March 7th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 10
Unexpected spiritual experience in Bellevue
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Most people don’t know it, but there is a little-dedicated group that meets once a month for a drumming circle at the MDM in Bellevue. Attendance varies between six to a dozen and some bring their own drums while others use those provided. I saw kids there and old folks. The group is not meant to teach how to play drums in a band or orchestra, but more an environment where people can express what primitive cultures expressed for thousands of years by beating drums in unison. Each individual is free to do their own thing but the results express the communal nature of our species. In other words, people acting together create rhythm and unity, in this case, some kind of music. To me it represents humans attempting to be one with the heartbeat of Mother Earth.

Often when I hear popular modern music, any style of music, I will feel more disturbance than pleasure. I say to my wife, they are just trying to impress by making the most noise possible. When I see a stage in a “concert” with a group of people using electronic sound amplification with strong pulsating colored lights accompanied by artificial smoke, and they are all shouting at the top of their lungs, I feel assaulted.
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If I am driving close to a vehicle emitting loud music, I feel that the occupants are infringing on my human rights in order to enhance their personal pleasure. I felt that way in the 60s when traveling on an airplane sitting next to a chainsmoker who was blowing smoke in my face. In my opinion, pollution of any kind is not a good thing. I want others to have their freedom but regulate it so it will not infringe upon my freedom. I apply the same principle to everything including politics and economics.

Last Thursday in “Drumming Circle” someone said that there was a full moon outside. We were sitting in a circle, each with our own drum, African djembes, native and Celtic Frame Drums, South Indies Dunduns and Arabic tambourines. The leader of the group, Janet, told us to close our eyes and hum the well known OHM sound used for meditation. A single drum began beating like a heart and others joined in to create a rhythm. Someone added a little variation and someone else did the same.
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The rhythm by its own nature returned to a steady beat until I was not sure if our bodies were influencing the sound or the sound was controlling our bodies.

I opened my eyes and saw that the big room plunged into darkness. I guess the motion sensors assumed that there was nobody there. Just a little bit of light from the stairway revealed intense but peaceful faces above primitive musical instruments and the drumbeat sped up slowly all on its own. Faster and faster, the air around us vibrated until one drum distinctively sounded one… two…three… and silence. Someone shifted in their chair and the lights came back on.

I heard voices saying to each other, “Did you feel that?” Outside, the snow glistened on the mountain tops in the light of a full moon. Those mountains are silent but remember the sound of humans drumming from long ago. The rocks that slid down “the mountain that walks” glistened in the moonlight.

Avner Perl
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March 7th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 10
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