Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends.– Hafiz
Years ago, I had a summer job in a delicatessen in Putney. One sunny afternoon, a man came up to my counter to buy something. I don’t remember what he ordered. I don’t remember what he said, how he spoke, or even what he looked like. The only thing I remember about him is the way he made me feel, so much so that I can still remember it all these years later.
I have him in mind today as I ponder resonance which, after a look around the Internet, can be defined as evoking a strong emotion. Depth. Spaciousness. Timelessness. Love, which is exactly how I felt that day on my deli counter in his presence. I felt waves of love and comfort in a timeless space, the likes of which I’d only felt a few times before, sometimes in dreams, and indeed I’ve only felt a few times since. It was such a special encounter which just happened.
I have blogged about how connection is our life force, how it satisfies our noble need for emotional resonance in order to feel seen and heard, and to receive comfort. But, it takes courage to live with an open heart, because at each stage we risk and we fear rejection.
Resonance, however seems to be something else altogether. It happens almost instinctively, like my interaction with the man. But it is not just people with whom we resonate. YouTube, books, a story or a piece of music, and even blogs stir our emotions, they feel rich and significant, they feel true, and we fall into their depths and enjoy a sense of spaciousness and timelessness as we take to our hearts the messages they have for us. The way we feel about anything is the only measurement of truth we have, even though it is often hard to go with our gut, because society and life trains us how we should behave, rather than encouraging us to follow our feelings.
In physics, resonance is defined as a specific vibrational frequency where energy is efficiently transferred into a mechanical system or indeed from one body to another so that it vibrates in sympathy with its neighbour. In quantum physics, quantum entanglement is when pairs or groups of particles behave in such a way that their states cannot be described independently of the states of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance, famously described by Einstein as spooky action at a distance.
Even though these particles can only be seen under a microscope, the idea that the universe is vibrating and expanding and shifting and changing echoes the ideas which some world wisdom traditions have had for centuries, which is that we are all one.
And, with the discovery of mirror neurons a couple of decades ago, it seems that humans have the same ability to resonate like the particles do, with everything and everyone around them. Apparently, all the regions of the brain involved with thinking and sensory input, appear to have mirror neuron activity. We can resonate with people even at a distance, on the Internet, or TV and radio.
We all know certain people, particularly in social situations, who just lift our hearts, around them we feel better about who we are. We mingle in their energy, we feel love and joy and happiness. We feel better.
I love this. I love that we don’t all have to work so hard to reach that lovely state of resonance. Just by chance it is possible to resonate, as Rumi says, the love within our love because in the centre of us all, in our hearts, indeed, our heart of hearts, or in the centre, of the centre, of all of us, the same consciousness and vibration is occurring. How wonderful is that?
It is just that in our busy world with all of its demands, sometimes we forget. Worse still our mirror neurons can become overwhelmed by interactions with people with whom we don’t empathise or understand, because we have forgotten that we all feel the same way and deep down the person who is getting on our nerves has the same core as us. They are just like us.
But, we don’t always need another person to do this. We can do it for ourselves, apparently. We can resonate with that love within our love anytime we like.
Meditation is the best way to calm our nervous systems and retrain our neurons so that we can form a bridge between our hearts and minds. In this way we can be the deepest, most spacious loving person in the room from which everyone takes their cue. A Course in Miracles (which I’ll be honest with you I struggle to read, it is not exactly a page turner) says something like: Give whatever is lacking in a situation. And, this is so true, if you are not feeling love in a situation, bring it, bring it first and foremost to yourself, and know that you are enough, and then share it with the situation. Because, when we let go of all the tension, thinking and feeling that is where the magic begins.
After four months of daily ecstatic breathwork, I am starting to feel that it may well be possible. In fact, I know it is possible to connect to that inner state of timelessness, spaciousness and love because of the man that day, the man I only met briefly and only once, but who resonated so brightly, so beautifully, with a pure love whilst asking for his quarter of salami or smoked salmon, or whatever it was, so prosaically and yet so magically. His energy was transformative and thankfully, I have never been the same since.
I love me some woo-woo, quantum physics, quantum love conversation. But, in these circles I often hear people talking about negative energies, energy vampires, and protecting ourselves from negativity. I am not such a fan of this advice, this constant need to defend, but will concede that we are not obliged to resonate with anything and everything that has a pulse, but that said, there will be days when we want to but still get it wrong and are left afterwards with that yukky feeling as we have clashed with people who are not on our wavelength.
But, we shouldn’t get disheartened. It is only temporary and even in those horrible moments, clashing can be an amazing creative force too, like dissonant notes in a piece of music which give us space, before leading us to harmony. Or by creating something spectacular and as glorious as the Northern Lights.
When I was choosing the picture at the top of the blog, I was looking for something which looked like resonance, which resounded with resonance, and I fell into browsing pictures of the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. Ironically, the magical Aurora Borealis is created when solar wind ions collide with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen from the Earth’s atmosphere. They collide, they don’t resonate. So, even when crashing something good can come out of it. We need contrast so that we can feel the difference, sometimes we need a moment of dissonance, so that when it changes we appreciate and get ready to go on our way to somewhere else, to something else, to a new magical quantum entanglement which we can enjoy all the more.
You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.– Rumi