16. Seek Harmony


These are all buzzwords for the superfluous and non-harmonious.

Close your eyes and imagine you are watching your favorite performer – dance, theater, sports, music, driving, whatever you can envision. Your performer is “ON”. His or her performance flows without effort, without a single distracting step or note. Everything is perfection. Performer and performance are one. All is harmony.

What you see is the result of hours and hours of training (i.e., learning). It is also the result of letting go of anything and everything that is NOT the performance.

Michelangelo famously noted that he did not create a sculpture. Instead, he chipped away at the marble to release the sculpture that resided within. He cut away anything and everything that was not part of the figure he was carving. He took away the superfluous and what was left looked effortless. And beautiful.

Michelangelo’s sculptures did not materialize overnight. They took time – lots of it. Likewise, they took work. Michelangelo spent hours and expended much energy on his creations. Still, he did not struggle or force or rush the results. Had he done any of those things, no matter how skilled he was with hammer and chisel, the effort would have shown. The harmony of his David would have been disturbed and the sculpture would have been less than the marvel we know it to be.

The same goes when YOU learn to do something better. When you try too hard, it shows. When you push and force and hurry, the result of whatever you are hoping to improve can only fall short of its potential. On the other hand, when you look for harmony between all the elements of what you are doing and working toward, the result is efficiency, ease of effort, and, dare I say it, a sense of pleasure.

As you go about your learning, ask yourself:
Where am I forcing?
Where am I trying to make something happen?
Where am I rushing?
Where am I holding onto preconceived ideas of how something “should” be and not allowing the natural results to flow?
Where am I holding back?
Where am I resisting?

Then see if you can let go and allow yourself to learn at your own distinct pace, with the lightest of efforts. And know that as you let go into the abyss of wonder and knowledge, your skill WILL increase. Your speed will also increase – WITHOUT you having to do anything special to make it happen. You will find that what you do brings pleasure – to yourself and to others.

And when you least expect it, you will be your own performance.

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