Coherence and resonance are two related terms that sometimes are confused. Coherence refers to the degree of unity within a particular system, like a car or a human body. How much wholeness is present?

Resonance is the degree that one system vibrates with another. Do they cooperate or fight? Both are terms that are helpful in describing whether things are coming together or splitting apart.

Any living creature can be said to be coherent just because it is alive. It has wholeness, existence as itself. None have absolute coherence. They are more or less coherent moment-by-moment. When highly coherent there is less internal conflict and more efficiency. “Where the will adheres to one thing, the spirit collects its power.” (Chuang Tzu)

There are as many ways to enhance coherence as there are ways of being, but we are mostly unaware of such subtle changes. I have often mentioned my favorite–pointing and reaching with the index finger–and won’t discuss that here. (check earlier posts, Western Gate, and YouTube videos for more info).


by Da Vinci

Resonance describes how two or more systems are vibrating together to be part of a greater whole. In music, tempo and rhythm establish the pulse that unites the various musicians into a coherent whole. The timing of a car engine brings the disparate elements together to allow the motor to purr smoothly. If the timing is off even a little the whole car will vibrate destructively–poor resonance.

In taijiquan, how well we “meet” another determines our resonance. Enhanced coherence improves our ability to meet with our whole being. The most essential meeting is in central equilibrium. Here we establish our relationship with earth and sky. (Central equilibrium has also been covered in other posts and videos.)

Enhanced coherence by itself will increase resonance, more noticeably with the earth. We see it in the spontaneous generation of rooting–energetic connection with the earth. Just by being more coherent the earth finds us more attractive, more rooted. If we then bring our awareness to meeting the earth and sky as partners, we resonate even more with the Big Ch’i.

When we meet others with love and respect, it produces a state of heightened resonance in both of us. It is empowering. The separateness that is the product of the discerning mind dissolves as we encounter Spirit in the most mundane.