Attuning to the Master’s Pitch

27 09 2012

BY LAURIE GORDON, Livermore, California, USA

Keith McMillan finds joy and love in the intergenerational makeup of congregations.

I once asked a friend, a gifted musician, what he listened for when he tuned his guitar. I’d watched him perform this critical task several times, but I couldn’t for the life of me hear the nuances that turn a hollow, out-of-tune, wood box with strings into a finely tuned instrument capable of rich, glorious harmonies.

He plucked a string and asked me to listen closely—not to the surface of the sound, but for the waveform hidden within as the sound vibrates. Indeed, there was an ebb and flow inside the note, a subtle oscillation with height, depth, and length peculiar to that tone!

Then, still sounding the master pitch, he plucked the neighboring string. Listening all the while, he tightened or loosened guitar pegs until the waveforms produced by the two resonating strings aligned.

Attunement has become my master metaphor for prayer: Prayer is both a listening for the hidden resonance of holy mystery quietly sounding beneath the world’s chaos, and a tuning of one’s heart and soul to mirror the waveform of Spirit’s song.

Watch for “tuning” practices that come naturally to you. Tuning our lives to the holy can take many forms and be experienced in all arenas of life. What makes it prayer is attention and intention!

Body can pray with movement—yoga mindfully practiced, for instance, or a quiet walk in the woods. Healing can be sought by imaging wholeness or through the intentional practice of right relationship. Nature is constantly alive with divine mystery. Caring for someone who suffers can be an act of prayer.

And, yes, our minds can frame deeply felt longings with words, and words allow prayer to be shared in community.
For me, prayer begins and ends in deep stillness, “tuning in” to the hidden pulse of Spirit and allowing God to work God’s work beyond my conscious control.

Attunement prepares the instrument of my life for right action in the world. My hope is that, properly aligned, my life will sound a harmony played to God’s melody line.



One response

28 09 2012
Bill Gunlock

I loved this. It spoke so well to me about what a relationship with The Source is like.

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