To Misinterpret Harmony

Harmony isn’t necessarily something that we get to feel a lot of in this world, yet each of us knows it intimately and instantly. When we say aloud the word harmony, a vibration is felt that holds its true essence. We know harmony; we know it inside out, even if we don’t feel harmonious within ourselves or observe it in everyday life very much at all.

But why is harmony not our everyday way? Why is harmony something we feel in a moment now and again, and not lived or expressed with any consistency?

Is harmony something long forgotten? Do we even aspire to it anymore, or is there so much disharmony in the world that we are content to settle for something less, something that does not hold the stillness and joy that is harmony?

Many people have given up on harmony, settling for poor substitutes instead. We tirelessly try to make it feel like our lives are harmonious when indeed they are not. This is certainly something I relate to well. For many years there was little harmony in my inner world, and certainly not felt in the outer world either. I grabbed hold of the next best thing, a far lesser version, but one I thought I could maybe control, and that was… keeping the peace.

I’ll come right out and say that keeping the peace is not harmony. In fact, keeping the peace is an absolute misinterpretation of harmony.

So often in relationships we are not upfront and say that we don’t want to cause any trouble or upset another, so we hold back and tippy toe around, often causing more of a mess than being honest in the first place. We say Yes when we want to say No, No when we want to say Yes, we make excuses for ourselves and others instead of being honest, and we hold back, purposely changing the way we are and what we say.

Somehow, when we are not honest to another, we convince ourselves that keeping the peace is the best thing to do, and so we try to trick them with our mistruth, our fabricated story, and can feel relief when we get away with it too. But do we really get away with it?  We all feel everything, which means that we feel each other’s lies, mistruths, manipulation, insincerity, avoidance, and any slight change in our relationship… we feel it all.

Keeping the peace doesn’t call each other to be more responsible, nor does it heal or offer another the opportunity to evolve. It may avoid any initial confrontation, but the tension remains, left to build for another day.

I have discovered that when we say what needs to be said, and when it is delivered with honesty and understanding, we offer the gift of all gifts. Being honest offers everyone involved the chance to put a behaviour under the spotlight for review. It’s a blessing. And it is a very loving thing to do.

What if keeping the peace in any relationship, whether it be at work or home or anywhere really, is not actually about holding back the truth to try to keep harmony in our relationships or about preventing another from feeling upset or rejected, even though these are the stories we may tell ourselves?

What if holding back is actually about ourselves – about not wanting to lose something that we receive out of a particular relationship?

It might be financial security from a partner so we don’t have to face what awaits us in the workforce, a friendship that distracts us from feeling loneliness, it might be to keep a girlfriend or a boyfriend rather than lose the relationship, to have family members continue to babysit the children even though they come home high on a sugar buzz. With these realities, we may have to look a certain way to avoid facing the reality… wow, there are so many things that can be held back under the misconception of peacekeeping when in fact we are just not wanting to lose something we have invested in. It’s like an unspoken contract we have with each other. We may have convinced ourselves this is all creating harmony, but it is not harmony at all, it is just about self.

This may be difficult to admit, but this realisation is amazing as it allows us to break unhealthy and entrenched patterns, the control we put on each other when we don’t live true to harmony. It sets both parties free to be more open and honest, to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done… from love, rather than need. It is here that we begin to truly embrace harmony, because it is a life based on truth and on love. Harmony is the ingredient that enriches our relationships.

Peace, on the other hand, offers a temporary relief from adversity, but it is not harmony.  Peacekeeping actually allows and supports disharmony, because the matter is only suppressed, not truly resolved. It happens in war but it plays out in our relationships as well; a tension, unrest, anger, frustration, rage and even violence and then… the moment when it is squashed, postponed to be dealt with again for another day. This is not harmony.

‘Tolerance’ is another word to ponder upon in the discussion of harmony. To me the word tolerance holds a lack of acceptance, an inability to truly embrace something in full and can be something we ‘put up with.’ We see this often in how people try to deal with race, culture, and sexual orientation, but it is in our personal relationships as well. They don’t really agree with it all, but know on some level they have to look like they are. Eventually all that we tolerate will reach a breaking point and that’s because tolerance does not resolve the core of the problem – it’s more like a band-aid on a sore that just won’t go away. Tolerance (alongside keeping the peace) is not harmony.

