#3: Reclaiming Resonance
Resonance is a deep feeling of connection. We've lost it, but we can get it back
I want to live in the city with no friends or family
I'm gonna look out the window of my color TV
This newsletter is a little different, but stay with me. I think it’s very relevant to the environ / mental health theme.
It’s based on the podcast: On Resonance: Caves, Hooves, Hearts, Harps…and the Birth of Culture.
TL;DR: The environmental crisis in the industrialized world can be understood as a loss of our resonance with nature (as alluded to in the Modest Mouse quote). Because of this loss of resonance, we behave in ways harmful to both nature and our mental health. And there are ways to get this resonance back.
A few months ago, I did a sound-bath. I was tired and feeling blah beforehand. After an hour of listening to the resonant gongs, I felt amazing. Holy crap, there was something to this sound-bath thing…
This morning, the cat purrs rhythmically in my ear. The cat knows about resonance. He does not need to read this post.
All living beings are oscillators. That constant, delicate, complex throbbing is the essence of life itself.
-Joshua Shrei, from the podcast (and all the quotes below are from the podcast too)
On a recent trip to the Big Island in Hawaii, we stayed in the jungle. All around us, the entire night, were deafening polyphonic sounds. What do we lose when the world goes quiet at night? When all we hear are sirens, AC, and TV?
The first line of Homer’s Odyssey is “sing in me muse.” In the podcast, Michael Schrei talks about praise-song. That’s a great way to understand wonder and awe. It isn’t just a visual beholding of vastness. It is a deep vibration, a resonance. You see the vastness, and the vastness plucks a string in your soul, it sings in you.
Sing in me, universe!
Resonance links the vastness of the stars to you. If it was just vastness out there, then you would feel disconnected. Schrei talks about how feeling the interconnectedness is a form of resonance.
When supply chains become so long that we can’t see what this plastic bottle has to do the whale shark, then we’ve lost resonance…What if there was no chasm between us and things. The plant is to be crushed. Canyons are to be sung to, to hear how they sing back.
I recently did a retreat in the Southwest. This above picture is me, walking though a slot canyon. We sang to the canyons, and heard them sing back. Also, we did a tea ceremony in the sand dunes and chanted OOOOOOOMMMMM together.
Shrei mentions how if Congress sessions started with a chant, or 3 breaths together, there would be much more harmony. What if what we needed was not more calls to our Congress people, but getting our leaders into resonance with nature? We cannot defend what we don’t love. If all you know is a cushy lifestyle devoid of resonance with nature, why would you listen to those crazy tree huggers? It’s no wonder that hunters are great environmentalists. I’ve never hunted, but I think that to be one, you need to resonate.
A friend of mine recently asked me: what is joy? My answer was that joy is a deep resonance. So what can we do to increase our resonance with nature, each other, and ourselves?
Call to this living world and hear the living world respond
Go for walks at sunrise and sunset, look at the sky
Before starting a social interaction, do a chant of Ohm or breathe together for 3 synchronized breaths
Do a technology minimalism challenge to get out of your phone and into nature. (I recently finished one; you can email me and I can give details/support)
If you have pets, spend quality time physically touching them
Do a sound bath
Listen to natural sound baths, the crickets in the summer, the birds, flowing water
Watch waves go back and forth in the ocean
Watch the phases of the moon
Create rituals synchronized to solstices (I’ll be doing a winter solstice ritual, where we will talk about darkness and light in our lives)
Watch the rhythms of nature: birds flying, trees shaking in the wind
Listen to music that gets you in a state of flow
I’ll leave you with a juicy quote:
Facts only matters if they resonate. We won’t change culture by typing. We won’t even do it by talking. We literally need to circle dance together until we feel things sync in phase.
So I’ll stop wasting my energy typing :) I encourage you to get out there and resonate with nature. It can be as simple as going to a local park. As Schrei says, for 99% of our evolution, the world was animate. There’s a tremendous comfort that comes from feeling the world as animate. Last night, looking at the silvery moon peaking out through the naked trees, I felt connected to, in resonance with, its stark beauty. I felt whole.
I’d love to hear your stories of resonance with nature, and how reclaiming resonance has affected your mental health.