The Search: Listening for Resonance

Written by Philip Walter on Feb 19 at 1:01 am in iSPIRITself, The Search

This is Part 3 of a 5-part series of articles called The Search. Start from the beginning here.

Find deeper meaning through resonance.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Clifton.

Resonance, as I mentioned in the last section, is the second characteristic of generous understanding, and likewise it is the second obstacle to developing generous understanding. It takes sensitivity to tune a guitar, finding just the right pitch, not too sharp but not too flat. Likewise it takes sensitivity to find the things that truly resonate in our lives. Depth experiences can be many, but only a few will truly resonate in your key. The depth experience is like the sound coming off your guitar strings, while resonance is like the tuning fork telling you when the sound is true to you. And what’s left after tuning the thing, after finding those sounds that resonate? Well, then you get to play of course.

But maintaining resonance is often difficult, as every guitar player will tell you. Once he’s tuned and played on a set of strings long enough, he’s got to buy another set. So it’s a never-ending process of tuning, playing, and updating; but eventually it becomes a never-ending process of playing.

Before that, however, one must learn to recognize (understand) and be open to (generous) that which resonates in his life. This is what generous understanding is all about. This is the process of going “beyond acid,” and indeed “beyond depth.” See, depth is the experience, resonance is the imprint, the lasting effect.

The trick is that an appropriate amount, or proportional degrees of depth and resonance must both be present for generous understanding to unfold and work its magic. Experiences that create depth reinforce our understanding of who we are, mapping out the realm of possibility in the light of actuality. Resonance, on the other hand, is how we take what we learn in the depths and invite it into our everyday lives.

We cultivate this quite honestly by doing just what we feel like doing. But this can quickly get dangerous, for sensitivity and spontaneity often become nothing more than impulsiveness. See, depth must keep pace with resonance and vice versa, or the whole thing will tip over and generous understanding becomes impossible. If one obsesses over a particular depth experience, it becomes an addiction, without which there is no meaning at all. And resonance can easily be turned into an excuse to act without understanding. Depth determines the authenticity of resonance, and resonance determines the scope of depth. Without enough depth, you are a slave to the changing sensations you receive from the outside world, and resonance seems like an endless party — or an agoraphobic nightmare. Conversely, depth, without the right amount of resonance creates a black hole of isolation.

The artistry truly is in communicating the experience, as Timothy Leary observed. This ability to translate and communicate is resonance, and this chapter involves what I hope is a clear explanation of resonance. Though how I plan to go about it is sort of, well, a back door. I hope you’ll bear with me.

As I said earlier, depth determines the authenticity of resonance, so for resonance to really ring true and feel like an orgasm, your depth must be of a certain quality. And to understand resonance, it helps to understand the demands it makes on depth.

Depth says, “I am so turned on … This gets me off … Let’s get close to it … Let’s do it again …” And Resonance says, “What does this mean … How does it affect me … How does it affect others … How can I recognize it tomorrow …” If Depth can’t adequately answer those last few questions, Resonance often breaks down and agrees to runs amok, listening to whatever the changing tides have to say.

So what sort of depth experience will lend authenticity to your resonance? Well, here we are again at the “pearl of great value” from Matthew. You could find it anywhere. But relax, because honest depth always looks a certain way.

See there are three basic characteristics of honest depth:

  1. The true depth experience challenges but does not exceed your capabilities.
  2. The true depth experience has clear goals.
  3. The true depth experience provides immediate feedback.

The ultimate depth experience, regardless of its nature, has these three characteristics. The first one is about going to the edge and confronting your self. The second is about finding purpose and direction. While the third is about being able to learn and grow from the experience.

This is not to say one cannot experience depth without the presence of these circumstances. It only reflects the requirements of resonance. See, depth experiences vary greatly in significance and applicability. So when you “find acid,” or whatever it happens to be for you, it’s time to resonate, to tune up. And then you get to play! At this point, if you’re really in tune, life comes naturally, you honestly begin to feel as if you are always where you ought to be.

To drive home the point, resonance is like a divining rod, and when it starts to vibrate, you know where to dig your well. Resonance is a turn-on. What turns you on, not just what gives you a hard-on, but what really turns you on, is the divining rod shaking, telling you to dig deeper.

So it’s important to listen for what resonates, and more often than not, what resonates has direction, challenges your limitations, and tells you how you’re doing along the way. These circumstances set the stage for enormous passion, which leads you deeper and deeper into your Self, without closing yourself off to the communicative experience. So by looking for these characteristics, by not settling for less, you are learning to resonate, to let your life really ring true and feel like an orgasm.

And what then? Recess.

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