There is something so very pure about harmony. It offers us true freedom, releasing us from the inner tension created by the turmoil of ideals and beliefs and the contracts we have with people to do what we have always done. To express harmony is to express love from a place within where there is no agenda, no motivation, no desire for an outcome or manipulation required. Harmony is a stillness within the body that allows you to express yourself in your fullness, without any compromise or fear of reprisal or judgement.  Harmony is never without absolute responsibility and understanding.

We are constantly provided with a reflection of harmony, as a way to inspire us to reclaim it in our lives. We are offered the beauty of nature and its cycles, forever reminding us of the ebb and flow that is harmony. The sun and the moon dance each day in a perfect synchronised movement, each taking a turn to shine. Even in the city there are blades of grass sprouting from awkward places on concrete footpaths and at any time we can look up and see the clouds moving effortlessly in the sky. We are constantly reminded that harmony is our true way.

To misinterpret harmony, by ‘keeping the peace’ or being ‘tolerant,’ is to reduce the brilliance of what it truly offers. Harmony is sacred and expresses from within. Our life will never have true meaning until we live a life that honours the true meaning of the word harmony, a meaning that needs no further explanation, because it is known in full by us all.

By Maree Savins, Australia

Further Reading:
The Grandness of our own Love
The Difference Between Peace and Harmony
What Happens When We Do Not Speak Up?


540 thoughts on “To Misinterpret Harmony

  1. Harmony is the most gorgeous and and delicious thing to feel in the body. Our whole body warms to it naturally and it heals tension! Why not seek harmony when tension is felt instead of try to manage it with numbness and reaction?

  2. Its interesting to ponder on given the advent of many ‘harmony days’ across Australia and possibly internationally. What does harmony mean and are these celebration days merely scratching the surface of what it means to live in harmony? These days are definitely about everyone in the community coming together and sharing different aspects of our lives. But they end up being about food, music and dress and we are so much more than that. We could say that at least we are starting somewhere, but with limiting to get to know someone who maybe culturally different based on these external factors are we keeping true harmony even further away, because we think that that’s it? I feel we see true harmony after natural disasters, where community becomes global and we step in to support each other, help each other and just get on with being with people. There is purpose in this and demands nothing in return only the wellbeing of another. Its a shame that we need events like these to bring us together and show us how we can be together.

  3. Keeping the peace is essentially a way of managing movement so it does not go all the way it could go. It is about moderating it, controlling it. There is no freedom associated with it. Restriction is at its core. Harmony is a totally different movement that has freedom as its foundation. It is a movement capable of returning to itself without being channelled to go there.

    1. That is gold Eduardo that peace is still a “restriction” and control – very true. Peace may look good compared to war, but compared to harmony it’s many flaws and weaknesses become apparent.

  4. I sometimes forget that harmony is even possible, and thus there is no chance of it being my everyday! But that can change in a moment, by simply allowing that harmony is natural, and is possible.

    1. Yes..when we give ourselves the space to feel, harmony is naturally there, within us and waiting to be felt. Our connection to harmony is actually always there within us, it can’t go anywhere because it is part of us. So we can only ever dismiss, dampen, deny that it’s there – and it’s this – our own disharmonious actions on top of the natural harmony – that causes the disharmony within our bodies.

  5. You are spot on Maree. There is so much about our world that is far from harmonious. There is the obvious stuff like violence etc and the subtle stuff like the way people rush. All disharmony is a reflection of what we as humans have chosen. When nature is disharmonious it is because of what humans have done. Humans are the most disharmonious beings on the planet and yet it is we who absolutely know what true harmony is.

  6. Tolerance feels like the suppression of harmony, of us accepting less because we don’t want truth. And yet – this cannot last. But what if we know and feel the truth of a situation so that we can all learn from it, as is shared here – and that what we feel is not ours to hold back. We actually do know the difference between peace and harmony, but the question is how much truth are we willing to accept and live?

  7. A brilliant blog Maree, and great to expose how ‘tolerance’ and ‘peacekeeping’ isn’t the answer. When we live and move in harmony we produce a ripple affect that is far and wide reaching for others to be inspired by.

