Tuning in to divine harmony
Originally published for the Christian Science Sentinel online on March 2, 2023
In high school, on the first day of my choir class, the teacher taught us a good lesson. He said, “In this school there can be cattiness and bullying. We don’t do that in this classroom; it’s not tolerated. If you can’t agree to this, then this is not the class for you.”
I was so impressed by the refreshing love behind the teacher’s desire for a harmonious environment. He modeled that standard himself with a genial temperament and kindness in his daily teaching. That created a classroom culture that was a safe haven from the various high school challenges and was the highlight of my high school experience. This high standard was also reflected in the choir’s success, which included participation in collegiate tournaments at the national level.
Looking back on this experience from a spiritual perspective, I saw that this teacher expressed harmony in such a proficient way musically, that he simply could not tolerate any lack of it elsewhere. Creating a safe space for the pupils in the school community was as natural and necessary to him as correcting a student whose singing was off-key.
As a musician listens to correct a wrong note, we can listen for God’s voice giving us spiritual ideas that unfold our true, harmonious origin and oneness with divine Love and its harmony.
This set the tone for our classroom, and that got me thinking about how we can all set a similar tone within our own thinking. God, who is all-harmonious, is expressed in the law of harmony, and just as musicians tune their instruments, we can tune in to this divine law, which is here, operating, and available for all to understand. No matter what discordant situation we may face, prayer tunes our ear to better understand God, Soul, who is our true source, and thereby brings out more of the divine reality in our experience.
The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, “A musician demonstrates the beauty of the music he teaches in order to show the learner the way by practice as well as precept” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 26). We have the ability to understand the rule of spiritual concord, too, and demonstrate it in daily practice. As we prayerfully listen for the truth of what God’s law sustains, we can see that the opposite claim of discord is not a law, but a mistaken sense of what influences us. And we can affirm that God’s law of harmony is operating in thought and therefore in experience.
As we practice tuning in to what’s true in this way, discord begins to become more obnoxious to us. For instance, one who was formerly satisfied with an angry, irritated, or thoughtless tone of voice will come to loathe such tones. A false, discordant sense of existence is progressively dropped as an understanding of what harmony is unfolds in thought. Whether the discord seems to manifest itself in health or relationship challenges, our understanding of God’s law comforts, frees, and heals.
When prayer helps us grow in this spiritual perception, including apprehending what God is as our source and who we therefore truly are, our words become calmer, gentler, and kinder. Reactions turn into healing responses, and instead of taking offense, we find that pride is replaced by love.
Harmony is expressed in our permanent oneness with our Maker.
“The foundation of mortal discord is a false sense of man’s origin,” says Science and Health (p. 262). As a musician recognizing how the music should sound will correct a wrong note, so we can listen for Christ, the message of our true, harmonious nature and oneness with divine Love, giving us spiritual ideas that unfold the expression of that true nature in practical ways. This naturally extends to seeing the same spiritual nature in others, inspiring us to strive to bring out the innate harmony in our relationships.
Take the example of Abraham and Lot in the Bible. When they were in conflict and it became clear they could no longer dwell together, Abraham nonetheless listened to God and saw right through the discord. “And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren” (Genesis 13:8). Spiritually speaking, the Bible tells us we are all brothers and sisters, and that God is All-in-all. From this premise, the law of harmony is logical. If each of us is truly at one with God, we must all be at one with God together, and therefore in harmony with each other.
We don’t have to make harmony happen. It is not found through human willpower or by taking a false sense of responsibility to be its source. Nor is true harmony that which is here one day and may be gone the next; it is expressed in our permanent oneness with our Maker, the divine origin of all. We demonstrate this in our lives by seeing our own and everyone’s inseparability from the Divine and that perfect law of harmony. Given Abraham’s willingness to see brotherhood where conflict was looming, it’s no wonder that God made a covenant with him to make him the father of many nations, an example for future generations.
My music teacher noted that the secret to having an excellent choir is to have the group operate as and sound like one voice. Similarly, as we listen for and accept Christ’s message that the law of divine Love, God, governs our thinking, body, environment, and relationships, we speak as Love speaks, act as Love would act, see our neighbors as Love sees them, and experience God’s harmony. Science and Health says, “To develop the full might of this Science, the discords of corporeal sense must yield to the harmony of spiritual sense, even as the science of music corrects false tones and gives sweet concord to sound” (p. viii).
When, as a teen, I first read Science and Health from cover to cover, I remember feeling as if my thought was being tuned in to harmony’s reality in a tangible way. And in this process, I saw that my experience aligned naturally with this divine law. Chronic physical problems fell away; I felt guided in crucial decisions; and relationships improved in ways I would never have thought possible. Most importantly, I began to learn that I was spiritually made, and the harmonious, true story of me began to become clear and has increasingly appeared ever since.
The divine law of harmony is here and operating for us all. Tuning in to spiritual sense, listening, and following its lead, we begin to discover—and demonstrate—that harmony as God’s law in our life.