Byron Metcalf

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Byron Metcalf, PhD, is a drummer, percussionist, recording artist, and record producer. With over 40 years as a professional musician, he has performed on gold and platinum albums in the pop and country fields and in recent years has been experimenting with the use of drums, percussion, and other sounds to induce non-ordinary (altered) states of consciousness in both ceremonial and therapeutic contexts.

Byron is also a transpersonal guide and educator, shamanic practitioner, researcher, and teacher. He holds a PhD in transpersonal psychology, a master's degree in counseling psychology, and is a certified graduate of Grof Transpersonal Training and Eupsychia Institute's Psycho-Spiritual Integration programs. Byron has trained, studied, and worked with shamans, healers, and psycho-spiritual teachers from many parts of the world. He has been intensely involved in consciousness research and spiritual development, specializing in the transformative potential of alternative states of consciousness. For more, visit byronmetcalf.com.

Author photo © Christopher Marchetti, Marchetti Photograph

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Inner Rhythm Meditations

By Byron Metcalf

My new album is ideal for bodywork, movement practices such as walking meditation and qigong, and promoting a state of relaxed, alert creativity. I invite you on an immersive journey with me into the rhythms and music of spaciousness and movement in Inner Rhythm Meditations.

For several years, I’ve wanted to create an album of relaxed tempos, easy meditative rhythms and compositions—a dramatic departure from the deep-trance oriented, concentrated sonic driving of the tribal-shamanic music, and sounds that have primarily defined my music over the past 18 years.

I began by experimenting with periods of meditation (both sitting and walking) followed by sessions in my studio with my intention set to fully trust what emerged from the rhythms of the muse—from the fertile ground that the meditations help cultivate. I was thrilled with the grooves and sounds that were coming through and this inspired me to move fully forward with my vision.

It soon became clear to me that I wanted to add guitars and flutes as my primary accompaniment. Erik Wøllo (an incredible guitar player from Norway) and Peter Phippen (Grammy-nominated flute player from Wisconsin) were both enthusiastic about the album and agreed to join me. Working with such amazing musicians brought my vision of this music to a whole new level! Their melodic and emotional sensitivity to what I was imagining literally took my breath away.

My music has always been a primary means of seeking and realizing the truth of my experience—to genuinely know what it means to live an authentic, soul-based and heart-centered life on this earth and to be a unique part the greater cosmos.

Deep Journeys,

Byron Metcalf

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The Place You Awaken

Establishing a place for regular outdoor meditation and nature observation is often referred to as a “sit spot” or “medicine spot”.  Like the Buddha, who found his own tree of awakening, we too can go to nature and practice being awake to the reality of the present moment.  This practice can also help us become more intimate with all the qualities of the land we live with.  

If one day I see a small bird and recognize it, a thin thread will form between me and that bird. If I just see it but don’t really recognize it, there is no thin thread. If I go out tomorrow and see and really recognize that same individual small bird again, the thread will thicken and strengthen just a little. Every time I see and recognize that bird, the thread strengthens. Eventually it will grow into a string, then a cord, and finally a rope. This is what it means to be a Bushman. We make ropes with all aspects of the creation in this way.” 

San bushman

Guided Sit Spot Practice

  1. Go to a place in nature that is close to where you live and that you can visit regularly.
  1. Take a few moments to center yourself, breathing in and out, and arriving fully in the present moment.
  1. As you are ready begin to walk mindfully with an intention to find a spot that calls out to you, a place you can sit and deepen your relationship with this place.  The spot should feel welcoming, safe and comfortable.  It could be under a tree, beside a boulder or in an open space.  Often, east facing spots can be nice for early morning sits.
  1. When you find a spot that feels good, in your own way, ask permission of that place and wait to see what comes to you.  If you feel invited, sit.  If not, keep looking.
  1. Once in your spot, sit comfortably and become as still as you can.  Imagine that you are melting into the earth, becoming a part of the land.  Sit for at least 15-30 minutes, noticing any movement, sounds, or other sensations and activities.
  1. Return often.

Find more practices for connecting to nature in Rewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature by Micah Mortali.

Read Rewilding today!

Sounds True | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Bookshop

Nature Meditation by a Window

With many people home-bound, we may need to get creative in seeking ways to connect with the natural world.  Sitting by an open window is one excellent practice for connecting with the outdoors, and it can be a powerful form of nature meditation as well.

“What is life?  It is the flash of a firefly in the night.  It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.  It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

Crowfoot, Orator of the Blackfoot Confederacy

  1. Find a comfortable seat by an open window that looks outdoors.  
  2. Morning, during the dawn chorus when birds are most active, can be a perfect time to enjoy your morning coffee or tea as you observe a new day emerge.
  3. Set an intention to stay present, letting go of thoughts or stories in your mind as they arise, and instead focusing your attention on whatever is fascinating in your environment.
  4. Sit for at least 15-30 minutes if you can.  Practice regularly to help alleviate stress, increase your sense of connection with your local environment, and awaken your senses.

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Find more practices for connecting to nature in Rewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature by Micah Mortali.

Read Rewilding today!

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Thich Nhat Hanh: Meditation Is for Everyone

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, poet, peace activist, and the author of over 100 books and numerous Sounds True learning programs, including The Art of Mindful Living and Living Without Stress or Fear. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Hanh about the core of Buddhist practice: discovering liberation through present-moment mindfulness. Hanh relates some of his experiences as a young monk in Vietnam, including his involvement in the “engaged Buddhism” movement. Finally, Tami and Hanh discuss why meditation is available no matter where you are or what condition you are in. (46 minutes)

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