As my mind wandered during this morning’s meditation the phrase “he beats to a different drummer” popped into my mind. I wondered what was its origin, and I discovered it is attributed to the conclusion of Thoreau’s Walden: “If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.”
I’ve talked before about each of us possessing a different rhythm, and how athletes sometimes find themselves in rhythm where every putt is made, every shot goes down, and a batter’s swing seems grooved. The same goes for our every day pace. An early morning meeting or a leaky pipe can throw off our whole day. There are thousands of examples of these diversions, those little internal tensions that make our human violin play out of tune. Each of us over the years also have little rituals that bring us back into personal harmony.
In Japan the ritual of a tea ceremony is used to put everyone in synch with our personal drum. There are four basic principles of tea. “Wa, harmony; kei, respect; sei, purity; jaku, tranquility. If you have ever experienced the ceremony and have been taken through the steps you will sense each of the principles harmonize the beat of your heart to the beat of your drum.
I suspect Tom has a similar exercise that Sufi’s practice to connect one to his personal drummer. Whatever one’s faith and whatever the mechanism you use I get a sense that this harmonization is a glimpse of the kind of Sabbath each of us needs to give ourselves regularly, but rarely do.