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Life Without Joy and Phony Gurus

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When I first got involved in drum circles, I was so excited about it that I began visiting other drum circles to experience them and get ideas.

I was disappointed, for the most part.

I met lots of drum circle hosts/facilitators who took themselves very seriously. They clearly got lots of personal satisfaction out of choosing the rhythms and leading the circle as though it was an orchestra. They droned on and on about how drum circles aligned our brain hemispheres, or our chakras, or our resonant frequencies, or some other dull foolishness.

So I learned to run my drum circles the way I do… by allowing people to have the experience they came for, even when it’s not MY experience. As a result, we create a space that is safe for spirituality, creativity, or fun… or whatever folks come to get.

I’ve also drummed for kirtans for the last 10 years and I’ve seen the same phenomenon. Some kirtan artists take themselves very seriously. They create a public persona of forced, somber spirituality, doing their best impression of the wise guru atop the mountain bestowing peace and quiet wisdom on the ignorant masses. And people buy it! They pay money to bask in the presence of that goofy persona!

It’s ironic. Whenever you see pictures of the Dalai Lama… one of the rare human beings in this world who actually DOES have his shit together… he’s usually laughing hard.

He is my “gold standard.”

Show me a morose guru playing like he is at one with the universe and I’ll show you an entrepreneur with his hand in your pocket.

You cannot truly ‘see’ this life without seeing the joy. Anyone who sees only the dark and depressing and serious and somber side of this life without seeing the joy has nothing to teach you.

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