The Harmonica Player

Art doesn’t know the man’s name; but I Am knows the harmonica player very well, indeed. In fact, I Am knows the count of every hair on his head–and ours–and every sparrow that falls. I Am knows that the harmonica player once owned a successful business, lived in a modest home, and was married to his high school sweetheart…until. I Am also knows that he fell on tough times and lost his way. Passersby who know not one whit about him will judge him as this or that, worthy or unworthy. Hunched forward, the harmonica player sits on the concrete skirt outside the entrance to the grocery store, his weathered coat fanned out in front of him. A few coins have been tossed upon it by passing shoppers who are eager to fill their carts. The harmonica player, who at best guess is fifty-five or sixty years of age, has a grey beard and a full head of hair. Intermittently, he offers several notes of unrecognizable musical selections. His performance at Carnegie Hall is not scheduled anytime soon.


What–not who–is this apparent man who plays for us? Is his disguise of particular name and form really any different from the disguises worn by you and me? Is there not a Golden Thread that unites our various stories related to skin colour, nationality, gender, and status? Are not definitions such as rich or poor, friend or foe, and winner or loser utterly worthless in terms of the Truth of our essential nature? Does the harmonica player’s name, or ours, reveal anything real? Who is he in relation to us, and who are we in relation to him?

We, the apparent multitude of flesh and bones, will not recognize the harmonica player’s true Self until we look within and recognize our own I Am-ness. Until then, the Truth related to him–and everyone–will remain an uninvestigated mystery. Unaware that we’re unaware, we will continue to conceptualize beings as Mr. or Mrs., Bob or Betty, Miguel or Mabel, Pradeep or Pratima. Through our own innocent ignorance, the harmonica player will, thus, appear to us as only a “so-and-so,” a “down-and-out,” or “the guy outside the store.” Surely, we and our world deserve more than this sorry tale of fiction.

It is time for Truth.


On his way into the store, Art approaches the man, says “hi,” and offers a few coins to his brother from another mother. The harmonica player smiles, says “thanks;” and they make idle mention about the weather. There is no running mental commentary of “i” the giver or “i” the receiver. In Presence, there is no room for our tired personal stories related to name and form. Thank God our eyes reveal what the heart knows. Can you “see” the harmonica player in your Self? Can you see your Self in him? The I Am that is you and I and every “other” of our nearly eight billion and counting world population is the same I Am that is him. Nothing separates us but the disguises of our mind.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2021 – R. Arthur Russell

P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

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