The tempo is the thang

Our intellectual mind is the most recent arrival at the party of human evolution, and it doesn’t even know it. Walking into the scene, the intellectual mind says,

“OK! Now the party can start. I am here!”

Our sense of rhythm was the first to arrive, setting up the drums for the party of our life, long before the frontal cortex was even a glimmer in mother nature’s eye. In the womb, the tempo outside triggered different survival chemicals to secrete into baby’s bloodstream. Was it a dangerous environment out there? i.e. fast, aggressive, chaotic tempos. Or was it sedate, bucolic. Or maybe stressful with pompous royal grooves? Whatever the rhythmic calling card, our sensibilities are decided without our having a chance to decide what we want. That is the human condition. Our intellectual mind decides things. That is what it does, often rescinding things that do not fit into it’s rational box. So late to the gig of life, the fretful mind excludes things that can not be spoken of. It decides not to see these things that don’t fit it’s rational template. But there are more things than there are words. There is more reality outside of our definition of reality than we can imagine. Our intellectual mind has blind spots. One very important blindside is rhythm. The so smart, so clever critical mind can be controlled by the first sense we had; our sense of rhythm. That is why commercials have soundtracks, why movies have driving drumbeats to stimulate war or any other imperative. We are driven by rhythm and we don’t even know it. To get this horsepower under control is simpler than thinking; start a steady tempo at about 50 beats a minute. Hit a deep downbeat tone on every beat, nothing special or fancy. Then slow your tempo down to about forty beats. Don’t let the critical mind get you into a tizzy deciding what is correct tempo. Just slow the thing down. Critical mind will fight this maybe. Experience the drama and continue to slow down, little by little. Viola! You have just broken free of the critical mind’s hold over your operating system. You are beholding the universe in all of it’s undefinable mystery.

excerpt: “History of the Groove” Russell Buddy Helm ©2015 all rights reserved

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