When something resonates, it is vibrating. It’s vibrating along with a sympathetic source, whether internal or external (sympathetic meaning “relating to, producing, or denoting an effect that arises in response to a similar action elsewhere”). In other words, resonance is essentially relational.
Merriam-Webster 2016 defines resonance in the field of Physics as “the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighboring object”. With this image in mind, I wonder how we can apply this phenomenon to the relationships between people? If our nervous systems are instruments capable of receiving, processing, amplifying and producing vibrational feedback (which they are), then does it not follow that you and I are resonant beings in a state of relational feedback when we are in a room?
Also, if we are calibrated to pick up on subtle frequencies, like that produced by another being in the vicinity, then does it follow that we can be re-calibrated to function in a barrage of more intense and constant frequencies? Here, I have in mind the vibrational environment of most Western culture today; cell phones, TV, wifi, radio, traffic, machinery, appliances buzzing, satellites, and the list goes on and on… If we are calibrated to this level of (un)sensitivity, what does this mean for our awareness of the more subtle relationships and resonances between people (and other beings)?
With this in mind, I begin to think about the pull toward isolation that is growing. Perhaps without the ability or familiarity with attuning to other people and living beings, doing so begins to feel more unknown. It takes more effort and feels less “natural”. Is this why many people decide it’s just too inconvenient to connect or relate with people, with animals, with plants? Perhaps when we drop in to listening at these more subtle levels there is a worry, “If I listen to where “they” (we) are, then I’ll have to…” Have to care? Have to contend with the current situation that may be in need of change? Have to feel the pain of realizing how disconnected I am (we are)? Have to give effort, when I feel overworked and over extended as it is?
For many of us even hints of these questions spur intense anxiety and depression. What do we do with this? In the short term it probably feels “easier” to numb out and “plug in”; back into that intense track of overwhelming vibration, one that drowns out the subtle relational buzz that connects us into where we are, where others are, where things are asking for change, and where –in us- the guidance forward waits to be heard.
As a counselor, a majority of my clients come seeking relief from the intense loneliness and dissatisfaction that emerges from this kind of “bypassing” over time. They know they are in pain, but there are so many messages, layers and knots involved in that pain, that the longing and guidance within it is often obscured. Many times, the practice of slowing down and tuning in for an hour is the key practice supporting an inner environment that allows the heart to speak and be heard.
Creating a space where someone feels safe enough to slow down and feel is often a large part of therapeutic work. Traumatic response to relationship with others includes a broad spectrum of causes and reactivity. Perhaps ironically, those of us who have survived trauma often develop hyper-vigilant and exquisitely sensitive relational resonance. Although this can understandably cause overwhelm and discomfort, it can also lead to empathic ability and skill in self-regulation that can be shared in service to others; as, for example, a counselor.
In my own experience, coming full circle back to admiration for the unmatched experience of being fully present in relationship to another being, brings a sweetness and inspiration that I am grateful to resonate and share.