By Lynn Seiser
Everything Has A Unique Rhythm
He climbed down an old wooden ladder into a covered hole in the ground. He felt the dampness of the earth and smelled the burning sage and sweetgrass. The fire kept the temperature high. He could feel the sweat roll off his body. This was going to be a long night. The old ones instructed him to listen only to the drumming. They would take him far away to a lesson he needed to learn. As the drums continued, he found himself watching a herd of wild animals running. He could sense the rhythm of their fear. The sounds of their hoofs kept rhythm with the drums, as did his heart. He woke up from his dream in a pool of sweat, his heart racing.
The next day we talked about his dream. The dreamtime is very important. All cultures, throughout time, respected dreams. In modern times, we tend to look down on the dreamers, even if they are the ones who give us direction and inspiration. We also no longer believe dreams can come true. Since we do not take time to understand our dreams, we seldom even remember them. I felt his dream was very powerful and meaningful for him. I asked if he wanted to find out more. He was eager.
He closed his eyes and began to relax. I told him to pay attention to the drumming, just as the old ones had. He listened closely as he reentered his dream. The rhythm would take him. The drums would lead him. This is one of the first lessons. Everything in life has a rhythm. Do you listen to it? It can tell you a lot. Do you walk or talk at a fast pace? Does your heart often race with the rhythm of a frightened animal? Fear has a unique rhythm. Many people suffer from anxiety and stress because they are out of rhythm or they let others dictate a pace that is too fast. Watch a couple in love. They walk, talk, and even breathe at the same rate. They are in the same unique rhythm. They move as one person. Love has a unique rhythm. Others may relate as if each were dancing to a different beat, at an obviously different rhythm. Everything and everyone has a rhythm. What does yours tell you about yourself?
My friend followed the rhythm of the drums until he easily found himself again sitting on the hill watching the stampede. He began to realize that he often was a spectator in his life and did not join the pack. He felt alone and detached from the rest of his kind. I asked him to let himself join in their rhythm of the running. He joined. He ran. At first, he simply enjoyed being a part of the rhythm rather than apart from it.
Soon he became aware of the rhythm of fear. The pace steadily increased. The drums, the hoofs and the heartbeat became one. He ran faster. I asked if he knew what he was running from. He did not know. Fear is like that. Seldom do we know what we are afraid of because we are running too hard just trying to get away from it. I asked him to look around to see what was creating this fear. He found nothing outside of the herd. He followed the rhythm into his own heart and into his mind. He found a memory that had happened long ago. He ran from it then and continues to run away from it now. I asked if the threat was over. He agreed it was, but he had never stopped running in fear long enough to find out.
If there is no threat now, perhaps you can let the drums slow down some, I offered. As the drums slowed their rhythm, he began to run slower. His heart rate slowed as well. Soon he was walking and enjoying the new pasturelands, he was one. He looked around at his fellow runners. They too appeared pleased not to have to run at such a pace. They were keeping rhythm with the drums as well. Everything has a unique rhythm. I asked him to bring this slower-paced drum rhythm back with him and into his everyday life. He smiled.
The next night, as he entered to dreamtime again, he asked the drums to bring him back to the damp earth, the smell of sage and sweetgrass, and to the old ones. He thanked them for the vision he had received. They smiled. The drums kept a slow and steady beat as he slept deeply for the rest of the night. I thank you for listening and for sharing the unique rhythm on this journey.
Lynn Seiser, Ph.D., is an internationally respected psychotherapist in Seal Beach, CA with more than twenty years of direct clinical experience in recovery counseling for offenders and victims of violence, trauma and abuse. He is also the President of the Board for the Tenshinkai Aikido Foundation, a nonprofit public benefit corporation that supports nonviolent conflict resolution, and personal and social responsibility through the philosophy and practice of Aikido. Lynn is known for his work in "holistic" recovery from addictions and his emphasis on "healthy" relationships. He is also a consultant, speaker and writer offering 11 web pages at http://members.aol.com/SeiserL/index.html and can be e-mailed at SeiserL@aol.com . To discuss the benefits of his services, to make a referral, or to make an appointment, contact him at 550 Pacific Coast Hwy., #203, Seal Beach, CA 90740 or call (562) 799-1371.
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