We live in a world of vibration. Everything moves and pulses, whether at the subatomic level, the biological level, the cultural, the spiritual, or beyond. Each level of existence vibrates at a particular rate, with infinite gradations between levels. The dense world of matter– the so-called “real” world– vibrates at a low rate. Low does not mean “bad”, necessarily. It simply means that the rate of vibration is slow compared to higher vibratory realms, such as mind, spirit, or dimensions beyond 3D. We all know that our thoughts flit around more quickly than our emotions do, and our emotions change more rapidly than our bodies or the world around us. In 3D things appear plainly and simply as they are: a chair is a chair, a table is a table, and China is not in Texas. As the vibratory rate increases, things become more subtle and rarefied. The part of us that understands metaphor vibrates more rapidly than 3D. Thus to a poet, a chair can be a prison, a table a battlefield, and the Yuan Dynasty can thrive in present-day San Antonio. When we understand that everything vibrates and we learn to manage our own vibration, we can become much more effective, peaceful, and balanced actors in the cosmic drama.
To understand the nature of vibration and how it works, let’s consider a type of a vibration we can all agree upon, skeptics and woo-woos alike: sound. When you pluck a guitar string, the string begins moving back and forth rapidly: that is, it vibrates. This motion pushes and pulls the air particles around the string, creating waves, like ripples on a pond when you throw a stone into it. These waves hit our eardrums and set it moving back and forth, like the guitar string. This motion transmits via the bones and nerves of our inner ear, to our brain where they are registered as a sound. Notice from this example how easily vibration transfers from one medium to another. This is known as resonance, or sympathetic vibration.
As with sound waves, vibrations of all kinds form the links in the chain of cause and effect, transferring easily from one medium to the next. The vibration behind our thoughts, words, and actions sends ripples out into the world, entering the never-ending flow of cause and effect. Consider the phrase “I love you” spoken from a true place of love, versus the same words spoken from a place of lack, insecurity, or desperation: the first transmits the vibration of love, while the second reaches out like tentacles to generate codependence and general relational misery. As the Beatles aptly said, “and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” What you give is what you get, and what you get causes you to give yet more of the same. And in the end, this is all a matter of vibration.
The more we tend to vibrate at a particular level, the more we are “tuned” to that frequency and thus tend to resonate with similar vibrations in the world. We fall into a vibratory rut. The rut we occupy in the road of cause and effect is our karma. We can forget all of the dogma about karma and even past lives. We can certainly forget the misinterpretation that sees karma as a system of punishment for sins and rewards for virtues. The most effective way to work with our karma is to focus on the present moment in this life and ask: how am I vibrating now? Do my thoughts, words, and actions match my vibration? How do my words land on other people? How do their words land on me?
To liberate ourselves from our karma, we must train our inner observer, usually through meditation. In doing so we become more and more sensitive to the vibrations at each level of our being: biological, emotional, mental, or spiritual. Finally, we become aware of our awareness itself. Using particular techniques of breath, visualization, or mantra, we can learn to tune our various dimensions to a new vibration. With practice it gets easier to tune ourselves up, until one day we wake up to realize that patterns of thought, emotion, or circumstance that have plagued us our entire lives are gone. If they remain at all, they are the faintest ghosts of their former selves, thoroughly drained of their power. This is true freedom and it is attainable in this life.
The Eightfold Path of Buddhism offers a simple formula for liberation: right intention, right thought, right speech, right action, etc. But unfortunately, especially for novices on the spiritual path, this can easily translate as, “you should think only pure thoughts, speak pure words, and act purely.” “Should” carries the low vibration of judgment, struggle, and shame, and it is the bane of all spiritual seekers. Rather than “shoulding on ourselves”, we… should (doh!)… approach our path with a spirit of curiosity, playfulness, and experimentation. Try to notice whatever is happening now. When your inner observer is strong enough, then try responding to things in different ways. See what happens.
My experiments have confirmed what I have heard a million times before: gratitude is our secret vibratory weapon. It will cut off the head of just about any demon. The cliché phrase “just be grateful” is the best advice out there. Unfortunately (or should I say thankfully?) clichés tend to push every button of the inner cynic. When the cynic takes over, our vibration tanks. Perhaps this is one of the ways the Divine seeks to keep itself hidden: by making the greatest truths sound eye-roll worthy. If it were easy to wake up, it would take all the fun out of the pursuit. But give gratitude a shot. Be grateful for everything. Find the thing that you are most ashamed of, put your hands in prayer position and say, “THANK YOU!” Try it for a week and see what happens. Thank you for reading.
Alex Stein is a 21st century internal alchemist, combining archetypal astrology, depth psychology, meditation, breathwork, music, and science-based tools to facilitate deep transformations. Learn more at https://www.twentyfirstcenturyalchemy.com/