This summer I was called to learn how to play the harp. My lessons began at an old charming farm house on a hill overlooking a valley, surrounded by wildflowers, perennials and annuals waving in the sun. Upon entry into my teacher’s home one is immediately enveloped by a warm greeting and a vision of a community of harps amidst aqua stones.
On day one my teacher gave me a choice of three beginner harps. Unlearned as I am in the ways of the harp, she taught me the differences between them and the journey each uniquely offers. She gave me time to sit with and play with each as they rested upon my right shoulder. The one that I had fallen for had not been played in a while and was only recently returned to her. While she freshly tuned it the day before in preparation for our meeting, it needed more during our lesson and even more when I took it home. “This is a magnificent harp. It just needs time to settle in,” she explained, “we must be patient and keep tuning until it is ready to hold its’ unique sound.” Each string tends to drift into the sound to the left or the right, borrowing from the sound of its’ neighbors and thus out of place, even repetitious at times. She introduced me to the tuner as my new friend, with its’ own container on the harp so it will never be lost.
The human heart is like the harp. It is extraordinary and needs constant tuning, oftentimes losing its’ place in this dynamic and complex world we live, hidden behind the sounds of others, the harmonics all wrong. And what is the tuner? The sages point to the daily study of wisdom texts, practice of prayer and meditation, and acts of kindness and forgiveness; these slowly release our core essence which is so easily hidden behind the sounds of our neighbor or the many faces of anguish, leaving us with a feeling that something essential is missing, lost, unbearable, forbidden. Naturally, we hide or put the harp away, unable to play amidst adversity. Intentionally, however, we can tune and practice until the harmonics of our heart are restored. This is the beginning of realizing the gift of choice to return (or not) to the Garden of Truth.