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  • Writer's pictureSona Parmar

The Harmonium

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

When I joined secondary school, we used to sing hymns every morning. It was the best part of my day. I wanted to sing.

When I asked to join the school choir, they said no. I couldn’t read music and everyone else could. When I stared at the manuscript paper, I may as well have been reading Japanese (which actually is easier, but that’s a story for another day).

Fast-forward to five years ago, I joined a choir where my kids went to school. Not being able to read music didn’t seem to be a problem here. I just had to listen carefully to what the others were doing and I could sing too. But then they wanted to know what kind of singer I was. An alto, soprano, something else? Again, I had no idea - and not knowing where I fitted, I slowly fell out of that choir.

Then I tried my hand at piano last year. Turns out you need to read music to do that too.

So finally, I said to hell with it. Some dreams never make it off the pillow.

In that not caring, I started to sing a little at a group that met once a month, singing short religious tunes. No one seemed to care how I sang. Indeed, no one seemed to care how anyone sang. The only requirement was that you wanted to be there and that you were trying your best. It was about singing from the heart.

As this journey continued, my confidence grew. Slowly I went to other similar groups to sing and then decided that it was probably a good idea to get some lessons. My singing teacher suggested the harmonium to support my voice. It would be 95% harmonium, 5% voice. My confidence grew further.

As I write today, taking a break during the daily practice that I simply love, I contemplate the importance of holding space for someone - regardless of their ability.

While I am well aware that everything happens when it is meant to, part of me wishes I could have had the joy of practicing scales long ago. It had never occurred to me that there were instruments where reading music was not a prerequisite. I suddenly realise that there are many things that don’t occur to me.

It reminds me of a story that Sadhguru once told, talking about all the people who come to him, asking him for blessings, so that their dreams may come true. He always says that he says the same thing: that he hopes that none of their dreams will come true! Instead what he wishes for them is something amazing, something that the person could never have dreamt of, this is what should happen to them.

We walk around with blinkers, thinking we know the path, thinking that we know what is good for us, thinking we know the exact way that our desires should come to us.

As I discovered with my harmonium, I had no idea. I still have no idea.

And so, in full acceptance of my human limitations, I am now open and willing to receive whatever magic the Universe decides to bring my way.

To reword Einstein’s famous phrase, logic will get you from A to B, but inspiration* will take you everywhere.

* Comes from the root inspirito, which means having Spirit within you.

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