Harmony is in the blending of differences. We experience it in the coming together of various sounds in music, in the flavourful mixture of distinct ingredients in our favourite recipe.
But when it comes to harmony between people, between the various components of a person’s life, or harmony within ourselves, it’s easy to experience discord.
If we don’t like a song, we can choose not to listen to it. However harmonious it sounds to someone else, harmony is subjective. But perceiving harmony in difference is also a choice. When something is unfamiliar or unappealing at first, we can choose to accept the new, embrace the difference, and choose harmony over discord.
If we don’t like the way a recipe turns out, we can make tweaks to improve it for next time; change is always possible. We have the control to change ingredients or measurements in a recipe, or to change the components of our lives. In cases where something is unchangeable or where we shouldn’t seek to change it (for example, in the case of another person), we can choose to change the lens through which we’re looking at it so we can shift our perspective towards a more harmonious one.
To be in harmony with each other, being open to new ideas and ways of seeing the world, being willing to try and understand differences or what we perceive as ‘otherness’, and embracing (or at least accepting) people for who they are rather than trying to mold them to our own ideals, is key.
To achieve harmony with our lives, we can aim for a comfortable balance between its various moving parts, and integrity between what our hearts desire those parts to be, and what they actually are. Where change isn’t possible, or where we choose the status quo, we’ll need to accept the path we have chosen, or the path that has been placed in front of us.
To find harmony with ourselves, we want to feel wholeness and alignment between our values and our practices. We want to feel connected with the different roles we play, or ‘hats’ we wear. And we want to feel good and proud of who we are, and what we think, so we can express it without worry, both in word and especially in action, so we can create the life we want to live.
Of course, this is all easier said than done. But wherever we are on our individual journeys, we can decide to move in a direction we feel happy about, however small or gradual our steps. We can feel gratitude for each stage we find ourselves in, and treat ourselves with acceptance, love and compassion as we continue to change, ebbing and flowing through our experiences.
The easier we find it to love ourselves, treating ourselves without judgment, the easier it will be to extend that kindness and empathy to other people.
Will there still be people we can’t stand? Of course. We are all human – but accepting that is what harmony is all about.
December’s theme at CSLto is Say yes to Harmony.
Try this: Close your eyes, and reflect upon an area of your life where you feel discord. Now create a plan of action for creating harmony in that area.