My eighth-grade English teacher, Mr. Quinn, was the first person who told me I could write. That was some 55 years ago, and my life might have been quite different if not for him.
I tell people I’m a “word guy,” which may not be the best way for a Buddhist to be, but I feel it has helped me a lot throughout my life. What drew me into my 10-year career in journalism was the frantic newsroom struggle to translate what was going on in the world into words on paper that were as clear and accurate as possible under intense deadline pressure. (Yes, it was all on paper then.)
Next came almost 35 years in corporate public relations. I wouldn’t object if you called me a corporate “spin doctor,” but I saw my role as similar to that of a criminal attorney for an unpopular client. My job was to make the best case I could, again without sacrificing truthfulness and clarity. I also did some ghost-writing of books for business and management gurus, trying my best to present their ideas clearly and accurately.
For the last 10 years, as I’ve run a business in which communication helps but is not the central focus, I’ve also written and delivered scores of sermons in Unitarian Universalist churches, and written and performed true-life stories with the troupe Better Said Than Done.
Being a word guy with a passion for accuracy teaches one a lot. While I’m an expert in nothing but words, I strive for a working knowledge of many fields. And that brings me to the word that I’ve decided sums up my theology: resonance. Or maybe I should spell that with an initial cap: Resonance.
It deserves the initial cap because it is my idea of God, or Nirvana, or Heaven, or the Pure Land, or Brahman. If I could walk around in Resonance all the time, I guess that would make me a fully enlightened Buddha. But I do feel that I experience Resonance for fleeting moments, as we all can.
Some find Resonance in prayer. When I experience Resonance, it’s usually in meditation, in music, and in words that resonate with other beings. It’s also there to be reached via nature, art, compassionate acts, and who knows where else. Leave a comment below if you’d like to add to my list.
But I haven’t defined Resonance. My blogging friend K.L. Allendoerfor is a musician and scientist as well as a blogger whose words resonate with me. Maybe she could improve on my definition. I’ll settle for the third one in my Merriam-Webster: “a sound or vibration produced in one object that is caused by the sound or vibration produced in another.”
It my mind, though, it’s more than a sound or vibration. It’s a something-ness we don’t yet understand. It may simply be the quality of being fully right here now in the present moment that awakens our Resonance. It may be the sense that overwhelms us when we look up at the sky on a clear dark night or hear a particular musical passage.
There’s a theme that Tchaikovsky introduces after about the first minute of the third movement of his First Piano Concerto. It disappears and then returns in variations. That’s one of the places where I experience Resonance. Where do you find yours?
Copyright 2015 © Mel Harkrader Pine