By Andra Denslow
September 11, 2018
Guru + Attunement + Sincere Effort = Spiritual Progress
Part One of this blog looked at the blessing of having a guru. Now I’d like to explore Attunement.
As a musician, when I hear the word Attunement, it calls to mind the process I go through when I sit down to play the harp. Even though it’s time-consuming, I take the time to tune all 58 strings of my double-strung harp. It’s the difference between heavenly harmony and unpleasant discord.
Did you know that the human body reorganizes itself in response to sound? Sound has the power to take physical processes from a state of disorganization and disharmony to an organized state of health. I used to see evidence of this daily when I played harp one-on-one at the bedside of patients in hospital and hospice. I would see the patient move from an initial state of tension and unrest to a greater state of relaxation and peace, almost every time. When I started playing for a patient, I would match my playing to her current state of being. Mostly the sound of the harp and the caring presence of a person in the room would begin to relax the patient. Her face and body posture would relax and her breathing slow down. I would continue to change the music accordingly as the patient continued to relax more, so that over the course of about twenty to forty-five minutes, we would progress together from the original state of tension toward greater relaxation and comfort. This was evidenced by slower breath rate, reduced blood pressure, and visibly more relaxed face and body. Hospital staff and family would say things like, this is the first time their mother has slept since she got into the hospital. It worked in almost every case.
This shows that we are creatures of vibration, and we are greatly affected by the vibrations of what is in our environment. As you might guess, I checked the tuning of my harp before each patient, because an out-of-tune instrument would not be very effective in inducing a greater state of harmony and health in the patient.
What does that have to do with the guru/disciple relationship? When we tune ourselves to the same pitch or frequency as the guru, we are in harmony with him. Just as an in-tune harp can induce a better state of heath in the human body, so can the guru induce a higher state of consciousness in the receptive devotee. When we are in tune with his vibration, we can better sort through the inner noise of ego stuff to find the music of his wisdom.
How do we attune ourselves to the guru? Deep meditation and devotion bring Attunement. Some other ways are satsang (keeping company) with fellow disciples, prayer, chanting, and studying his teachings. Devotion is important because our love draws the guru to us in meditation. To put it more accurately, the guru is already there. When we meditate, we are better able to feel his presence when we have the receptivity that comes with offering him our love calmly in the stillness and silence.
Another way we attune ourselves is through trial and error. We test our intuition by taking action on it. Then we pay attention to the results. Over time we learn to distinguish between true and false inner guidance. That is part of attuning ourselves to the guru’s guidance.
We can attune ourselves to his will for how to lead our best lives. We are not giving up our free will, but rather tuning into his guidance on what is the best course of action in each instance, day by day. Master gave us the prayer, “I will reason, I will will, and I will act. Guide Thou my reason, will and activity to the right path in everything.”
This is probably just the tip of the iceberg on this topic. There are many talks on this subject by people with more experience and wisdom. I encourage you to visit the Ananda.org website to explore this topic further. Enjoy the journey! Remember the guru will be with you always.