I felt part of a group for the first time in my life. Not a family, just a group of people who liked being together, who sat as we did, leaning towards each other, leaving just the right amount of space in between, whose thoughts and words flowed easily and naturally, whose voices and accents were so different from each other and yet mingled in harmony as though in a song.
―Indu Muralidharan, The Reengineers
Your true self is enough. There is no need to be better than everyone else around you to be happy. True happiness comes when you are in harmony with yourself and no longer feel the need to one-up other people.
We must all work in harmony with each other to stand up for what is right, to speak up for what is fair, and to always voice any corrections so that the ignorant become informed and justice is never ignored. Every time a person allows an act of ignorance to happen, they delay our progress for true change. Every person, molecule and thing matters. We become responsible for the actions of others the instant we become conscious of what they are doing wrong and fail to remind them of what is right.
―Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
There are seconds, they come only five or six at a time, and you suddenly feel the presence of eternal harmony, fully achieved. It is nothing earthly; not that it’s heavenly, but man cannot endure it in his earthly state. One must change physically or die. The feeling is clear and indisputable. As if you suddenly sense the whole of nature and suddenly say: yes, this is true.
To think better, to think like the best humans, we are probably going to have to learn again to judge a person’s intelligence, not by the ability to recite facts, but by the good order or harmoniousness of his or her surroundings. We must suspect that any statistical justification of ugliness and violence is a revelation of stupidity.
―Wendell Berry, “People, Land, and Community”, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays
Take a look at the plants. They come together and thrive peacefully in the garden or park. They lean on each other without trying to outdo one another. They serve as a sign that we can see beyond our differences and embrace each other in love while allowing our uniqueness to add color to our world. If plants can live in harmony and show their beauty to the world, we as humans can do much more.
Jazz presumes that it would be nice if the four of us–simpatico dudes that we are–while playing this complicated song together, might somehow be free and autonomous as well. Tragically, this never quite works out. At best, we can only be free one or two at a time–while the other dudes hold onto the wire. Which is not to say that no one has tried to dispense with wires. Many have, and sometimes it works–but it doesn’t feel like jazz when it does.
I always hear people talk about ‘dysfunctional families.’ It annoys me, because it makes you think that somewhere there’s this magical family where everyone gets along, and no one ever screams things they don’t mean, and there’s never a time when sharp objects should be hidden. Well, I’m sorry, but that family doesn’t exist. And if you find some neighbors that seem to be the grinning model of ‘function,’ trust me – that’s the family that will get arrested for smuggling arms in their SUV between soccer games.
The best you can really hope for is a family where everyone’s problems, big and small, work together. Kind of like an orchestra where every instrument is out of tune, in exactly the same way, so you don’t really notice.
When water is being filled in a pot, the sound we hear is a function of the pot, not of the water. Same water makes different sounds in different pots. Each of us, described in Sanskrit as Ghata, meaning pot, responds in a unique way to the stimuli from the surrounding environment. Do not be surprised when the response of another appears entirely different from yours. The pot has created the illusion of a wall, of mine and other. Once you become aware of that illusion, otherness melts and the universe becomes a unified verse again, with apparently diverse responses becoming part of the same symphony.