On Being An Instrument

The concept of “being an instrument” is a different way to understand why and how we live, how we interact with each other, a different way to describe the value that we are perceived as contributing, individually and collectively, to society. In short, we are talking about the impact we can have.

How important is this? How is this different from defining myself as a highly skilled practitioner of my profession?

What might happen if:

1) Everyone in the hospitality industry, in the context of a restaurant or hotel, from wait staff, to chefs, administrative staff, and executives –  defined themselves as “instruments of service” for customers,

2) Everyone in the medical industry, from doctors and nurses, to hospital staff,  pharmaceutical firms, and insurance companies – defined themselves as “instruments ofhealth (service)”,

3) Everyone in the legal system, from police, to lawyers, government policy makers, penitentiary staff, and the media – defined themselves as “instruments of public safety”,

4) Everyone in the educational system, from teachers, to librarians, administrative staff, and maintenance workers, defined themselves as “instruments of learning”?

How might this mindset encourage better outcomes? Would this emphasize cooperation and collaboration? How might this achieve more effective and meaningful person-to-person interactions? How might this change how we think about the structure and management of social organizations, be they government agencies, corporations, or educational institutions?

Why we choose a particular profession should be a more important decision than making a choice based on our ability to do certain kinds of tasks. Is our society ready for us to define ourselves by the value we can help create?

How will this mindset affect our lives? How will our family interactions change if we define ourselves as “instruments of intimacy”? How will that change our parenting styles? How will children grow up in such an environment? What will they learn to be?

Could this lead to a richer understanding of relationships? What might happen if we focus our competitive nature on trying to demonstrate how effectively we can support and nurture intimacy, as opposed to applying our energies to prove how powerful, smart, or beautiful we are?

This would be a fundamental shift in the energetic state of being, a shift away from ourselves as isolated individuals, and towards desired outcomes in specific contexts. This reflects two of my favorite concepts: context and perspective. If you and I share values by being in a shared context, then our differences can contribute to a richer interaction. When we don’t share values, our egos drive us apart, because we spend our energies creating dissonance, rather than harmony. To create substantial, complex outcomes, we need instruments that produce different energies, but their values must be aligned. If we are singing from the same songbook, we have a better chance of achieving beautiful music than if one of us wants to play rock music, another plays jazz, and yet another plays classical.

When the powerful energy of the ego is directed away from ourselves, and towards outcomes, we can achieve greatness. We see many examples in art, as well as in everyday activities.

When we go to a restaurant, and the server is gracious, warm, friendly, a very real human being who acknowledges us as fellow humans, doesn’t that enhance our experience to the point where even the food tastes better? We call that “hospitality”, and this mindset goes way beyond simply “customer service”, merely doing what is required in the job description.

To achieve this outcome, a server brings a very different kind of energy and focus to his/her work. The vibrational energy is literally at a different frequency, amplitude, and power. The direction of this energy output is 360 degrees, however, and not just focused on the server’s immediate table responsibilities. This energy feeds and nurtures the entire environment in the restaurant. It affects other staff and other patrons, many of whom will have a more positive experience, even as an unintended consequence of the indirect interaction.

What would life be like if we could see ourselves this way, as having positive impact, literally, on everyone in the planet, because our vibrational energy would resonate with everyone else’s? Obviously, the effect would be much more noticeable on those closest to us, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. What about the effect on total strangers in distant lands?

What kind of instrument are you? What kind of music are you playing? Are you creating harmony or dissonance? What will you choose for your life?


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