I was thrilled when Chris picked vibe as the word for his project. I mostly associate the word with the phrase “good vibes” and always appreciate a choice of word that has several meanings and contexts. For the illustration, I tried to cover a few aspects of vibe that Chris explored: resonance, sound, and tuning into the vibes of others, catching vibes and giving out vibes.
Note: This project continues a special series. The letters T-Y have been adopted by newsletter readers (you can read more about the why and how here). Chris Bent, Piccles founder and Design Thinking Zeal friend, selected the word “vibe” as his project. I know you’ll find his take below on Alpha Projects as delightful as I do!
I'm five Bud Lights deep into a Saturday night of underaged drinking in Boston. I'm a Sophomore in college two hours outside of Boston and drove in to visit some friends in the city, who I now can't find. Wandering around the streets around Boston University, I fire off the occasional text while looking for familiar landmarks as I try to reunite with the boys.
Out on a balcony, a small gathering of guys seem to be having a good time, and invite me up. It's important to note here that I have the disposition of a golden retriever and love meeting new people, so this sounds like a fun detour on a way to my friends.
They buzz me in and I make my way up the ornate staircase into a living room that looked like it was owned by the illuminati, not some frat bros. Rich mahogany, leather chairs, relaxed lighting, soft music and ornate artifacts adorning the walls and book cases. Nothing here came from IKEA.
"Did I just stumble into some secret society?" I thought to myself as I sip on a glass of red wine they handed me, still trying to take in the magnificent environment I had just wandered in to. "This will make a cool story when I meet up with my friends"
And then, the vibe changed.
Something had shifted and I couldn't explain it, but I just KNEW I had to get out of there. Getting up, I rush out the door and down the stairs without saying a word to anyone. That was one of the last things I remember from that night.
Luckily I awoke the following morning safely in a friends dorm room, and as I came to my senses I realized I had been drugged. Over 10 years later I still think of what would have happened if my gut hadn't sensed something was wrong and gotten out of that situation at just the right moment.
Rapper: "It's a vibe"
Mom: "What's a vibe?"
Physicist: "Everything is a vibe"
For this project, I wanted to go deep to really understand vibes: how they're created and how they affect other entities. Everything in motion gives off vibration, and everything in the universe is in motion, so this could have easily been a novel, but I'll only share the three most interesting things I found: Resonance, how sound works, and then I got to see vibrations with singing bowls and water.
Resonance is the tendency for something to vibrate or sound in response to another vibration at it's natural frequency. If it's a different frequency, it might not make something resonate at all. Like pushing a kid on a swing, if you match the frequency of the swing they go higher and higher. It doesn't take much effort as long as you match the energy of the system, but try and push them as they're still coming at you and they'll slow down, no longer resonating because your frequency no longer matches theirs.
This same principle is why it's possible to sing at just the right note to break a wine glass. Our vocal chords resonate at the same frequency of the wine glass to the point where vibrates so much it cracks. Check out this video to see how it's done.
Resonance is also the reason for Emotional Contagion - when someone lights up a room or sucks the energy out of it. You notice this, because you feel a little more joyful or a little more depressed with the new presence of this person. But it isn't just a human phenomena. Fireflies or certain species will literally start lighting up in sync in large gatherings too.
From the smallest fireflies to the formation of the Milky Way Galaxy, resonance is responsible for the spontaneous self-organization of the universe and everything in it. Basically, when two different vibrating things come into proximity, they start to vibrate together at the same frequency after a little time.
So how does "your vibe attract your tribe?"
According to Dr. David Hawkins' book Letting Go , different emotional states emit different energy. This spans from Shame → Guilt → Apathy → Fear → Anger → Pride → Courage → Neutrality → Acceptance → Love → Joy → Peace → Enlightenment.
Music, books, places, animals, intentions and all of life emit energy in the form of the vibrations they give off. Jesus Christ, the Buddha and Krishna all reached enlightenment, and all attracted quite the tribe.
