blogicalinks

seeking | sharing | venting | whatever…ing

Harmony

with 5 comments

images.jpgI’ve been sitting here listening to iTunes, and this song came on. (Here are the lyrics if you want them.) A friend of mine’s church choir was going to be singing it, and I thought it was awesome. (Disclaimer: I’m not trying to preach to anyone. This is a prelude to my other thoughts.)

I go through bouts of feeling like I need to “nail down” what I believe… what are my core values…what I would hold fast to if everything else in my life was stripped away. I’m having one of those periods in my life right now. I feel a restlessness and agitation at knowing that life is so much more than the cycle of work/eat/sleep that I’m currently in. I know that life, growth, maturity, people, situations, etc. are all in flux, and so “beliefs” can be strongly held at one stage in life, and then fluidly change with the transition into another stage. I’m not beating myself up about it, but it seems to be on my mind a lot lately, and this post is just rambling about some of those thoughts.

One observation that seems to remain constant is that almost everyone recognizes/senses harmony at a very elemental and primal level. Harmony in music, in life, in nature… and we humans seem to have an innate appreciation when harmony exists and when it does not. One very simple example is when discordant notes are struck on a musical instrument, we practically flinch. The individual notes do not offend, but when combined badly, are not only offensive, but create in us a desire to get away from it or make it stop. And it’s a pretty consistent occurence across time and cultures.

I believe that one reason almost everyone feels at peace (or at the minimum, enjoys) standing at the edge of the of the ocean is that the sound of the waves hitting the shore, their constant and unceasing rhythm reflects the constant and unceasing rhythm of our heartbeats—the source of life itself. And if you’ve ever noticed, the closer a song’s rhythm gets to twice the average person’s heartbeat, the more you feel like moving to it…whether tapping the foot or dancing, it comes almost unbidden.

We innately understand harmonies of the environment as well. I love it when architecturally a structure fits well with the environment it’s place in. (The reason Frank Lloyd Wright was so tremendously successful. He understood the fit better than anyone I’ve ever known.) When I was at the Grand Canyon, I was fascinated by the architecture of most of the buildings on the South Rim. They were designed by a female architect named Mary Colter. She used native stone and studied the culture of the native Americans who lived in the area and how they merged they dwellings with their surroundings. Thank God that someone in the park system had the good sense to avoid letting some ego-driven architect slap a steel monstrosity there!

Then, of course, there are the harmonies of the ways we live our lives. Too much food, not enough sleep, too much work, not enough rest…we’ve all at one time or another experienced the ill effects of when our lives are not in balance.

Anyway, as I was listening to this song, I was struck by how beautiful the harmonies are AND how the human voice, especially combined with others, can be such a powerful instrument. Their voices absolutely soar, and I can just imagine God being pleased with the sound. I think singing like this (take or leave the theology) draws people into reverence much like soaring cathedrals are intended to do. It’s like all of the harmonies of voice and breath and rhythm and collaboration come together, and the result is something spiritual.

While I was at the Grand Canyon, I read a memoir book written by a musician who had hiked down into the canyon and did the river rafting thing. One night, as he and his friends were camping at a quiet spot on the Colorado River bank, he took out the violin he’d carefully packed for the arduous trip. Walking away from the campfire and his friends, he stood alone by the edge of the river and played “It is Well With My Soul.” He described how the sound echoing off the canyon walls was surprisingly perfectly acoustic and the stars and moon above him shone so brightly, it seemed like they rested just above the canyon walls. He said he’d never felt so perfectly connected to everything in the universe as much as he did during that moment.

I don’t know that I could stand anything as sublime as that. While I’m not ready to become Buddhist, I think they’re onto something. Right now, I’m just going to keep searching for the harmony. I think it’s where God lives.

Advertisements

Written by blogicalinks

September 1, 2007 at 2:30 am

Posted in Sharing, Whatever

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. >>I go through bouts of feeling like I need to “nail down” what I believe… what are my core values…what I would hold fast to if everything else in my life was stripped away<>Their voices absolutely soar, and I can just imagine God being pleased with the sound. I think singing like this (take or leave the theology) draws people into reverence much like soaring cathedrals are intended to do.<>I love it when architecturally a structure fits well with the environment it’s place in.<>It is Well With My Soul<>I think it’s where God lives.<< 🙂

    Ru's Mom

    September 1, 2007 at 5:02 am

  2. Well, MY comments didn’t make it through the translation.
    Maybe another time. I’m going to see if I can fall back to sleep.

    Ru's Mom

    September 1, 2007 at 5:03 am

  3. I think there’s some harmony right there in what you wrote! I easily could picture myself standing at the edge of the water, or even in the bottom of the canyon (despite the fact that I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon). There was a certain sense of peace just from visualizing the scenes you depicted.

    One thing I have come to realize over the years is how much I appreciate the talents and skills of other people, especially when they do something I absolutely can not do myself. This is especally true of musicians and singers. I am awed by choirs – not just for their talent but also for their success at creating that harmony within.

    Eric

    September 1, 2007 at 7:03 am

  4. When I was a kid, I slept in the middle room at the beach with the windows open. I could hear the Gulf lapping up onto the shore all night long. I went to sleep to that noise and woke up to it. Still to this day, I imagine that sound when I need to relax, try to fall asleep, de-stress, etc. It’s one of the most comforting sounds I know.

    Dianne

    September 3, 2007 at 6:43 pm

  5. Well, I wouldn’t say I find GOD there, but I realized tonight that the rhythm of the auction soothes me. I had noticed it before, but smiled tonight when it happened again and thought of this thread.
    PS – I did find (and buy) some neat silver and cutlery. 🙂

    Ru's Mom

    September 3, 2007 at 11:52 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: