Mirror Neurons and Energy

I think every single person I have been around has a distinct essence about them. By essence I mean something similar to a flavor. By that I mean it feels like something to be around them. Something that it doesn't feel like to be around others.

For some people the feeling is light and calming. Others it is heavy, confused, dark. Some it is a sense of clarity, or just a lightheartedness that is comfortable. A person may feel like warmth, others it is like coldness. Or many other things in a variety of combinations.

The feeling that is felt from each person may change from moment to moment as their moods and behavior changes, but there also seems to be an underlying feeling that remains the same. I have yet to meet two people whose presence feels exactly the same. Though, not surprisingly, siblings often give off similar feelings. Similar but still distinct.

One explanation for this could be Mirror Neurons. Mirror Neurons are neurons in our brain that fire when we observe an action. For example, if I pick up a pencil, certain neurons will be observed to fire, however if I were to watch someone pick up a pencil, what appears to be the same area of neurons also fire. This can give us a biological explanation for empathy. When we see someone suffer, we can actually feel the suffering because of our mirror neurons. (this phenomenon was first discovered in monkeys). It makes sense that when we are around someone who is tense or twitchy, our mirror neurons for being tense and twitchy also fire, evoking in us the correlating emotions. But it is even more interesting than this. When we communicate with someone, our mirror neurons try to synch up our bodies. Our heart rates and breathing rates etc will synch with each other. The more we become in synch, the more we feel we are 'connecting' with the other. This could explain why each person creates a certain feeling. They have very distinct, unique movements that may be subtle, but our minds are picking up on behind the scenes via our mirror neurons and creating for us the feeling of that other person.

But I think this is not a full explanation. I think there is also a real energy that people emit. I do not mean this in any supernatural way. Normal, non-new age scientific studies show that the electrical patterns a person emits change with their mood. I don't think this should be surprising or mystical. Many animals, often fish, but even the duck billed platypus have a sense that electroreception. They can sense the electricity being emitted from an object and use that to help with locating. To me this seems very comparable to and as useful as hearing or seeing. While we clearly do not have a electrical sense that is highly evolved, it would make sense if we had one, at least to a subtle degree as it is a part of our genetic heritage. Since a person's electrical energy varies depending on their mood, it would make sense that what is felt by ones electroreception would also vary depending on the mood of the creature doing the electricity sending.

I remember once a few years ago being with a group of friends. We had been together for most of the day, and while we weren't fighting, the mood felt heavy, negative and tense. Our jokes had a negative edge, taking from each other emotionally rather than giving. Later in the day we had returned to one of our living rooms and another friend joined us from upstairs. The moment his presence came into ours I felt the heaviness lift into lightness. As if the positive energy he had with him at that moment instantly over powered the negativity within us. What was particularly interesting about this to me at the time, was that the change occurred before he had made his way into the room and before we realized he was coming. The positive energy was felt separate from seeing or hearing him, so unlikely a mere byproduct of our mirror neurons mirroring his positive body movements. That was one of the first times I was consciously aware of such a thing, but have noticed it numerous times since, both positively and negatively.

Early this week I finished a book about neuroscientist who had stroke causing her to lose most functioning in her left hemisphere. This caused to lose her sense of self, time, language, etc.(after about 8 yrs she made a full recovery) By losing these abilities she had in many ways entered the Buddhist's description of Nirvana. What she described sounded as wonderful as one could imagine. The book almost read like a near death experience, of one going to heaven and back. One interesting thing she mentioned, is that while within her new perception of reality entirely dominated by her right hemisphere, she became extremely sensitive to the energies of others. Almost overwhelmingly so. Yet she had also lost her ability to see with any clarity, could only make out rough outlines, making it unlikely that she was merely extra sensitive to her visual impressions of others emotions.

I think this could explain some of the power of groups. I know some very powerful spiritual and emotion experiences I have had have occurred within groups. Perhaps this happens because as each individual is becoming in synch with the speaker, they then enhance that feeling, projecting it around them.

Which reminds me of a quote I like by Ram Das, (though I have heard numerous variations of from various sources): 'When you meet a being who is centered you always know it. You feel a kind of calm emanating. It touches you in that place where you feel calm'

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