  8. When put side-by-side, harmony and peace feel like polar opposites. Like you’ve so precisely dissected Maree – peace is a tolerance, a level of acceptability that comes with conditions. Compared to war, of course, it is better, but why stop at better when we can have truth? Harmony is available and humanity can live in harmony, rhythm and flow with one another and everything we are connected to.

  9. Harmony is very expansive and holding whereas peace is something we have to strive for, achieve and somehow keep together lest it vanish into thin air and expose the unresolved issue that lie hidden beneath.

    1. Well said Gabriele and Stefanie, peace is a temporary surface arrangement hiding simmering tensions, whereas harmony is a natural living way that is part of our essence. In choosing peace we do not return to who we truly are, which is harmony in essence.

  10. In harmony there are no significant differences. They are just needed to complement each other in its balanced flow.

  11. As I let go of the attachments, expectations and investments in my relationships then true love is expressed. Where there is any reaction, hardness or protection then I have not truly let go and where there is any condition lived in any relationship I am not being and living true to me.

  12. Oh gosh, it’s so true that in trying t keep the peace, we make more mess than if we were just honest and out with it. It might appear at the time that everything has been smoothed over, but talk about burying the elephant in the room, which is certain to pop up out of the sand again in the not so distant future, but this time with added dose or resentment etc etc. Keeping the peace doesn’t work, I’ve tried it for years, decades even.

    1. Elodie that is so cute and very true “burning the elephant in the room”! Somehow we then engage in a kind of dance together stepping around it as we confirm an arrangement instead of sharing a loving truth that is waiting to be felt and spoken.

      1. Yes so true in ‘trying’ to keep the peace there is an effort involved, a tolerance and arrangement as you say, it is saying “you leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone”. When we are trying to keep the peace we are actually adding to the dis-harmony. Sometimes it takes a storm to clear the way for the sun to shine again.

  13. Maree this is a wonderful sharing and one that I feel we all need to consider in our lives. I particularly can relate strongly to ” keeping the peace”.

    1. Keeping the peace is such a strong ideal in society, it usually means holding back ones expression. Sure it’s great to not be verbally abusive, but what if such ideals cap and suppress a truth that could be lovingly spoken? We are taught not to unsettle people, to keep the peace and be polite, but what if a truth we need to share can lead to greater love, wisdom and harmony for everyone, even if it’s initially unsettling? Could keeping the peace then be in these situations keeping the comfort?

  14. Harmony is a way of flow in my life. This is how I relate to the word harmony. Every move reflects me, if I am in the universal flow or not. I love to play with that on a daily basis.

  15. Harmony creates and comes from space, whereas tolerance and peace is connected to time. Harmony expands, tolerance and peace stagnates a movement that initially came from reduction and contraction.

  16. Your words really point to how we settle for something that on the surface looks “harmonious”, when in actually fact it is a carefully covered mess of tension, comfort, tolerance and the self’s agenda to maintain an arrangement. Every time we know and feel to say something and do not we go out of harmony with our inner natural flow, and contribute to the outer disharmony.

  17. ‘We know harmony; we know it inside out, even if we don’t feel harmonious within ourselves or observe it in everyday life very much at all.’ We would not feel the tension of disharmony in our body if harmony was not one of the ingredients of love, the quality we are made of and we get reflected every day through our beautiful nature we are surrounded and its messages,the magic of God.

  18. ‘Keeping the peace doesn’t call each other to be more responsible,’ It allows us to ‘get away with’ what we need to address head on, for when we do not we let in a rot that keeps on growing until we’re accepting a state of affairs that we have to, at some point. admit is not ok.

  19. The irony is, as you have so brilliantly presented Maree, is that in ‘keeping the peace’, not wanting to ‘make waves’, we are actually avoiding addressing or arresting loveless momentums, and instead are saying ‘yes’, we will concede to the continuation of loveless movements allowing a reduction of who we are to be normalised. In ‘keeping the peace’ we are stepping away from our responsibility to express the truth we feel and know. For in-truth, harmony is our innate way of being, our every part of our body and Soul is attuned to the great harmony of Universal Law, one that we are intrinsically part of and as such have full access to this intelligence whenever we are willing to surrender to its pull.

