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The power of resonance

Resonance. You’ve probably heard the buzzword in relation to quantum physics or quasi-spiritual ideas. A newish paradigm for understanding our relationship with the world, what’s key to know: resonance, whether we’re aware of it or not, plays a leading role in our everyday lives. It influences what we do, where and with whom, how we feel, think, and more. So, what the bleep is it?

The science of resonance

Resonance is a scientific principle of how matter and energy behave. It’s based on an underlying law of the universe: all matter vibrates at different frequencies, emitting energy fields capable of influencing what’s around them. Resonance is the proven phenomenon that energies of similar frequency are attracted to each other and synchronise through the principle of “like attracts like”, in turn reinforcing or amplifying each other. An example of resonance in action is the playground swing. A swing has its own natural oscillation, but when someone pushes it, applying the same frequency and rhythm, the swing increases in height. OK — but what does all this science have to do with life?

While our understanding of resonance grew out of quantum physics (the study of matter and energy at the microscopic level), resonance has since been extended to sociology and psychology. Along with atoms, sound waves and light, it applies to our physical bodies, emotions, thoughts, ideas, events, locations, situations, relationships and more. Ever watched a movie that made you cry? That’s resonance. Resonance, in other words, is about synergy and how that synergy strengthens something.

The flip side of resonance

In the High Vibes Living podcast, Jennifer Hoffman explains that resonance is neither good nor bad. It “simply refers to an energetic alignment and synergy and nothing else,” she says. But not everything we resonate with is desirable. We can also resonate with victimhood, fear, abuse, self-hatred and failure, for instance. Becoming aware of unhelpful synergies can be difficult, because resonance occurs on so many complex, intertwined levels, Hoffman says.

We can only connect with what we resonate with; we can’t connect to what we don’t resonate with, she says. When the latter occurs we’re experiencing dissonance. Emotionally and psychologically, dissonance is that lack of harmony and synergy that results in clash or disconnection.

Tapping into resonance

The key to resonance is connecting to what’s helpful to you. According to neuroscience educator and author Sarah Peyton, cultivating a gentle, ongoing practice of being in relationship with our body brings us closer toward our core self and thus a better understanding of what resonates positively with us. Our self-inquiry should follow the path of the vagus nerve, she advises. “It travels up from the pelvis, the stomach, all of the viscera, the heart, the lungs, up through the throat and the vocal cords and larynx, to meet the tenth cranial nerve that goes into the muscles of the face. This nerve provides us with the integrated map of the body with the emotional world that our body is living in.”

By receiving and becoming aware of our bodily sensations we open ourselves up to feedback from the body, Peyton explains. “We can tell what feels more true and what feels less true; what we want and don’t want; what direction we want to go in and don’t want to go. And we can tell what kind of people our bodies are happy with, and what kind of people our body is bored, or lonely or sad or scared with.” Feeling numb or dissociating isn’t resonating; feeling alive or relaxed is.

It’s remembering that everything is energetic, Hoffman reminds us. “Making choices based on resonance keeps us within the scope of our intention so that everything we manifest is an aspect of our most powerful, heartfelt intentions for ourselves and our life,” she says.

Joyful resonance

In the 2019 book Resonance: A Sociology of Our Relationship to the World, Hartmut Rosa proposes that resonance is the solution to the world’s problems, including our mental health ones. Life is good, he writes, “when we have an almost libidinal connection to the people, places, tasks, ideas, objects and implements we encounter and interact with. When we love these things there emerges something like a vibrating wire between us and the world.” The problem, as he sees it, is that our popular concept of wellbeing centres on acquisition of resources — career, income, health, social recognition, knowledge, abilities, physical attractiveness. “When do we live?” he asks. Rosa believes true happiness is being in relationship to the world and, specifically, to what we love. Following our intrinsic interests — things we do because we enjoy them — can help us experience more joyful resonance with life.

Manifest your dreams

By using resonance with discernment, wisdom and purpose, we can create a more intentional and joyful life and enjoy better success at reaching our goals, whether spiritual, relational, practical or material.

Zoe Macfarlane, a Queensland-based intuitive coach and writer, says living mindfully with resonance is key to changing our life, getting out of a rut and avoiding unconscious rushing around in response to triggers and schedules.

Macfarlane has been using resonance to manifest for 12 years and has loads of examples from her own life: two free overseas trips, dream job, beautiful home and more. In the weekly manifestation class she teaches at Eden Health Retreat, Macfarlane instructs her clients to begin by imagining in detail what it’s like to have something they deeply desire. “The closer you are to that energy, the easier it is going to flow into your life,” she says. This also gives you the energy and motivation to take inspired action towards your goal, she says. Think, behave and talk as if your goal is a reality or coming. Fake it till you make it, rather than holding back and blocking the change you want. “All of that is like a complete package of really being in alignment with that future moment,” Macfarlane says.

In the outer and your inner world, try to resonate with whatever you’re trying to attract into your life, whether supporters, like-minded people, ideas, behaviours or attitudes. On a daily basis, ask yourself if your energy investments serve your goal or not. “Is it moving you further away or closer to it?” Be mindful and protective of your energy. Know what lifts it, as energy saps are inevitable. Is it meditation or singing or something else? At the same time, we should avoid toxic positivity. “You don’t have to be positive every day,” she says. If you’re having a bad day, the vibration you’re holding for yourself should be kindness and compassion.

One of her key recommendations is to watch your language, thoughts and expectations. It’s common for us to use lack-based language without being aware of it. “Really understand that everything, including your beliefs, what you say and how you say it, has a frequency and vibration,” she says. Self-sabotaging ideas can really hold you back.

