I have played the guitar since I was thirteen years of age, so I have come to appreciate rhythm. I cradle my guitar in my arms and strum, down-down-up-down, down-down-up-down, over and over again. Soon it becomes easy, fluid and habitual. Then it simply exists in my muscle memory and I no longer have to work at it or think about it; it just kinda happens.
This is what occurs with life. Rhythms slowly develop without any thought as to whether they are good, bad or neutral in their effects. Get up, breakfast, read the paper, watch television, go to work, eat lunch, work some more, return home, watch sport, eat dinner and sleep. It starts over in the morning.
The rhythms we have unthinkingly adopted prevent us from experiencing peace. Our daily routines exist as distractions, stopping us from recognising those things that are truly positive and beneficial, not just for ourselves, but for all of humanity.
New rhythms can be cultivated to create peace in our lives. For example, those words I didn’t recognise in my first blog – Vigils, Lauds, Mass, Midday Hour, Vespers and Compline – refer to hours in the day that the Sisters would use to mark their time for corporate singing, prayers, reading and reflecting.
These Sisters are farmers and artisans in candle making between allocated worship times, so they keep busy. But they are deliberate in the rhythms they choose to adopt by allocating time to things they believe really matter.
Silence, prayer and meditation are good rhythms to cultivate for several reasons, as expressed in this blog series. But good rhythms extend to anything that we consider valuable. For example, intentional time with our partners or children, walking along the beach, offering support to the vulnerable and playing sport can yield peace dividends.
Intentionally introducing new and positive rhythms into our lives may just be the beginning of a whole new way of life.
I am now seeking to regularise positive rhythms in life, before I’m subject to another attack whose origins are within. I need the life, hope, sustenance and positivity that better rhythms can bring. Will you join me?
These steps may help you to adopt new rhythms:
1) Identify the current rhythms you have in your life
2) Question their validity – are they good, bad or neutral? Do they help you find peace, or bring harm?
3) Make a list of new rhythms that you would like to begin
4) Prioritise the ones that you would like to try first
5) Cultivate routine around the new rhythms, and
6) Slowly introduce the other new rhythms you identified
I hope you have enjoyed this “peace within” series and that it has brought you incredible benefits as you adopt or continue these practices.