Sound is all about vibration, but HOW it works really blew my mind. In humans, there are three things that vibrate when a sound is created.
- the source object
- the molecules in the air (or another medium e.g. water)
- the eardrum
I might have just missed this biology class, but this was the first time it clicked in my brain that the only reason we can hear sounds is because have a tiny, literal drum in our ear that vibrates in a similar way to the outside source of the vibration.
The human ear can hear from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. A sound with a frequency too high is known as ultrasound, commonly used for medical imaging, but also by bats and dolphins in their echolocation. Infrasound is at the opposite end of the spectrum and out of human perception. It's used by elephants to communicate over long distances because these sounds travel further than high frequency ones.
This is why it is just as important to "catch vibes" as it is to give out vibes. An excellent leader is aware of problems, challenges and opportunities that others have not noticed. If we have no way of vibrating in the same frequency or “tuning into” the vibration in our environment, we won't pick up on anything around us.
This is at the heart of the law of attraction - you will attract what you tune into. The thief thinks everyone is trying to take their money, and the generous think everyone else is giving with abundance. Because of resonance, after enough time, they'll both be right.
Another fun fact about sound: The closer the molecules of a medium are together, the faster the sound travels. This means sound travels 4x faster through water, doesn't travel at all through space because, and travels 17x faster through steel.
And for the finale, we get to actually SEE sound.
For this experiment I got three singing bowls of different sizes and filled each with water. I wanted to observe the sound waves affect on the water in each of the bowls, and how they differed.
I could have done this for hours. Not only did it sound great, but seeing the water droplets dance around inside the bowl, and occasionally bounce out, made for a very captivating experience.
(The aftermath of the experiment - interesting to see the larger drops from the bigger bowl further out and a higher concentration right around the bowl)
I also noticed that the smaller bowl produced smaller water droplets from it's more rapid vibrations while the larger bowl produced slightly bigger droplets.
What you see here are called Faraday waves and as you might see, they moves in a counter-clockwise motion the same way that I was moving the mallet.
Snap your fingers and you jostle the particles right next to you. As they wiggle, they bump into the particles next to them, which, in turn, nudge the particles next to them.
The loudest sound in space is still up for debate: Some scientists think it occurs during the merging of two black holes. Others believe there is a black hole in the Perseus contellation that ejects the energy of 100 million exploding stars, which, unsurprisingly, is also pretty loud.
Remember, your vibe attracts your tribe, but a black holes' vibe attracts all tribes.
Vibrations are a dance, a way of communicating through coherence, from a source to recipient. We are always both a recipient and a source, being and doing.
What inspires you? It might be music, a friend, a book, nature, travel... All of these things give off vibrations, and when they hit you, you like who you become. You feel joyful, ideas flow, energy increases.
Things to play with:
- Instead of a playlist on shuffle, listen to certain frequencies to help focus while working, like 369Hz which is referred to as the miracle frequency. To try you can also search binural beats on Spotify or play this video in the background.
- Paying closer attention to how things are making you feel, and act on them. We really have three brains that perceive vibrations - our gut, heart and head. Often we only use our head because that's what our five senses are wired to. But I would be a different person today if I didn't let my gut guide me on that Saturday night in Boston.
- When exercising and hitting a wall, or doing anything hard or painful, try to smile. This tricks your body into thinking you're doing better than you are, which makes you ACTUALLY feel better than you are. Like power posing or words of affirmation, this helps you by sending vibes to yourself.
- Get a singing bowl and play is for a few minutes every day, observing how the rhythmic motion and sound vibrations make you feel.
Editor’s note: I appreciate the storytelling, research, and experimentation in this post. There's so much beauty in the observations and reflections Chris shared, including what he invites us to play with as we vibe with vibe.
Reminder: the project and write-up was submitted by a guest contributor, Chris Bent.
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