Music and Mindfulness – with Christopher Hardy
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Christopher took his seat in the middle of the concert hall. A flow of people filled the room. The lights went dark, and all the talking heads turned silent. In the quiet and dark, electricity filled the air as people waited for the music. And when the music started, Christopher felt a rush of wondrous sound.
BUBADA BUBADA BUBADA BUBADA! BUBADA BUBADA BUBADA BOOM!
In the center of the sound, Christopher saw the flashing movements of a man. It was Tony Williams — the great drummer. Christopher watched the drummer’s hands — rolling and spinning like the hands of three men. He played fast. He played smooth. He played strong. He made music on the drums. He made the drums sing. He beat the time of the moon, the sun, the sky, and the stars on the drums. He played with such high skill. And Christopher’s eyes and ears opened wide with surprise.
The drumming filled the room with rolling waves of sound. Tony Williams led his band, but Christopher heard only drums. He felt the clear and complex rhythms in his chest and in his bones. And he saw something that he did not expect. The drummer played like a boss, like a king, like a superman — in the center of it all.
This kind of musical experience can shape a mind. Great music plays with your brain and changes how you feel about life. Great music lifts you to a higher level of experience. Great music pulls you into a deeper place of wonder. Tony Williams moved the mind of young Christopher — taking him to deeper seas and higher skies of music.
This experience — and others like it — moved Christopher to live a life of music. And today, based in Japan, Christopher Hardy lives with drums, literally hundreds of them. He plays drums in his own groups, Tokyo Groove Alliance and Tatopani. And he has played with many famous artists, including Sting, The Yellow Monkey, Hamza El Din, John Kaizan Neptune, Origa, Dereb Desalegn, Kazumi Watanabe, and Cirque du Soleil. If you watch Christopher play, you may feel like dancing. But you may also hear something else — a message in the music.
His drums play a message of musical mindfulness.
What is mindfulness? When we are mindful, we live and breathe in the now. We live in the present. We clear our minds. We return to the basics of life. We enter the essential and natural sounds around and inside us. We feel our breath. We feel our hearts beating in our chests. We feel the blood flow through our bodies. And we find deeper peace and quiet energy.
Every day, we need time for mindfulness. We need to take a break. We need to breathe. By breathing, we can increase mindfulness. Stop everything and breathe for a minute. Slow down and feel the air enter your body. But we can also become more mindful by listening to the hand drums of Christopher Hardy. Watch and listen to Christopher play. Let the music and rhythm set the pace, tempo, and meter of your mind.
Stop everything for one or two minutes. Stop thinking about trouble. Stop thinking about work. Stop thinking about what you need to do. Just hear and feel the beat and the music. Let the gentle rhythms move your mind and heart. Let the drums bring you to a deeper state of mindfulness. Let the drums become the meter of your day. Listen, rest, and ride the rhythm — fully present in the now.
After you listen, set your energy and purpose for the next hour or so. You will feel more power and focus. You will feel calm energy. Then come back again. Stop everything. Listen to the beat. Feel it in your body. Feel it on your skin. Feel it in your fingers. Clear your head. Reset your energy and purpose. Let the music and rhythm carry you to a place of deeper mindfulness.