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?

 

576 thoughts on “To Misinterpret Harmony

  1. ‘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 feel we all have experienced this and felt the tension and frustration afterwards of not expressing our truth and holding back. When we do this continually, all that is unexpressed in our bodies becomes toxic potentially turning into anger at the world, but actually we are only ever angry at ourselves…..

  2. How come we can easily feel and connect to what we do not get to feel a lot in this world? What is this telling us? It tells us that harmony is something innate in us. The unavoidable question then becomes, how come what is innate is not part of our everyday reality?

  3. When we tolerate something we simply give our power away to it so it is no wonder that somewhere along the line huge conflict/open warfare often erupts.

  4. This expose creates quite the impression, just feeling in my body the different vibration between the smooth flow of harmony, and then the effort involved in keeping the peace or the confusion created by being tolerant. A gift this morning – thank you, Maree.

  5. It makes sense that when we lose our connection to our essence and being present with our body we are no longer able to connect with our natural harmony within and look outside ourselves for the closest thing to it accepting far lesser as there is nothing that can replace the harmony and stillness of being in connection with our essence.

  6. This is key if we are to understand and know true harmony, for it first to be respected and lived with ourselves. “For many years there was little harmony in my inner world, and certainly not felt in the outer world either.”

  7. It feels very contrasting to feel how we do truly all agree that harmony is amazing, yet we seek rest, calm, softness, bliss and peace which are not true harmony, but more like calmer or less intense versions of the intensity we already feel in life. What is it about harmony and love we resist? Is it that in harmony we feel no individuality?

  8. ” Peacekeeping actually allows and supports disharmony, because the matter is only suppressed, not truly resolved” And when it becomes second nature, leads to disharmony in the body and results in illness and disease

  9. The toxicity of ‘”keeping the peace” honestly exposed: whether personal or political it is the same.

  10. To keep the peace we have to tolerate something and when we tolerate something all we are doing is keeping a lid on what we feel which can at any moment erupt into open warfare. Harmony on the other hand has nothing to do with tolerating people but everything to do with love and understanding.

  11. We often use the expression that we want “peace and quiet”, which really means that we want to be left alone because we have taken on too much. This is not achieving harmony but rather a stop moment to re-gather ourselves and potentially stop a momentum that we are running with.

  12. Harmony is sorely missing in this world, and the substitutes of peace and tolerance simply show our falling standards when it comes to the level of respect and integrity in all our relationships. Could it simply be a case of raising our standards and harmony will naturally begin to restore itself?

  13. Keeping the peace is something we have settled for in the absence of harmony, it feels like a compromise or a solution to a disagreement, or on a larger scale a momentary stop to a war, but it never offers permanence and a true state of being.

  14. Tolerance indeed is also used to replace harmony. For instance in administrations or country politics, laws and rules are made on consensus, that to me is equal to tolerance, and never brings the truth that is needed to restore the harmony that is disturbed.

  15. What I love about harmony is it is not about getting along, not about being nice, and not about being polite. Harmony is a quality of stillness and flow that unifies people through the underlying tenet that we are all the same.

    1. Yes, Heather, we are all one and in that the same and harmony is like the natural beholder of that oneness.

    2. Nice and polite – another two words added to this blog that have such a different feel to harmony. They are tools I have wielded for my whole life and do not leave a good imprint / impression on any situation.

    3. Being nice and polite all my life was such a contraction in my body as I can feel it held back a true flow of energy, a true flow of harmony and grace through my body. Being true to myself in all areas of my life has supported in breaking this old pattern.

  16. When you put it like that keeping the peace is very selfish because you are doing it to keep the status quo so you don’t have to address the muck that has caused the disharmony in the first place. Yet…”It may avoid any initial confrontation, but the tension remains, left to build for another day.” So we are one step away from what we are trying to avoid which takes much more energy to counter than if we had just dealt with it in the first place.

  17. This is a fantastic exposure of the lie of peace and harmony, and the fact that neither is based on true acceptance and that both are based on an ‘acceptance’ of less, the best we can do and lack true honesty. Would it not be more honest to say you struggle in accepting how something is rather than pretend you’re fine with it …. for that honesty can lead to a conversation which opens out to greater understanding? Keeping the peace shuts that off and keeps us in the lie and takes us away from a path of harmony.

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