Lots of us aspire to achieve harmony in all aspects of our lives, but it’s difficult to wrap our human heads around what harmony really is. If you’re a musician you already know you can’t achieve musical harmony without playing ALL the notes in a particular scale–including the sharps and flats. Generally speaking you know that this will include a root, something in between and a top note. In life, we can compare this musical metaphor to just about anything we perform.
Musical improvisation for example, usually begins with a song you know; learning a new movement, sport, game, skill – you name it – they all start with something we are familiar with. Especially if you’re like most of us, and that familiarity is felt as fear, at first. Because the simple fact is, most of us only think we know the difference between feelings of fear and joy.
Today we’re talking about harmony and the fact that what most of us really mean when we say we want to live in it is that we don’t want to experience any pain or discomfort. Pretty normal stuff. But what is REALLY going on in your body when something “hurts”? If you only felt the physical effect without the emotional judgement of it would you be able to differentiate between the heart-beat of fear versus joy or pain versus pleasure?
Fear can be described as our deep affinity for the known. Everything resists change until it becomes something new. Nothing really vanishes into extinction. That thing we named fear is the root of hate, jealousy, anger, loathing, ecstasy, joy, bravery and good will but the only place it really exists is in our minds. I’m not talking about legitimately dangerous situations here.
How you may be asking, does all this talk about fear pertain to harmony? Let’s go back to the metaphor for doing something new. You start with a song, a thought, a challenge or an idea you already know. You play around in that safety zone for a while floating up and down the scales (of music or experience) with the fervor of enthusiasm. Then, you move into the improvisation stage where you’ve most likely exhausted your senses or body to the point where real creativity can occur. You play around in there for a while, just dipping your toes in the shallow end or maybe diving right in to hunt for the treasures buried there in the depths of our darkest oceans. If you’ve ever made it past this point to the place where you touch the ocean floor, do a handstand on it while holding your breath, let your feet float over the top of you and let your body rise in tension without resistance back up to the surface in a buoyed back-bend and breathed the sweet, sweet air of life into full open lungs again on top of the water—even if it was only six feet deep—you know harmony.
It’s going from the known, into the unknown and back to the known. When musicians improvise a song, they always start with the root and quickly progress to the thing you know, “the hook”. That gets you interested enough to follow them when they go way off to the place where you don’t even recognize the song anymore. It’s exhilarating. Your heart races, beads of sweat are forming on the lips of the trumpet player. People who don’t normally dance are moving their bodies in strange ways. It’s getting to the point where things seem to be becoming a bit chaotic. You’re not really even sure if they are still playing the same song. You feel… frenetic—something is coming but you don’t know what is next—something is about to CHANGE! That’s when a good musician brings you up to the TOP, gives you “the pay-off” the PEAK of his or her performance and ultimately the crescendo we all seek so fervently. And the result of all this doubt and pain and discomfort on the part of the performers and the listeners—is so incredibly powerfully pleasing and fulfilling you can’t help but wonder why you ever doubted it was the song you knew all along.
You can unlock any door with the right “key”.
Most of us who like to think in terms of living in harmony with nature will be caught saying things like, “All we need is love,” at some point in our lives. But if you think love is all roses and sunshine and unicorns and there are no dragons to eat them or rain or dead roses then you’re going to live in a world waist high in unicorn poo and it’s gonna be pretty darn hot! But at least we won’t have to STOP to smell the roses anymore. 😉
There is plenty of room for anger and intolerance in a world where “climate change” is a house-hold word and school shootings aren’t shocking. Love as most of us think of it—the gooshy, squooshy flowers in the end of a gun barrel kind of love—isn’t going to solve those issues. Violence happens. Hurricanes happen. I’m not advocating for or against anything in this article, but that flower didn’t grow as a result of inaction or peace. It exploded from a seed penetrating the earth around it; fed on decay and forced its way into the light in order to survive. The person holding the weapon did too.
As parents we learn that FEAR inspires our children to obey us and we usually learn this at a time when we ourselves experience the most fearful moment of our lives—the moment the life of a child in is danger. We scream! We grab! We hit, punch, kick and shove with all our might then. We aren’t soft. We aren’t agreeable or peaceful or calm or any of that. There are clean ways to transmute even the most necessary of “evil” behaviors, but we needn’t worry ourselves with all that. Because what is going to happen, happens despite our trying to force the matter otherwise. You can manifest all you want, but you’re still in the band and we’re all playing the same song. The only thing you will ever have any hope of controlling is yourself, so you might as well learn how to play your own instrument the best you can. Some even consider this their duty or the meaning of life.
Speaking of symphonies, you never heard one you didn’t love—that gave you goosebumps and brought tears to your eyes—that didn’t contain sharps and flats. Even if you don’t know what that means musically speaking, you can sense the meaning of the words has a different connotation when it comes to harmony outside the amphitheater, off the page and in our daily lives.
Sometimes no matter what we do, things just FALL FLAT and don’t work out the way we planned. When you are living in harmony; it works out better than you ever imagined.
SHARP things can hurt you, but you don’t have to go around throwing yourself on the sword. In the game of life, we’re going to take some falls and it’s probably going to be humiliating no matter what you do to avoid pain or how much you seek it so you might as well enjoy the good times while they last, ’cause that too will pass.
A lot of this living in harmony stuff is little, tiny adjustments to the stuff of life that you’re already doing every day so congratulations—you’re a natural! There’s only a ½ step difference between a B and a Bflat. There’s only a half-inch between a catch and a miss. A half-second between now and then.
Where we live in each moment we live in harmony. There are those of us, strange as it may seem who don’t call it anything but LIFE. Each day they choose to listen/hear/read/play the music that is put in front of them. They choose to stay in rhythm with our planet and the people on it. The Naturals choose to listen/hear/read/play with the other living things around them instead of ignoring them or pretending they don’t exist or being better at it and pitying the rest of us. In my opinion, we can choose the members of our band and even the melody. But we don’t get to choose the music. That’s where obedience comes in.
A wise man told me once, “Always be ready to fly.” I’m taking that to heart in ways that go far beyond getting on a trapeze tomorrow or launching from a clifftop overlooking the sea to recline in a tandem para-glider with a skilled professional at the helm. One of those activities is work for me, the other is rest and both of them involve fear. The fear of having too much fun while others suffer. The fear of enjoying life to the fullest while others are not so lucky. The fear that I am incapable or unworthy or not good enough or that someone might make fun of me, or be proud of me, or love me and die—all the fears that don’t exist except in our minds because if you stop and listen, the heart-beat is the same.
I’m blessed these are my greatest lessons. Learning to have fun and be free to love in all the ways, to suffer and to sacrifice and to be humiliated. These things carve out space in us like water carves out rock. The deeper the caves and crevices, the more profound the depth and capacity to accept, contain and conduct any element with ease, agility and efficiency. And the best part is, we don’t even have to worry about how or why or when or what because it’s going to happen anyway.
Well, that was some pretty deep chit for a Wednesday morning so I’ll leave you with this to sum it all up. You can unlock any door with the proper key; but without a hinge, you’re pretty much screwed.
May all your doors have hinges.