What happens when large numbers of people feel similar, strong emotions at the same time as each other? Scientists at the HeartMath Institute have explored this question and they propose that the strong, matching emotional state of many people creates a coherent electro-magnetic field that radiates outward and influences both the surrounding area and the people in its vicinity. This is important because our world is drowning is waves of strong emotions caused by global turmoil. For example, frustration and anger swirl around the United States because of the deadly, yet questionable, shootings of African-American men in Louisiana and Minnesota and the violent revenge by people who gunned down police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. In Europe, anxiety washes over Britain and the European Union (EU) following the British vote to leave the EU. France and the Middle East are awash in anger, fear and grief after five recent terrorist attacks killed 532 victims and injured more than 864 innocent people in Syria, Nice, Balad, Baghdad and Sirte.[i]
It was after the September 11 attack on the twin towers in New York that researchers first noticed that random number generators grew more systematic for a period of several hours after that incident. This unexpected observation was replicated in a 2007 study that examined the effect of group meditation on the output of random number generators.[ii] The researchers theorize that, in addition to affecting random number generators, individuals experiencing similar emotions also influence the feelings of those who are nearby. When large numbers of people respond to global events, their emotions impinge on all of us, even when we are not personally affected by the circumstances. Like waves in the ocean, currents of anxiety combine with frustration, grief and worry and crest in larger and larger swells of fear and anger that wash over everyone on the planet.
How do we maintain emotional stability when we are constantly pummeled by this ocean of emotion? A place to begin is by recognizing the presence of this field of emotional energy which is generated by the collective consciousness of humanity. It impacts us whether or not we are aware of its influence. Once we recognize the existence of this field, we can choose to feed it compassion, joy and gratitude. We can also begin to distinguish which emotions belong to us and which portions are caused as our feelings vibrate in response to the collective field, like a guitar string set in motion by a tuning fork.
For example, when I become aware that I am feeling a strong, distressing emotion, I ask the question, “Is this mine?” I pause and listen to my inner knowing. Frequently the answer is, “Yes and no.” Simply asking the question softens the strength of my emotional response as I realize that some of what I am feeling does not even belong to me, as an individual. This brief moment of awareness interrupts the reactive response that could, otherwise, escalate emotional tension and conflict. Now I am able to focus on the portion of my response that is my responsibility and I have the opportunity to choose how to move forward.
Sometimes, I decide to act on my feelings. Other times, I redirect my attention and the emotion dissolves. I can also neutralize the feeling by intentionally activating higher frequency energies such as curiosity, graciousness or compassion. (See “Taking Charge of your State of Mind” https://cathygrytting.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/taking-charge-of-your-state-of-mind-a-process-to-reduce-stress-and-enhance-joy/.) In addition it is possible to purposefully activate a coherent emotional state such as appreciation or joy. (See “Prescription for Well-Being” https://cathygrytting.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/prescription-for-well-being-heartmind-coherence/.) As we generate and radiate high frequency, coherent emotions, we counteract the collective waves of fear rolling across the Earth. Like the meditators who influenced random number generators, we feed positive emotional energy to the collective emotional field and we smooth the waves on the ocean of emotion.
If you would like coaching to maintain serenity amid waves of fear, please contact me at email@example.com. To watch a four minute video that describes social coherence and our ability to influence each other’s emotional state, go to https://www.heartmath.org/resources/videos/social-coherence/.
Hawaiian Ocean image courtesy of Tim Malone
[ii] http://www.deanradin.com/papers/RNG%20Mason.pdf Mason, L., Patterson, R. and Radin, D. (2007). Exploratory Study: The Random Number Generator and Group Meditation. Journal of Scientific Exploration. Vol. 21, No. 2. pp. 295-317.