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Steven Ash
from: Steven Ash
Category: Drumming

The five senses in the medicine wheel

Touching the five senses in the medicine wheel


Historically and practically there is a direct link between each of the five senses and the sacred directions of the medicine wheel. I have been exploring these connections in my daily meditations using my drum and found them to be very powerful. In a somewhat poetic form I have written down the method I am using which is based upon an ancient meditation system from India, blended with medicine wheel teachings from a variety of world cultures.

I start here where I am, breathing the sky, plonked down here like a fast moving watery being on the earth mother. All around me is life, doing the same as me; so rich in colour, sound, taste and diversity. Awaken, I must awaken to this magnificence.

I sit still,  I get settled, having shaken loose from my nights restful sleep. Having a cup of tea, sip it with a biscuit crisp and tasty, making sure I am here, safe and sound; and awakened to this moment’s possibilities.

As any good story starts, ‘When you are ready we can begin’

Set up a rhythm on your drum that wards off distractions and brings you into focus and then brings the drums rhythm into alignment with your heart. Look in front, too both sides and behind, close the eyes and seeing from inside look again. Vision your surroundings and be grateful, for this is your and my world.

As you look inside there is light, wonderful life giving light. This light is your soul glowing in resonance with the external light around you. There in the East the sun is rising, has risen, and is always rising for someone. The birds dawn chorus like a constant wave of rejoicing, is always greeting the day. Living teacher you are, fly like an eagle, greet the elemental air on your outstretched wings.

Breathe to the South, the way that you are always facing, and drum in your pleasure. What are the many gifts you have been given that you can breathe in and receive? And then breathe out to them in gratitude. To your children, and their children; your lover and the passion of laughter that flashes like lightening when least expected. This is the place of feelings, of skin against skin, of sparked emotions kindled with fiery passion. Warm homes, for the growing family, safe in supporting relationships.

Listen now to the West wind that sings in your head; is this your soul wanting to be heard? Can you hear your mothers and fathers singing to you from their golden faces that float and change as turning, curling and folding pages of a book?

Listen to your drumming for a while, until you feel the trust that calms your brain, telling you how much you are loved. Remember, remember your parents love for you, and drink in these dreams, like the coolest deepest waters. Let this sweetness of memory, these dreams be real, imagining as if your life is made from visions, which it is! All life is made from imaginings, fleeting and exciting pictures as every child knows.

Imagine now as you drum your dream into your most lonely self. When you are alone who is with you? Go north, where is north for you as you sit? Go there breathe and smell the track going out from you into this mystery. Be bold, taste into the saliva of your mouth and the smells in your moist nostrils. Sniff the air of the North, and connect with all you do not understand. Where do I go when I sleep? Where will I go when I die? Is there something I am missing?Where is all of this life taking me? What is around the corner? I don’t even know what is around the corner?

Dive over, drum over like a waterfall, feed that feeling across the centre. Give this empty awareness of you “not knowing” give it into your southern abundance of having so much. Be humble and admit that, ‘You do not know’

Open up, open, open and let the magnetic waves of grandfather sun, that pours through the body of our sacred mother earth, invite it to also pour through you, invisibly carrying with your deep desire, magnified gratitude for just the fact of being here.

“You who are the source of all power

Whose rays illuminate the whole world

Illuminate also my heart

So that it too can do your work” Gaytri Mantra

Look inside, everything is within you. That sound singing is you, this is your soul being seen and sung. All the pictures, visions and film like screens are you seeing the divine. Take away the judgement of what is good and what is bad. See it all as how it is. Every choice you have made has brought you here.

See it all, and as you look towards everything you are seeing, mix the pictures with the sounds that you can hear across the centre, centralise it all.

The visions, breath, sound and taste all meet in the middle. Into the core of the up of grandfather sky and down into the core of mother earth and  concentrated where they meet in the heart, into this core where the holy name sits in the majesty of life’s meeting place.

Drum is holding you in place, keeping you in focus. A dome, a drone of sound that bleaches away all other distractions. Imitating the heart within the heart that beats on and on. Forming a road of stepping feet on which to travel. Inside and outside it is all the same. Rhythm and even movement, gentle and touching.

Drum holding you in a place where you deserve to be.

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