In order to live in harmony, you must
learn to appreciate conflict.

by Georgi Ignatov

Harmony is a word that has been used so much that it has lost its original meaning. When people include it in their vocabulary they usually mean some kind of unachievable goodness or simply the opposite of chaos and violence. If we take away all the prejudice and the wrong connotations that have accumulated through the years we can actually find a reasonably focused and sensible definition of harmony. "Harmony" is a type of relationship in which all things are respected and honoured for their true spirit, and allowed to express their true nature, each within its own time and space.

This definition sounds nice but somewhat utopian. How can a world like ours, full of violence and suffering, allow for such a relationship to exist? Well, when talking about harmony it may be useful to start exploring the issue by thinking in terms of opposites. The process of unifying opposites - harmony and conflict - creates perfect balance in the universe. Rational judgement perceives the extremes as being opposed to each other. However, each extreme has a meaning only with relation to the other. Until we know sorrow we cannot know joy; until we know hate we cannot appreciate love. So to know one extreme, you have to appreciate the other. In order to live in harmony, you must learn to appreciate conflict. Viewed without prejudice, conflict is neither good nor bad; it is only the opposite of harmony and the stepping stone to creativity. You will not be able to live in harmony with the world around you until you challenge your concepts and start to know that all energy, whether percieved as positive of negative, can be used as creative energy. Our world is full of people who search for enlightenment in the hope of finding a way to deal with conflict and live a life filled with harmony. However, sitting in meditation and selfishly awaiting personal enlightenment has no meaning. To truly achieve harmony you have to understand that it takes hard work and responsibility. Responsibility involves making the world a better place, not escaping it. We should concentrate on the present moment with all the gifts it brings and therefore make the world around us a better place to live.

Even though we owe responsibility to the people around us, our primary responsibility is to ourselves. Our task is to take care of our physical bodies, develop our minds and enlighten our souls. In order to satisfy each of these objectives one must also satisfy the others. In other words, you cannot achieve enlightenment if you don't have a healthy mind, and you will be distracted from developing your mind if you don't have a healthy body. This means that our primary duty is to build and maintain a healthy body; one that functions just the way it was designed to move; a body full of vitality that represents a powerful tool enabling you to pursue higher goals.


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