Talking about energy is challenging, because we just don’t have the language to convey every nuanced or numinous experience. I don’t doubt that we’ve all had trouble expressing the profound sensation of being deep in meditation or the transmission of energy from a new and miraculous (and probably expensive) crystal. However, there is a mistaken habit of labelling certain energies, places, crystals, etc. as high vibration or high frequency. What does it really mean when we say something has a high vibration? To better understand this, we’ll need to have a better grasp of how we measure the waves of energy these terms describe.
First, let’s talk about vibration. When systems (like the strings of a violin, or the particles in a crystal) vibrate, they produce waves. The universe all around us is made of waves and particles. Since all particles, at the most fundamental level, are in motion, they produce more waves, in turn. Interestingly, the fundamental units of energy in our universe, such as photons—packets of light energy, can exist as both particles, which have mass, or waves, which have momentum. In other words, everything is energy.
Waves of energy, whether they are sound or light or consciousness, can be measured in several different ways. These waves are S-shaped patterns called sine waves. Waves are usually defined by their frequency, amplitude, wavelength, period, and speed. A period refers to one complete S-shaped cycle of a wave. Frequency is the number of times this period repeats within a given unit, which is usually measured in time (seconds). Amplitude, on the other hand, measures the height of a wave (the distance from the center of the wave). The wavelength is the distance between to equal points of a wave, such as two crests or troughs.
To reiterate the question above, what does it mean when something has a high vibration? When we call something “high vibration” or “high frequency” we are saying that the S-shaped curve of the wave repeats many times in the unit with which we measure it (which is usually Hertz, or cycles per second). This also means that it has a short wavelength. If we compare this terminology to color, shorter wavelengths (and therefore higher frequencies) comprise the upper part of the spectrum, such as blue and violet, while low-frequency, long-wavelength energies give us colours such as red and orange. Not a single one of these wavelengths is more therapeutic or spiritual than another; they simply exist as part of the spectrum of visible light.
So how does this relate to consciousness? When we raise our vibration or our frequency, we are raising our consciousness, right? The answer might surprise you.
Let’s look at our brainwaves to see what happens when we shift our consciousness. Brain waves are measured in cycles per second (hertz). Waking consciousness exhibits what we call beta brain waves; these beta waves have a frequency of 13-16 cycles per second. When we raise our consciousness to the alpha state, which is more relaxed and aware, the brain waves have a frequency of 8-13 cycles per second. Theta brain waves are achieved in a deeper meditative state; they exhibit 4-9 cycles per second. Delta is the state of deep sleep and trance, and it has a frequency of 4 or fewer cycles per second.
Spiritual experience occurs at levels below the beta state, such as alpha, theta, and delta. Thus, when we raise our consciousness, we lowering our frequency or vibration. Let that sink in for a minute… Even though it seems counterintuitive based on what we hear and read in the body-mind-spirit field, the lower the vibration of your brain waves (meaning lower frequency and longer wavelengths) the more intuitive, perceptive, relaxed, and meditative you will be. In these states we experience visions, personal gnosis, healing, and spiritual transformation.
So why do we chase crystals that have “high vibrations” if lowering our frequency is necessary for authentic spiritual growth and healing? On one hand, I think this comes from a mere misunderstanding of the physics behind consciousness and energy, coupled with the idea that “more is better.” In this particular instance we say “high vibration” when we might mean “high energy,” “high amplitude,” or simply “high consciousness.” We could easily substitute these other terms and be more correct.
On the other hand, I think part of why this expression is so prevalent is because many people in the body-mind-spirit field are seeking a reprieve from their ordinary lives. We could just as easily achieve this through hard work and dedication, such as via meditation, yoga, tai chi, spending time in nature, breathwork, etc. However, crystal books and workshops and stores have sold us on the idea that high-frequency stones are what we need. We are trained to constantly seek the next energetic high, but these accelerated energies and instantaneous shifts in consciousness do not produce long-lasting results.
This begs the question as to what we can do to achieve more permanent results. Grounding stones are the answer. Yes, those dense and earthy-feeling crystals that we are supposed to use to help us feel more in-body and attuned to the Earth plane. Why? Very simply put, they have longer wavelengths and lower frequencies, just like our planet does. The base resonant frequency of the Earth is much slower than that of our brains and bodies. Therefore, if we attune to the planet—or the stones that anchor us to it—we can make some significant strides in our personal growth and healing.
This doesn’t mean that our high-vibe stones have no place in our toolkits. Rather, it means that they are part of a healthy and balanced approach to crystal healing. High-frequency crystals like rhodizite, moldavite, herderite, and phenakite can be powerful allies that shake us loose from old patterns. However, if we are not grounding thoroughly throughout and after the process of working with these stones, we aren’t able to integrate the changes that they offer. If we are spending more time trying to get out-of-body with these high-energy stones, what does it really say about our goals? We are here on this planet to participate in the collective healing and growth that is needed for humanity (and the rest of the citizens of planet Earth) to take our next step in spiritual evolution. That means that we have to be present to effect these changes.
The next time you find yourself coveting a high-vibration crystal, consider turning to a grounding stone in addition to or instead of the mystical high-vibe crystals. Try working with Preseli bluestone, shungite, black tourmaline, hematite, garnet, smoky quartz, pyrite, cuprite, limonite, rhodonite, petrified wood, jasper, or agate as part of your grounding practice. Minerals rich in metals like iron, manganese, and lead can offer powerful lessons in grounding. Similarly, the structure of cubic minerals offers profoundly grounding and stabilizing effects to our energy fields. Remember that these tools will help to deepen your connection to the planet, thereby lowering your frequency and raising your consciousness.