Friday, February 11, 2011

Drumming as Prayer

Whilst at the SCM conference this weekend just gone by I took part in a drumming workshop. Using West African drums, Kara, the workshop leading lead us through a new way of praying.

We each had a copy of a psalm, (86 I think) and whilst reading through it silence, meditatively, we had to look for words or phrases that leapt out at us, and ponder those words. Very similar to Lectio Divina if you've ever tried that.

Then we had to drum out that phrase, either the rhythm of the words, or sounds representing those words, or sounds on how the words made us feel.

My words were "For To You I Cry" and as the session word on I drummed the rhythm, the shape, the sound of crying. Sometimes I just just drummed a cry.

All the words and sounds of the group looped together. Sometimes there was a big sound, all in sync, and other times chaos and no rhythm. I sat quietly for a time and listened to the sound. And naturally, gently it came a close all together. When our prayer was done.

I found praying with my whole body like this, going over and over my cry to God as my hands were busy, my feet busy, my easrs busy so soothing so easy The active me was occupied, and the rest of me could focus on God. It was grand to hear my prayer subsumed into the large prayer of the group.

This became a theme of the weekend, looking for ways to pray with the all, to keep focused on God. I taught some to knit, ans some made knots and plaits of wool whilst praying. Some suggested praying with clay or plasticine in ones hands.

I've been diving in and out of prayer since coming home. Looking for the time for the subversive silence all through the day.

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