Resonance as a Living Polarity

Patients typically respond eagerly to the concept of ‘resonance’, and start to explore what it would mean in their life. This is a positive thing, as the greater the resonance operating in someone’s life, the greater will be their overall health and satisfaction in life. What most patients don’t realize at first, is that resonance is not always easy. As opposed to the seemingly similar (yet very different) concept of “attraction”, “resonance” is a dynamic concept which contains a full living polarity (where “attraction” is an abstraction that doesn’t relate to a deeper living polarity, and therefore doesn’t contribute to health). “The Law of Resonance”, and “The Law of Attraction” are two entirely different concepts.

The living polarity within the concept of resonance is between “consonance” and “dissonance”. To draw on the musical aspect of these terms, consonance results from the combination of two or more notes which have a simple mathematical relationship to each other, and therefore produce an easily pleasing, harmonious sound. The strong, comforting simplicity of a major chord, for example, is frequently used within music for this reason. The more consonant a harmony is, the less tension that it produces in the listener.

By contrast, the dissonances in music are made up of two or more notes which have a more complex mathematical relationship to each other, and create a feeling of tension in the listener. There are varying degrees of consonance and dissonance, and the artistry of music depends on how the harmonic structures in a piece play within this polarity, to create a feeling of momentum and ultimately balance between the moments of tension versus relaxation.

The point for the purposes of this discussion, is that it is the polarity between consonance and dissonance which creates resonance. Consonance on its own is lacking any tension (and therefore forward motion), and dissonance on its own is too jarring which is repellent. The fad of “New Age” music, for example is built on the idea of exclusively using consonance, but in my opinion is lacking in any true substance or living energy.  The complex 12-tone rows of Arnold Schønberg, as a counter-example, are extremely dissonant, and very difficult to sit through as a listener. Most music, of course, falls somewhere between these extremes, and depending on the state of the listener, will benefit from more consonant or more dissonant music at any given point in time.

In a relationship, likewise, it is this living blend of consonance and dissonance which is required for forward momentum. Couples who strive to never engage in anything dissonant (like an argument, for example) are often avoiding an important element of a healthy relationship. Or more generally, the white-washing of the distinct individuality of each person in a relationship in this quest for peace seems like a good goal, but is actually destructive over the long-term. This is why all the wedding vows are traditionally coined in terms of living polarities (“in sickness and in health”, for example).

Or within the unfolding of a person’s life, there are more expansive and more contractive phases which are experienced. It is the contractive (and painful) experiences which give the energy needed for the following expansion to be fruitful (bearing life), rather than an abstract or simplified concept of “happiness” as somehow meaning that nothing should ever go “wrong”.

The role of using the remedies within Heilkunst treatment, then, is to help the patient get right to the crux of the dissonance, and through the exact issue it is related to, rather than the false goal of eliminating it so that the patient never has to experience it at all. A proper engagement with our dissonant elements is brought to full expression through Heilkunst medicine, and therefore a deeper resonance with our life in general is made possible.

5 thoughts on “Resonance as a Living Polarity

  1. elaine

    Wow! How beautifully you take us through the music of dissonance and consonance (briefly pointing toward the amazing mathematics of these) as we move into resonance that occurs in their meeting –their meeting also in the music of our relationships!–What you say of the importance of, not eliminating dissonances, but of going into them (with the remedies) is very helpful.–And I have long wondered why so much of ‘new age’ music is not fulfilling. Now I know why!–Thank you.

    (a patient with a wonderful practictioner in Santa Fe, New Mexico)

  2. Stephen

    So that’s why we have to do the medicine and the regimen together?!

    Medicine for overtuning the dissonance of disease and regimen for tuning up the consonant soundness of health.

    Play it again, Sam.

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