The Trilogy of Harmony

Graceful Harmony
by Sara Goodnough

Those interested in spirituality—what it is and how to become a spiritual person—sooner or later come across the notion of harmony between spirit, mind, and body . What exactly does it mean and how do you get there? To get there one has to cultivate each of its three aspects of being. Achievement of this Trilogy of Harmony leads to sustained peace, joy, and equanimity.

A healthy, physically fit body is one of the pillars of attaining harmony between spirit, mind, and body. As an example, if we don’t feel well, or we’re weak, frail, or sick it is difficult to think clearly. Likely we are concerned about our health which takes a further toll on our mind.

In turn our spirit is also affected. We may be unable to experience lasting joy and happiness. Our worries, guilt, and regret prevent us from finding peace and equanimity.

Mental products such as our attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, and actions can either feed and elevate the spirit or damage and debilitate it. This is governed by the Law of Cause and Effect. The health of our spirit is determined in large part by the way we treat other people. One should always strive to live a life characterized by honesty, integrity, compassion, and ethical behavior.

We can cultivate the mind by meditation, striving to be wholly present through mindfulness and working to stop the constant train of useless thoughts so many of us experience. It is also important to allow only wholesome thoughts, and to maintain a positive and virtuous outlook.

A cultivated mind and body naturally leads to a greater expression of our spirit in everyday life. Buddha’s Four Immeasurables well illustrate the essence of spiritual expression and the results of the Trilogy of Harmony. The Immeasurables are: love, compassion, equanimity, and empathetic joy. These four are also known as the four sublime or extraordinary states of mind, which to me, illustrate the affect the spirit can have on the mind.

I hope from this discussion you begin to see the importance of achieving the Trilogy of Harmony for a happy, healthy, rewarding, and productive life, and how the spirit, mind, and body support and interact with each other. If any one of these three pillars of harmony is not in a healthy, positive state, then the trilogy is broken. As we all know, each of the three components can function independently, but without the elevated state of being (especially of the spirit) that the Trilogy of Harmony brings. You cannot give yourself a gift greater than the fulfillment, happiness, joy, and peace that achieving this harmony will create.

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A Path from Darkness
How Does One Sustain a Spiritual Outlook?

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The Gift of Presence

Seeing Deeply
From http://www.1zoom.net

Being present in the moment is a big thing these days, as it should be. It is something with which I struggle on a daily basis. Intellectually we can appreciate the value of being present, but putting it into practice is difficult; old habits of the mind are hard to change. And what can we really expect should we achieve the holy grail of Presence anyway?

But then I recently had a remarkable experience that gave me a taste of just how wonderful and transforming complete, unwavering presence can be. As I walked out of a movie theater I inexplicably stopped dead in my tacks. There before me was the most mundane and superficially insipid scene you could imagine. I was looking out across a large parking lot…but somehow it was so much more than that at this particular moment.

I became totally immersed in the clouds along the horizon and the tall royal palm trees lining the street. The golden hour was approaching making the green and grey of the trees glow with a seemingly heavenly light. I studied the shapes of the clouds and the lines of the tree trunks. My eyes were transfixed on the scene. I felt a deep appreciation and affection for each element of the scene—the trees, the sky, and clouds. I felt exceedingly alive and happy. So much so that I stood there for quite some time scanning the scene. I didn’t want to take even one step and lose these feelings of joy.

As I drove home, my mind continued to seek presence in what I saw along the way, but sadly I was forced to keep my eyes on the road and attend to my driving. I had hoped that I would re-enter the mystical state of awareness I had experienced when I got home but it was not to be—not then, the next day, or the days to follow. I was left disappointed and wondering just what it was that I experienced and how to get back there again.

During that short span of presence I saw the beauty and wonder of simple things around me in great detail. What usually was a mind busy with useless thoughts was totally focused on what was before me. It showed me that when we are truly present in the moment, we see things we didn’t notice before. We see the beauty in things that previously scarcely caught our attention. We see things as they really are.

When present and interacting with others, we perceive beyond the superficiality of appearance and words. As Thich Nhat Hanh has suggested, we hear and see people deeply with greater understanding and compassion.

Achieving presence is well worth the effort because it can lead to an elevated state of being and awareness which in turn will lead to greater happiness and joy. The simplest things can be seen as they really are: beautiful and fascinating. This is the gift of presence.

You might like to see the following related articles:

Spirits Calling

The Scientific Aesthetic