  20. It is a significant point that peacekeeping which has its success based on the lack of bullets flying “actually allows and supports disharmony, because the matter is only suppressed, not truly resolved.” In relationships it is the same when we tip toe around the truth in order to avoid rocking the boat. Far more harmonious to live with truth which honours ourselves and everyone else equally, and if there are issues to be resolved they are brought into the open, offering the opportunity for them be lovingly addressed.

  21. Harmony is a movement that holds all equally responsible and supported to be just as we are. It is from this movement we then confirm each other via respect, honesty and integrity and that is true responsibility for the all.

  22. It is very pertinent to consider our reasons for not being honest and lovingly bringing harmony to any situation. Unfortunately the needs and desires we have can, and do, greatly taint our ability to stand strong with our essence and share the harmony that is felt there.

  23. I can feel how there’s much inner-conflict and disharmony underneath peace, and I know how I employ that maneuvering in my life, and that cannot be good for my body.

  24. Thank you Maree, harmony is a little discussed quality, yet the word “peace” and its symbol are pervasive. Anything that is a fabrication of the truth including the word “love” is super popular. This world could be known as planet Re-interpretation 🙂 What I appreciated today reading was to check in with my own quality of harmony, as well as how that is or is not present in my relationships, and also appreciating the deeper insights I now have from my read today, thank you.

  25. Harmony offers us the freedom to be ourselves, to be aligned to our body’s natural rhythm and to be open to expressing from the truth we feel within. It is when we separate from this quality of connection within us, that our movements become disharmonious and we allow this separated way of being to take control and run our way of being, affecting all our choices and everything around us.

  26. Yep, keeping the peace is a very incorrect interpretation of the meaning of harmony. After spending years and years trying to keep the peace, all I found it did in the end, was allow myself to be a vessel of tension as I kept a lid on everything – seemingly for everybody else. It doesn’t work, period!

  27. Keeping the peace is us not speaking the truth. And there are some great examples here of how we turn down the true meaning of words in order for things to be comfortable.

  28. I have definitely felt the tension in my body when I ‘keep the peace’ and avoid expressing my truth about a situation for fear of conflict or confrontation. On the surface of it, all looks okay as the conflict has been avoided but my body tells another story that harmony has not been honoured and restored. If we sense a disturbance to the natural harmony we know is the way of the universe, then we all have a responsibility to support it and correct anything that is disharmonious.

  29. There is a lot in your blog Maree about the way we are and communicate with each other. There are many ideals and beliefs that get in the way of transparency and openness and the false notion of everything being nice, peaceful or undisturbed being a positive thing is a big contribution to the mess we find ourselves in today. Let’s rock the boat, in a loving way, to get all these false ways and beliefs to the surface.

  30. “What if holding back is actually about ourselves – about not wanting to lose something that we receive out of a particular relationship?” Yes, this is so true. We can delude ourselves into thinking we don’t want to rock the boat for others, but often it is our own pictures, ideals and beliefs that we don’t want rocked.

  31. Empowering and very freeing to realize keeping the peace and tolerance are only about ourselves and our investments and have nothing to do with truth, love or harmony

  32. Not expressing the truth adds to more lies and more circular energy. We offer no reflection whatsoever by doing that but can stay in our protection, security and hold on to our hurts.

  33. Today when speaking with a very close friend on the phone our conversation felt somewhat cold and distant. I could feel how temping it was to just hang up and not express my feeling nor ask her what she felt was going on. It didn’t feel honoring to our relationship to do that so I expressed and a beautiful conversation followed with things to learn for both of us. When we did end the call we had deepened our connection and learned more about the other and ourselves.

  34. A great point is that when we are keeping the peace the tension that is there will stay and build and at some point will burst out into a complete war, wether it is an emotional outburst or on a larger scale. This then confirms to us it is important to stay protected and so we have a cycle of holding back, staying in comfort and from there confirming this is the right place to be. It is not hard to see the results of this if we look around us and observe the amount of contraction we all live in. Yet if we learn to be in harmony with ourselves, bring understanding and acceptance to ourselves and others it will be much easier to address that which is not true and thus creating space for all to expand.

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