What is resonance, anyway?

What we can learn from cellos

by Sarah Peyton | Your Resonant Self Meditations

How do we resonate? How do we stop our own resonance? Hear me explain how resonance works in this comprehensive 2-minute audio clip.

Dear <first name>, 

I love cellos because they are such beautiful resonant teachers for us humans. 

Did you know that, like in the body of a cello, our emotions actually vibrate and create frequencies when they move through us?  

Cellos are perfect metaphors that help us grasp the concept of resonance:

If you are playing a cello with another cello nearby and you put your ear close to the cello that’s not being played, you can hear its strings literally vibrating, resonating at the same pitch, with the tune being played on the first cello.

This is a kind of stringed instrument call-and-response that says “I hear you and I will respond with the same note! This is the sound you’re playing, is it not?”

Can you imagine what our world would be like if we responded to ourselves and each other as cellos would? By catching the vibration of our own emotional expression with a mirroring vibrational curiosity of, “I think I’m hearing and understanding you, is your experience kind of like this?”

While resonance has become quite the buzz word lately, most people don’t understand that it’s quite literal. Our emotions actually vibrate and create a frequency when they move through us.

It’s almost like emotions are the music that plays the human instrument. 

If you’re having very strong emotions and I bring myself close, I myself can feel the vibrations of your experience, and I can bring myself into resonance with you.

We learn to vibrate, or learn to stop our vibration, when we are little tiny humans in relationship with our primary caregiver[s]. 

Sadly, most of us learned, as little tiny humans, to stop our own resonance, and respond to ourselves and others with judgment, criticism, disbelief, or subtle cues that we shouldn’t be having whatever difficult experience we were having.

These kinds of non-resonant responses, where we are not able to catch ourselves with “of course you are feeling that way!” cause intense stress in our brains and bodies. 

I’m including a short video where I discuss the resonant attachment relation between caregiver and baby, and the connection between resonance and emotional regulation, in greater depth. It’s about ten minutes long, and I recommend watching it if you’d like to know more.

 bodies and nervous systems are built to send signals about what is true: We are scared. We are angry. We are sad. We are joyfully happy. We are hopeful. 

When we criticize ourselves for the experience we are having (or outright deny it), the body becomes frustrated and exhausted because its message is not being received. 

Stress chemicals start flooding our body: adrenaline, cortisol. We begin to cut off the parts of ourselves that are having experiences that we do not like. We become fragmented, numb, irritable, lonely, unable to experience joy or a sense of freedom in being ourselves. 

We get small. 

Learning to speak with ourselves with resonance instead of judgment changes how our brains work. It flows energy and information through our systems in different ways than had been previously possible, and connects us where we’ve been fragmented. 

This is why working with resonance practice, by ourselves and with others, is vital for cultivating self-compassion. 



 P.S. Many of us have struggled for most of our adult lives to live with joy, with the freedom to be ourselves and with self-love. According to the latest neuroscience research, the key to unlocking these difficulties is located in our nervous systems!

I’ll be sharing more soon about how to work with the mystery of your nervous system, and the missing pieces that most self-help and mindfulness practices skip over.

As always, if you’re curious to learn more in a live workshop with me, you can check out the beginner classes that I have coming up. If self-study is more your thing, here is a library of self-study courses that you may enjoy.

About Sarah

Sarah Peyton

Sarah Peyton

Sarah Peyton, international speaker and facilitator, has a passion for weaving together neuroscience knowledge and experiences of healing that unify people with their brains and bodies.

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