By Jakeb Brock
Music is an art form—the art of producing and blending sounds to create harmony. But this is not a haphazard or arbitrary process; rather, it is based on mathematical laws that have been in operation since the beginning of time and have never failed. Therefore, music is an art form that is based on scientific principles and the producing of musical harmony could also be classified as a science.
When we think of harmony, we think of music — but in actuality, harmony has many guises. We often speak of pursuing harmony in our relationships and business dealings, or of harmony as one of the goals for our state of well-being and bodily health. And when we look closely, no matter what kind of harmony we aspire to, the path to its attainment always has a scientific basis. In other words, in each instance, universal law comes into play — just as it does with musical harmony. Certain conditions must be produced and sustained in order for harmony to result, whether in the arena of the arts, relationships, economics, or health.
What many do not realize, however, is the major role that harmony plays in the spiritual life. For whenever we experience spiritual prosperity, it too comes as a result of law and the meeting of certain conditions in our inner world — conditions that consistently produce a sense of peace and well-being. Conversely, one of the reasons for a spiritual struggle may arise due to failure to bring our psyche into conformity or harmonious alignment with the conditions that lead to peace and prosperity. Try not to confuse this inner alignment with the attempt to manipulate our outer circumstances, which is a misdirected endeavor that never results in a sustainable harmonious state. It is important for us to understand that inward harmony does not happen automatically. It takes dedicated effort to achieve inner harmony, and we need to know the proper process – thus, a spiritual teacher or guru can be of great help to us. They cannot do the work for us, but they can teach us what we need to do. They can exemplify the truth and teach us how to bring our inner world into harmony with that truth.
The main spiritual principle at work here is that we must align ourselves inwardly with the reality or the “what-is” of our universe. This is not as easy as it sounds for several reasons. For one thing, we must understand and accept the true nature of “what-is”.
We live in a universe that was established and set in motion long ago — a universe governed by law. Whether or not you believe in an original act of creation is not the essential aspect of this principle; rather, without subscribing to any particular belief system, we can and must still arrive at the recognition and acceptance of this basic truth. Furthermore, this universal “is-ness” has never ceased to exist, not even for a second of time; nor has it ever changed. Many people perceive the universe as being constantly changing and in flux, but when we look closely, we see that even the elements of change and evolutionary unfoldment inherent in this environment are governed by law. Another way of saying this is that there really are no surprises in the outworking of our universal environment and there never have been. It is an environment that is constant and dependable in every way. It is predictable, consistent, and enduring. That is why science has become so relevant over the course of the age. In spiritual terms, it is this universal predictability that comprises the “what-is” of our life situation in this world. And like it or not, we all live in a vital relationship to this “what-is” — a relationship that does not merely affect our earthly experience, it pretty much defines it.
Full acceptance of the “what-is” of our universal environment leads us to make changes in our lives reflective of that acceptance. And it is acceptance, followed by the change that reflects acceptance, that brings us into spiritual harmony. On the other hand, the lack of acceptance or resistance to “what-is”, is the root cause for disharmony in our lives, which, in turn, results in dysfunction, discord, and all manner of problematic circumstances.
For most of us, bringing about spiritual harmony in our lives consists of an ongoing pursuit with three distinct experiential stages. The first stage occurs when we open our spiritual eyes and come to recognize the truth about “what-is”. The second stage takes place when we fully accept what we have seen as truth. And the third stage creates the necessary changes and adjustments in our lives in which acceptance paves the way. When all three of these experiential stages have been navigated, we will know the peace that passes understanding. All of this may sound simple enough, but unfortunately, we do not always have smooth sailing in our navigating.
As we attempt to recognize the truth about “what-is”, we are incapable of such recognition; we have been thoroughly conditioned to perceive things contrary to how they really are. And these conditioned perceptions must first be rejected and rooted out before we can see clearly. It is as if our cultural conditioning has fogged up the windshield of our perception, and until we turn on the defogger, it can be dangerous to proceed.
Many people have seen and accepted certain aspects of the “what-is” of our universe, but have stopped short of seeing the entire picture. Our western religions, and even our secular culture, tend to reflect this halfway approach. This is because biblical morality and law, which are also at work in our culture, are, generally speaking, aligned with the universal “what-is”. But as Jesus taught, law-keeping and morality can be deceiving. They can be carried out with an outward display of righteousness and harmony, while inwardly producing no change. In other words, one can be outwardly moral but inwardly far from spiritual harmony. So we need to go further, if we hope to embrace the full scope of recognition and acceptance.
Our universe is already established in an intricate manifestation of law and Spirit. How then, do we learn every nuance of such a vast universal outworking? The answer is that we do not need to learn every intricate detail in order to arrive at full recognition and acceptance. We only need to acknowledge the essential reality of “what-is” and yield ourselves in acceptance of that acknowledgement. In this way, we make up for our lack of detailed knowledge through taking a stance of humble submission and willingness. We stop fighting, resisting, and rebelling, and we trust in this powerful truth maxim: everything that exists and has been set in motion in our universe is good and works to our benefit, once we have aligned ourselves harmoniously with it through acceptance. This is all we need to know and all we need to do. Humbly accept things as they are, stop fighting and pushing against the pricks, and be willing to make adjustments in your life as you are inwardly directed, in order to achieve greater and greater spiritual harmony.
Another word for all of this is surrender — surrender to the power of “what-is”, which is, in truth, the power of God. But there are few things more difficult for us to do on the spiritual journey than this. Why? Because it involves the negation of our ego.
The egoic orientation to life is one of an endless fight for survival. Unconsciously, we feel the need to defend and attack in order to keep our ego strong and well fed. This unconscious impulse pits us against other people, against oppositional circumstantial inertia, and yes, against the “what-is” of our universe. For those with a strong ego, prevailing against other people and overcoming oppositional circumstances are doable to some extent. There are, at least, moments of victory and success. But when trying to fight against the “what-is” of our universe, the ego invariably fails. Why is this? Because no human ego is a match for God. Truly, the ego that goes to that extreme of rebellion, only brings about its own demise.
The agenda of the human ego is the antithesis of surrender. It makes its own reality and fights to the death to defend it. It possesses no knowledge or acceptance of the “what-is” of our universe. Therefore, it can never know spiritual harmony.
Probably our foremost task then in preparing the way for spiritual harmony to prevail in our lives, is the negation of our ego. Even the recognition of this does not come easily. But it can be done. If only we tried to stand back and gain a more transcendent perspective of our life, we would see that the egoic orientation is not our friend. It is a robber and a deceiver — robbing us of our rightful divine inheritance, while masquerading as our benefactor. True, the ego is a hardcore survivor. But what kind of life is the result of the ego’s survival regimen? The quality of an ego-directed life is never rich and full; it is always barebones and reeks of desperation.
Apart from survival, the ego accomplishes little of lasting worth. But many people do not know of any other way to live. They may feel excessively weary with their ego orientation, but they do not know how to break that cycle. To these I say, “Don’t despair!” That sense of weariness that you feel is actually a spiritual impetus in your life —one that has manifested because your ego’s time of domination is nearing its end. It is a sign that you will soon be empowered to negate the ego and begin living a new life.
Once this major transformation takes place in our inner world, spiritual harmony will not be far behind. With ego finally relegated to a non-factor status, our spiritual eyes will be opened and we will be free to align ourselves harmoniously with the universal “what-is”. We will be able to accept things as they are and surrender our individual will to the universal river of life. At last, our days of fighting will be over.