away their drums, because they knew that if the people could play their tribal music together, they would be more unified and strong. But those rhythms survived in the handclapping and foot stomping which they carried over into the church music, and that is why black church music sounds different than white church music.

When Indians were placed on reservations, they were forbidden to do their dances and songs and even speak their own language. One of the famous unintended consequences of this was the grassroots popularity of the ghost dance which led to the infamous uprisings of the late 1800s. Again, these rhythms gave groups of people strength and unity.

There are certain varieties of fundamentalist religious sects that forbid dancing. Why? It might raise the energy of people in a way that will make them harder to control.

How else can we see rhythm at work in our lives? Sympathetic vibrations, as I discussed in an earlier piece, shows the power of the Law of Attraction. Rhythms we send out have everything to do with what we get back.

What about rhythms of the spoken word? Listen to any of the people who are considered great public speakers, whether they are comedians, actors, singers, politicians, ministers, or teachers. Powerful speeches or entertainments have everything to do with timing and rhythm.

Cadence is everything in training people to work as a unit in the military. Think of all those chants that they all use when marching and drilling.

What about cheering your team on at a sporting event? Rhythm plays a huge part in working up energy in that context too.

Poetry readings. Listen to how much the rhythm of the words affect the delivery and impact of any poetry, whether it is classical or contemporary.

Think of how your life feels in or out of balance, based on how smoothly you get your work done, which has everything to do with having the proper timing to the beginning, middle and ending of a job or task. Think of how smooth things flow when you are cooking, and this ingredient is done in time to blend with that ingredient. Rhythm.

Why do you think that certain businesses choose certain types of music to play. Notice the difference between a place that does most of its business as a bar, and a place that is a more elegant restaurant. Think of the kind of music you hear in a bookstore, and the kind of music you hear in a coffee shop, the kind of music you hear in a grocery store or an oil change place. Why? Different rhythms create different moods, different appetites. Think about the different kinds of music you might choose for working out, cleaning house, making love or reading.

Think of the important influence rhythm plays in all aspects of life. Feel how this component we take for granted is invisible, but its effect is felt everywhere. And it makes all the difference in how effective we are at whatever we are doing.

Rhythm is one of the underlying building blocks of communication, which is so pervasive that we do not always recognize it because it is so embedded in our being. One of the best books on this topic is Gabrielle Roth's Maps to Ecstasy. To offer you one kernel of wisdom from her writing, consider this. When you notice the rhythm that a person is in, whether it is staccato or lyrical for example, can provide you with an important clue in having a breakthrough in communication with that person.

Think about the part that rhythm plays in nonverbal bonding with other people. This is one of the roots of the way that we develop closer feelings with a person just by walking with them in a park or dancing with them in a club or dance hall.

We all have rhythms and rituals in our lives although we might not be in the habit of thinking about them that way. For example, when I was younger, I could just jump out of bed in the morning, have a cup of coffee, get in the shower, then get in the car and go to work.

That rhythm does not work for me any more. Now I always set my alarm to allow two hours before I have to go somewhere or do something. That two hours is important for me to get my day off to a good start. I always begin by having coffee, writing notes to myself or jotting down dreams, reading something, perhaps pulling a card and meditating on that, and only after I have done those things do I fix something to eat and get cleaned up to go. Creating that rhythm to start my day is essential for me.

Each of us has our own rhythms, and they are just as ever present in our lives as our generation of thoughts and feelings. We each have our own rhythms and rituals, but we most certainly do have them.

Notice the terminology we use. When we are in the flow, or in the zone, what does that mean? When we are feeling creative, inspired, motivated, what does that mean?

It means we have found a smooth rhythm to operate in, and this enhances our productivity.

When we are doing work that we love, engaging in a hobby, activity or sport that we love, we are finding a rhythm that enhances what we do. And when we are acting in harmony with our passions, when we are engaged creatively, we are more closely connected to our spirit.

The secret power of rhythm is that it has everything to do with how we are and how we are, and the people who are aware of this factor can be more successful in every aspect of life.

Can you see how this works in your life? Can you feel it? Can you hear it? Can you smell it? Can you taste it?

This is the language we all speak, whether we know it or not.


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