Over the last two years, I have been involved with others in creating and co-ordinating The Harmony Project. This Project, which is hosted by the Sustainable Food Trust (SFT), is a collaboration between four main people: apart from myself, they are Patrick Holden of SFT, the Headmaster, Richard Dunne, already known to some SoH followers, and Nick Campion of the University of Wales Trinity St David (U0WTSD). Then there are others that you might recognise, especially our SoH colleagues Scherto Gill, Sister Maureen Goodman and Sister Jayanti. Someone you won’t know, but who helps me hold it all together is Bonnie Welch of the SFT.
We began two years ago by working to support Richard Dunne’s efforts to promote and share his experience of bringing principles of Harmony to his primary school in South London. Inspired by The Prince of Wales book Harmony: A New Way Of Looking At The World, Richard has brought meaning and vitality to the somewhat narrow curriculum favoured by those who govern us and the results have been remarkable. His school has continued to perform with excellence and, because of its popularity, has increased substantially in numbers. Harmony works, and the response from children, and most of the parents, has been very positive. Go to his website to see: ashleyschool.org.uk. You may recall that Richard participated in the SoH Forum 2017 in Reykjavik, and was well received.
Working with the SFT, the work with Richard has blossomed into a wider Harmony agenda, particularly exploring principles of Harmony in food and farming. Take a look at the SFT website: sustainablefoodtrust.org and read Bonnie Welch’s recent article, “In the spirit of harmony.”
And whilst this has been happening our colleagues at the UoWTD, where I am a Harmony Professor of Practice, have established a Harmony Institute and are working with me to publish a collection of essays on principles of Harmony drawn widely from disciplines such as education, farming, philosophy, business and economics, healthcare and theology. As part of this collaboration, I am trying to bring together a collection of reflections on Harmony and Faith, diverse in its scope and range. Contact Bonnie if you would like to know more about this.
In undertaking this work, watching it emerge and seeing how people respond to the notion of Harmony, I have been struck by the fact that when it is explained most people ‘get it’ and many want to become involved with it. There is something about these ancient, or rather, timeless, principles that is both familiar and welcomed – wholeness, flowing interconnectedness and relatedness. Of course, why wouldn’t this be so? Look outside and it is happening in the turn of the day and the seasons – birth, life, death and rebirth. We didn’t invent it did we?
Of all the texts I have read on Harmony, I have been especially struck by those that come from the ancient teachings of The Tao in which there is only the movement from and towards, and in which what appear to be opposites are revealed as complementarities. Hot and cold, light and darkness, distance and closeness. And I have come to see that if you look for opposites (as we mostly do) you will find opposition and discord, whereas if you see complementarities you will find co-operation and a strange peacefulness or ease that is beyond understanding. And, most especially, you will find Love at Work.
This quality of Love at Work lies behind the two books that Scherto Gill and I have edited based upon our work with colleagues at SoH – Why Love Matters and Peacefulness . In this work we have been exploring ways of looking at the world that counter a culture of separation and violence, economic violence as well as social violence. We are convinced that ‘something else’ is needed, and perhaps urgently needed, and principles of Love and Harmony seem to be pointing towards this, offering another perception of the way things might be, and of the way they are – if only we could see it.
Talking to Scherto and Maureen, I understand that the theme for the 2019 Forum gathering in Reykjavik will include reflections on Harmony, and I urge all who are part of the Forum not to wait for someone else to bring about this transformation in our lives but to live it. You are important. You are the leaders who will make this happen.
By David Cadman
1) David Cadman and Scherto Gill, Why Love Matters, Peter Lang, 2016.
2) David Cadman and Scherto Gill, Peacefulness, Spirit of Humanity Press, 2017.