Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Pendulum Effect, and Optimism

Have you ever walked into a clock shoppe and noticed the pendulums all swinging together in perfect rhythmic harmony? It's true, when placed together, clocks with pendulums will all "fall together" into rhythmic unison. It's really amazing when you think about it. Here are these mechanical instruments, and something draws their functions into harmony. But what is that something? I honestly don't know if I could really understand it if it was explained to me, but having seen it, I can accept it as true. Sometimes we don't have to even have proof, necessarily, to believe something as true. We can see it written or hear it said, and we just have a deep inner knowing that it is so. It can be said to resonate with us. 

This Phenomenon of spontaneous synchronization is called entrainment, and it exists in many different schools of thought. In physics, it is described as:

 "..the tendency for two oscillating bodies to lock into phase so that they vibrate in harmony..."

Entrainment exists in numerous forms, from the synchronization of fireflies illuminating to the harmonious resonance of mosquitoes wings flapping. Girls going off to college experience a synchronization of their menstrual cycles to those of their roommates. Our brainwaves will even entrain to the musical rhythms we introduce.

The author Paul Pearsall, in his studies of heart transplant patients notes the amazing tendency of a single cardiac cell to throb in unison, not only with another cell that it sides up against, but indeed with the cells of another heart! Before the Transplant takes place, the two hearts when placed alongside each other, will begin to beat in unison. (the heart continues to beat, even after it is removed, for a short period of time.) This information leaves me awestruck. What's more, is that, individuals, when holding hands together, before long, will share cardiac rhythms: their hearts will beat in unison. 

As a massage therapist, I have also found that, not only do the heart rates entrain, but the breath rates of the client and therapist do as well. Knowing this, I must be certain that my state of mind is a good one, so that I do not convey any negativity. I must center myself before beginning, and I pay special attention to the Music I use as background, because , you guessed it, there is such a thing as 
Biomusicology
§  the synchronization of organisms to an external rhythm.

You may consider this interesting, and find it awe inspiring, or you may just chalk it up to science, and be done with it.
 But consider this:
 Consider the practice and concept of Optimism.
If entrainment exists in so many forms, where one form of energy entrains itself to another, in a beautiful example of Nature's interwoven cloth,
then
 How might one's state of mind, and general mode of being affect another's? 

Do you notice how the emotional climate of the room physically changes when someone walks into the room with a joyous baby?
It becomes transformed.

Optimism is contagious.
But so is pessimism.
Optimism Feels good.
Pessimism, Not so much.

When a pendulum swings, it has two extremes.
Optimism Feels Good. Pessimism, Not so much.


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