Harmony is a state of progressive dynamic equilibrium wherein all the different elements of our nature are in sync with each other. It is like music where different instruments are creating different sounds at different levels. Besides, these sounds are not static but continuously changing as the music flows and yet they are in harmony with each other. This is so because they are strung together in a common raga. It is the same thing with different parts of our being and our equilibrium with those around us. The only thing we have to do is to replace the word raga with the central theme and goal of our goal.
First of all, there should be a central theme and aim to our life. With most people, it is the usual aim that nature offers us for a slow and tortuous and laborious growth through the haze and maze of ignorance such as family, children, the satisfaction of desires. The goal is a reasonably happy and comfortable life. All our different parts labour towards this goal that our ego-self, who is conducting the orchestra, sets for them. But the ego-self is ignorant of music. It is more like some bathroom singers who may sing well enough through listening and practising a few songs but do not understand music or the rhythms and hence are unable to handle variations in songs or create something new. Their life moves within a small and narrow range of action and some little consequent progress. It is the same with man. With the ego as the conductor, one can to an extent have a workable harmony within a small framework of needs and wants. but the moment something new and unexpected enters, new challenges, new possibility, new difficulty, new people, new situations, the shallowness of the music tends to show up as various forms of disharmony, first in the mind as agitation, restlessness, various forms of unhappiness, stress, sleep disturbance during which repair and healing mechanisms are activated. Later it manifests as physical disorders. All these push us back into our little comfort zones again. after some time we accept this unhappy imperfect state as the way of life and try to steal some pleasure through various escapades in parties and ‘fun’ because natural joy of life is missing. This natural joy is the first indication of harmony. True harmony always creates within a state of love with its result of beauty, peace and joy.
It means that if we live by the ego and remain driven by desires then the avenues of progress will be limited and the level of harmony we can experience will be very limited and within a small and narrow range with every challenge bringing a new dose of suffering rather than progress. But if we want to build a true harmony, then first we must have a clear aim, a true and higher aim, around which the different elements can be organised leading to a higher and higher ascending scale of harmony opening the doors to endless progress. Next, we must learn all about the aim, just as the musician must learn about the ragas for which he has to focus in the music school, forget what he had learned so far and learn everything fresh and new. This is the stage when we read books, hear and meet people who can teach us something about the goal. This means to progressively subordinate the ego (that has no knowledge about our true aim and no way of organising our life around it) to the growing aspiration within us. Thirdly we must slowly tune the different parts to this great goal. It means living the life that is consistent with our aim and not according to the ways of the ego that we may have learnt so far. It is a new way of life, a new life. The knowledge acquired through books and people must now slowly translate into living and action. This takes time and we have to be very patient with ourselves, full of trust in Her Grace, persevering and enduring the process as we or rather the Grace works through the resistances from within and around us (two things that have a common origin).
As to harmony with the world around us, it is easier to achieve it with inanimate objects and plants and animals than man since man is an inherently complex creature. Collective harmony is a thing that only the Divine can realise. Meanwhile, in our relationships with people, we must have universal goodwill for all. This does not mean following their ways or succumbing to their demands. We remain faithful to the goal but neither try to convert others to our way of life nor look down upon them because they are following their own way; keep our freedom to follow the path and the goal we have been shown but leave others equally free to follow their own.