Resonance is a fascinating concept, especially for those who practise meditation–mantra recitation in particular. The term offers a possible explanation for how memory and habit become engrained in nature.
It has been shown that actions undertaken in the past become easier and more effective for different living beings to carry out in the future. For example, if rats are taught a new trick in a laboratory in Los Angeles, rats in laboratories in other parts of the world generally learn that same new trick more quickly. The more people who practise a new skill, like windsurfing, the easier it becomes for others who come to windsurfing to learn that skill.
A good example is the Flynn Effect. Over time, people score higher and higher on standard IQ tests. Average scores of 100 rise steadily over a period of years. There is no indication that people are becoming more intelligent, merely that they are getting better at doing those particular tests. When the tests are revised, as they are periodically, scores once again return to 100.
The theory of resonance suggests that when we do something that has been done before, we become linked, through an organising pattern of influence, or a field, to others who have done the same thing. We resonate with them. Like other fields—electric, magnetic, radiation—the field may be invisible, but its effects are not. And it reaches over time and space.
What happens when we recite a mantra that has been repeated by millions of people for thousands of years? We bring ourselves into resonance with them. We benefit from their cumulative influence, just as we contribute to that influence ourselves.
As we sit in our room reciting mantras, we may be physically alone or with our pet, but in a different way we are tuning into an influence and community, an energetic field reaching back through the centuries to include everyone else in our tradition.
The paragraphs are a short extract from my book, Buddhism for Pet Lovers.
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