A Recent Description of Resonant Sensing for Peace
From time to time, I share my understanding of the Resonant Sensing for Peace process, including the intentions that Eric and I shared when we started this work, and how it has evolved over time.
Resonant Sensing for Peace has some similarities with traditional Focusing and with some kinds of circle gatherings, and, there are also some differences. This can create some confusion at times.
Several people have mentioned that they would like more clarity around, “what are we doing here?” I hope these clarifications are helpful.
1. What is the purpose of "Resonant Sensing for Peace"?
Resonant Sensing for Peace is an ongoing experiment in creating a collective healing space. It might also be described as developing a ‘collective nervous system’ or ‘We-space.’ Given all of the isolation, trauma, fear, and stress in the world, some of us are feeling the need to develop collective ways of holding that can help us ground, center, and transform distress.
The more we experience ourselves as connected, as not-so-separate, the more this can inform our living and acting in the world. The more we feel part of something larger, something that includes our individual perspectives yet also goes beyond them, the more grounded and empowered we feel. We can begin to speak from a larger and deeper voice….
RSP is a small step toward reclaiming the profound healing power of ‘tribe’ that has been atrophied in our culture, and has left us more vulnerable to being manipulated by fear. As we gather together to experience one another in a connected way, we can better hold that which is difficult in ourselves and in the larger world. We can also share and amplify those lovely energies that offer strength and serve as resources for ourselves and for the larger world.
2. What is “Resonant Sensing”?
"Resonant sensing" is a way in which we can connect with and feel one another, to enter into a felt experience of deeper connection. Here are some of the assumptions that this process is based upon:
A) We assume that all of us, and the planet, are already interconnected.
As Thomas Hubl says, “We think we are 7 billion individual laptops, but actually, we are one big supercomputer."
That electronic analogy may not be to everyone's taste; you are welcome to envision different metaphors. For example, we can imagine ourselves as individual organs that are part of Gaia, a larger planetary being.
B) We assume that we can feel one another, and the larger world, through our sensing capacities.
This includes our felt sensing, as well as our mirror neurons and Social Engagement circuitry. As Kosha Joubert of Global EcoVillage Network says:
“We acknowledge this beautiful instrument of our human body, that has been refined over a million years to be able to sense in very refined ways……
And, we are aware of how our bodies are part of the planet…”
With the above assumptions as our foundation, we make the intention to create an energetic container with one another, and to be open to what wants to show up. Each of us is holding the circle and holding the larger world. And, each of us is also being held by the circle and by the larger world.
We offer our attention and care to ourselves, to one another, and to the planet, and we welcome and "be with" what comes.
We can see this as “opening a Collective Guest House”: we open to the lovely and/or challenging ‘guests’ that show up in our midst, in a way that affirms and explores our larger connection.
One key element of this practice, is that whatever is shared, is shared into the center of the circle.
3. What are the steps of the process?
RSP has some qualities of ceremony or ritual space. It is a kind of ‘practice’, a group felt meditation. The format used for sharing has parallels to dialogue, and to Quaker Worship Sharing.
a) There is a guide who opens the process, keeping it on track and aligned with the above intentions. As participants feel moved, they are welcome to make suggestions, to take some initiative for the well-being of the group. At the same time, emergent processes need some kind of stewarding – so far, that has been one of my roles.
b) -There is a lead-in, which serves to intentionally call the circle, to welcome in different energies that support it, and to invite each of us to remember our connection to the larger dimensions of existence.
c) We each sense into ‘what is alive for us’.
d) Whatever we have to share, is generally offered into the center of the circle, as if the circle itself were "the listener". Of course, each of us is "the listener" as well.
e) Questions are also shared into the middle of the circle. Unless you are simply asking someone to repeat themselves because you can’t hear, questions are allowed to float in the space, and rarely directly answered. The reason for this is that back-and-forth conversation, as well as direct questions, tend to encourage beta brain waves and rational processing. These are not the best support for going deeper into resonation and shared holding.
f) Pausing between sharings is also encouraged. Reason being that quick responses tend to speed up the process, and going too quickly results in a loss of depth and energy within the group space.
During the pauses, we resonate with what has been shared, take it into our bodies, and receive the speaker and their energies, in whatever way works for us. This helps to deepen the process.
If something is weighing on someone, with regard to distress that is happening in the world, we make space for it, welcome it, allow it to be held in the circle.
If something is weighing on someone, that feels "personal", we make space and welcome it as well. We assume that nothing is "only personal"; one person may feel it, and, it is also part of the larger system. So, if someone feels as if they don’t belong, or are disconnected, or feeling 'nothing' - we welcome that energy in, as well.
That person is acting as a conduit to bring in these common experiences in the world at large, that can use some accompanying.
If what comes for someone is relaxing or alive or buoyant, that is also welcomed and ‘hosted’ (taken in, received, and resonated with).
4. What RSP is not
RSP is not a conversation, nor is it a discussion group for topics of mutual interest. Those are wonderful ways to connect and share space, yet that is not our intention here.
All of the participants In RSP are delightful and fascinating people. It would be wonderful to have opportunities to get to know one another better in informal ways. So it's understandable that having RSP be ‘not-a-conversation’ can be frustrating at times.
There is often some conversation as people gather, before we begin. You are welcome to arrive a few minutes early if you wish to chat before we start. You are also warmly welcome to set up times outside of the RSP process to connect with participants and explore other kinds of group interaction, or to simply enjoy informal connection. The only request is to please keep us posted as to what you are doing and learning in the process!
5. Some additional comments:
RSP can be seen from the perspective of interpersonal neurobiology. Most of us are familiar with individual ways to build resilience through personal practices such as yoga, meditation, and prayer. The intention here is to engage in a group practice, where we are harnessing the power of our Social Engagement System in an online/group setting.
The Social Engagement System (the Ventral Vagal system in the Polyvagal Theory) is designed for engaging in resonant interconnection with others. When we do so, it helps us relax, move out of a fear state, and engage higher brain centers. In turn, this leads to creativity, well-being, increased intuitive capacities, and increased sense of openness and more constructive action. Here is a insightful chart about this: http://rubyjowalker.com/PVchart6HD.pdf
RSP is an experiment, so we learn from each other.
Each time the process is different. It depends on who is present and what arises.
I continually seek to make the process more powerful and user-friendly at the same time. Please let me know what does, and doesn’t, work for you.
Take good care, and thank you for your interest,
For more information about Resonant Sensing for Peace (an older orientation letter), please see:
and some details about participation are at