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Thacher Music Blog

The Mystery of Unity

The Mystery of Unity



Why have a concert about Unity?

“We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are a part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.  This idea helps the mind of the child to become fixed, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge.  He is satisfied, having found the universal centre of himself with all things.”

– Maria Montessori

There is a stated aim in Montessori to access a universal center of the Self. This center is both personal, in that it holds a sense of our own Unity, and at the same time is one with the Unity of the Universal flow of life itself. In Montessori we find that the location of our center exists in the will. Will, itself, is a key aspect of our study. The context for will is work. Music work is a wonderful vehicle for experiencing our will. Besides requiring the use of nearly all our intellectual, emotional, and physical functions, it also brings the attention to a sense of Group Will, and connectivity.

Our student and staff population are remarkably cognizant of the rich life and insights this approach to living affords. The aim of the concert was to take this experience past the boundaries of the classroom and expand it to the fullest sense of the school possible.

This approach to living has a cost. To engage in work is by definition to spend energy, to have a felt sense of sacrifice for something beyond control which come back as the return. Generally, those who go the Montessori way are those that understand that if you work a little more, the payback is a much higher order of existence than what comes from going the path of least resistance.

Why was it called the Mystery of Unity?

While the concept ‘Unity’ seems intuitive, approaching it intentionally requires use of different seats of insight, and of being able to reconcile contradictions. This experience is not only true outside amongst the players, but within the individual as well. Hearts, bodies, heads, all have to interact and sometimes in a sequence or with a dominance that is not necessarily our habit.

The lessons for concert began out of the first Chilrdren’s House work on the their song. Here, the lead guide asked the children to make a circle to begin the work, and the 23 children went and sat on the rug crisscross with their hands in their lap and waited without talking. One girl struggled but it was because she is so young she was still figuring out how to cross her legs. This remarkable demonstration of Unity taught the story of how, in order to make Unity, each individual must be able to apply just right amount of pressure on themselves (will). This is not an over-obsessive intensity of pressure at all, but it IS something palpable, which MUST be there to reconcile ourselves to the work.

Another lesson is that, because Unity is achieved via the will in the context of work, there is necessarily something akin to discomfort involved, sometimes this is a simple sense of loss associated with having to burn energy to make things move. Sometimes this means stretching one’s habits of identity. This concert asked the audience to get in the game and participate. It was a huge risk. People could have said,”NO!” They could have just faked it so as to avoid the discomfort. Thankfully, by and large, everyone bought in. Because of this something shifted. One third grader observed,”I didn’t think the parents would be so willing, but you know (pausing in thought), I’ve never seen so many grown-ups in one room so happy.” Indeed, there were at least 3 times in the concert where the whole community made a sound that was a perfect wholeness, an embodiment of our Unity.

Many thanks should go out to the whole community, in all its different roles, without whom this work could never have existed.

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