Yesterday I led a workshop for my LifeWork Community Program on the topic of Harmony.

All of my studies and all of my experiences have led me to the understanding that a harmonious life is connected the expression of one’s personal truth. Put another way, you’re in harmony when you’re in your truth.

While “harmony” is a universal idea, each person has their own truth that they live and breathe. With 7 billion people now on the planet, I often wonder how can we take 7 billion unique ways of being and get them to fit together harmoniously?

As we see everyday, our ways of being seldom synch up peacefully. We fight, we war, we oppress others based on the color of their skin, their gender, or their beliefs.

Yet, in the face of this apparent disharmony, I still believe that harmony is ultimately attainable.

What I call harmony is not as lofty as a utopian principal. It’s much more down to earth. It’s something that we can strive for each day.

I like definitions of harmony that refer to it as an agreement or congruity. I see it as an accord between two or more things.

Yet, all too often we block ourselves from perceiving harmony. We cultivate – and give into – mindsets that analyze, deny or set up false dualities.

These mindsets are so common it’s no wonder that people often cry out for peace. When we approach our lives through criticality, we analyze our moments so that we can’t see the proverbial “forest through the trees.”

All of these mindsets contain a common element of “this not that.” This means that we set up dichotomies in which we pit situations against each other. One example of this line of thinking says: if I forgive this person, then they win. Another is: if you want something to work, then you need to figure out all the ways it might not work to prevent failure.

Each of these lines of thinking generates a lack of harmony in our world.  And this is important. We’re bold to assume that the universe is or is not harmonious based on our own experience of it.

There are ways we can look at the world through a more harmonious lens. We can choose to accept people and situations with which we struggle. We can try to see and empathize with what’s happening on either side of a scenario. We can look at how things fit together rather than how they conflict.

If you want to build more harmony into your life, here are a few skills you can practice everyday.

    Acceptance: Acceptance is the opposite of denial.  Yet, it’s not as simple as adopting a belief or idea. Rather, it’s the ability to let go of the struggle, regardless of whether that struggle is rooted in reality or fantasy.
    Curiosity: If we inquire into that which we disprove or deconstruct, we can learn how it works rather than how it doesn’t work.
    Unity: If we allow many ideas to exist alongside one another rather than thinking in terms of either/or, we open to a new world of possibilities. It’s not about making all ideas line up. Rather, its about allowing them to exist in their multiplicity.

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