Resonance-based healing

Trauma can also hold us back. Here, resonance is helpful too. Peyton, also the author of a series of books on resonance including Your Resonant Self and Affirmations for Turbulent Times, says trauma mostly comes from us living through difficult times alone and the after-effects. “Humans are made to be in relationship with each other,” she says. As proof, she points to the benefits to our physiology and health when we’re in warm connection with each other and have a sense that other people understand us.

Empathy, sympathy, spiritual communion and telepathy are examples of emotional and cognitive resonance. When understanding comes into our life it’s very healing for us, Peyton says. “There are lots of wonderful things that happen.”

It’s not an experience we all have, she admits: “Mostly, we’re taught to tell other people what they should do. Rather than saying, ‘Gosh, I wonder if it was like this for you’, when you need some acknowledgement that it was really scary.”

In healing trauma, Peyton recommends being selective with your mental health support people. Choose only those you resonate with, able to go through the emotional process with you. “As we start to discover what resonance is, we begin to notice who can do it,” Peyton says. Also helpful, she suggests, is moving towards communities and other voices exploring a similar journey to you.

Resonating for self-compassion

Compassion can also be self-directed. This is achieved by resonating with our own needs and feelings. But in order to turn towards ourselves with resonance, we have to actually like ourselves, Peyton says. In a world where our shortcomings commonly trigger judgement and blame from others, many of us don’t like ourselves. What’s the answer?

“The more we receive resonance [as a warm understanding of what something is like for us], the more our self-compassion and self-warmth are awakened,” Peyton says. A common roadblock can be our inability to trust in humans as a source of comfort or understanding. “People have very good historical evidence that leads them to believe that other humans can be awful, and it’s true,” Peyton says. Thus, understandably some of us turn to companion animals, nature or a sense of the divine, Peyton says. Many stories exist of those who’ve discovered life-changing, abiding healing or self-love through connection with a higher being or nature.

If trust is an issue, explore relationships gently and choose confidants wisely. Seek out someone who has a sense of advocacy for you, who makes you feel that you make sense and matter, Peyton suggests. This might be a therapist. A therapist can also help you travel emotionally back in time to grant self-compassion and healing to your wounded self.

Restoring our core identity

Time travelling into the past can also help you resonate with your core self. Peyton says science suggests that who we are is formed from layers of experiences we’ve co-created with everybody we’ve ever interacted with. She also believes we’re all born with a core identity, something she describes as “almost cellular or in our DNA. It’s about our deepest values and what we’ve come to do here.”

In the 2020 book Transformation after Trauma: The Power of Resonance, Yabome Gilpin-Jackson describes how resonating with their core identity helped African war survivors become transformational leaders. They did so by remembering the stories that mattered most to them, the moments that lit up their hearts and moved their souls, connecting them to their inner purpose and spurring them to action. “Resonance is important because it signals the moment(s) when people begin to integrate their past experiences, even traumatic ones, and shift out of narratives of despair or hopelessness towards narratives of transformation,” Gilpin-Jackson writes.

Using a similar process, native American clients affected by historical trauma and colonialism, described in an article by Natalie Avalos in the AMA Journal of Ethics, were able to restore their sense of humanity by resonating with self-community, culture and eco-relationships.

Resonating our purpose with the universe

Resonating with our core self is key to understanding our purpose, and studies show purpose is important to happiness. Particularly, dynamic resonance occurs when who we are synergises with the universe and the needs of the world. In the riveting biography The Small Woman by Alan Burgess, London parlourmaid Gladys Aylward asks God for missionary work; doors miraculously open everywhere to her heroic journey, which includes an epic voyage across mountains to take 100 orphaned Chinese children to safety during the Sino-Japanese War.
When we work together, even more is possible. Resonance underpins all collaborative efforts and is the glue of collectives, causes and social change. In fact, Rosa regards lack of resonance with our planet and each other (alienation) as lying at the heart of the world’s biggest problems. This includes our environmental crisis.

If knowing your purpose seems uncertain, cultivate a spiritual practice, silence and solitude, or meditate to encourage resonance with your soul or core self. And open yourself to the universe.

What do we mean by the universe? The discoveries of groundbreaking physicist, researcher and founder of the Resonance Science Foundation, Nassim Haramein, provide scientific clarity. What we call “empty space” isn’t empty, but filled with energy. Everything — from the vastness of outer space to the tiniest particle and everything in between — is intimately connected and constantly in communication. In his documentary Crossing the Event Horizon, Haramein says: “Instead of seeing yourself as an insignificant little dot that means nothing to the universe, you start to see yourself as the centre of creation. Everyone else is the centre of their universe as well. In that, we’re all equal, and we’re all one.”

Articles Featured in WellBeing 206 

Linda Moon

Linda Moon

Linda Moon is a freelance feature writer reporting on health, travel, food and local producers, work, parenting, relationships and other lifestyle topics. Her work has appeared in International Traveller, Voyeur (Virgin Airlines magazine), Jetstar Asia, Slow Living, Traveller, Domain, My Career, Life & Style and Sunday Life (Sydney Morning Herald), Sprout, NZ Journal of Natural Medicine, Nature & Health, Australian Natural Health, Fernwood Fitness, The New Daily, SBS, Essential Kids, Australian Family, Weekend Notes, The Big Bus Tour & Travel Guide and more.

Based in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, Linda is a qualified and experienced naturopath, spa and massage therapist and a partly trained social worker.

Her writing interests focus on health, responsible consumerism, exploring beautiful places and the quest for a fairer, healthier and happier world for all.

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