A Brief Look at Coherence
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The primary purpose of this page is to offer a brief introduction to the concept of coherence, with a brief mention of the ICI scale as well.

Coherence Defined
The term coherence, as used on this website, is used to denote coherence of consciousness, and particularly a subset of that known as heart coherence, and, by extension, coherence within an entire living organism, such as a human being (and yes, some of us suspect that coherence is contagious among organisms via subtle means, more on that later.)  Coherence implies order, structure, harmony and alignment within systems and among systems (across systems or subsystems), and thus is, in this sense, anti-entropic; the latter phenomenon (e.g., increasing order) has also been given the useful label "syntropic" by some researchers.  In the usage employed herein, coherence also implies the possibility of embedding great amounts of information or intelligence in coherent activities, events, signals or waveforms; this will be discussed in greater depth later.

However, perhaps the best definition and explanation of coherence I have ever seen is to be found within a monograph from HeartMath Institute (2003) authored by Rollin McCraty, PhD, which is entitled Physiological Coherence.  I reproduce below the following quote from the monograph:

"It (coherence) is the harmonious flow of information, cooperation, and order among the subsystems of a larger system that allows for the emergence of more complex functions. This higher-order cooperation among the physical subsystems such as the heart, brain, glands, and organs as well as between the cognitive, emotional, and physical systems is an important aspect of what we call coherence. It is the rhythm of the heart that sets the beat for the entire system. The heart's rhythmic beat influences brain processes that control the autonomic nervous system, cognitive function, and emotions, thus leading us to propose that it is the primary conductor in the system. By changing the rhythm of the heart, system-wide dynamics can be quickly and dramatically changed.

We use the term "coherence" in a broad context to describe more ordered mental and emotional processes as well as more ordered and harmonious interactions among various physiological systems. In this context, "coherence" embraces many other terms that are used to describe specific functional modes, such as synchronization, entrainment, and resonance.

Physiological coherence is thus a specific and measurable mode of physiological functioning that encompasses a number of distinct but related phenomena. Correlates of the physiological coherence mode, which will be considered in further detail in this monograph, include: increased synchronization between the two branches of the ANS, a shift in autonomic balance toward increased parasympathetic activity, increased heart-brain synchronization, increased vascular resonance, and entrainment between diverse physiological oscillatory systems. The coherent mode is reflected by a smooth, sine wave-like pattern in the heart rhythms (heart rhythm coherence) and a narrow-band, high-amplitude peak in the low frequency range of the HRV power spectrum, at a frequency of about 0.1 hertz."

Frankly, the above-quoted description from the HeartMath monograph is by far the best which I have ever encountered, and I will be relying upon it heavily as we explore this realm.  So, the type of coherence which we are discussing implies increased synchronization and entrainment within systems and among and across systems and sub-systems, and, in an organism such as a human being, when such coherence is present, there will often be various signatures present in measurable rhythms of various oscillators or oscillatory functions within the organism, such as the heart rhythm coherence mentioned above in Dr. McCraty's monograph.

Before moving on, let me remind you that the scientists and researchers at HeartMath Institute have done much to define heart coherence, and at times consciousness coherence, particularly in terms of quantitative measures such as coherence or entrainment of heart rate variability (HRV), the presence of which can often be measured, recorded and displayed on instrumentation. They have also done much to describe the positive effects of coherence on everything from learning and education to health to interpersonal relationships and mental and emotional health.  For more information on coherence and/or to access various papers, monographs and research articles on this topic, please go to the HeartMath Institute research site, at http://www.heartmath.org

More On Coherence
Although this veers somewhat into the realms of mysticism or metaphysics, I further define coherence as the presence of the qualities of peace, grace and ease. Other descriptors which would equally well apply would be acceptance, appreciation (versus disapproval or derision), allowing (versus resistance), or, to employ some concepts similar to that often found in Buddhism, "pure pervasive kindness toward everything" or "friendliness toward everything and everyone", which engenders harmony and synchrony.

I wrote on the main page for the Incoherent Chaos Index (ICI) measure (no longer updated and offline) the following about what I call incoherent chaos (IC) and its opposite, coherence:

"If a very large number of people are very agitated about something, and particularly exhibiting a lot of fear and hostility, then my sense is that they can raise the score, and likewise, and very profoundly, my sense is that even a very tiny number of people, and some rare times as little as one person, if they are able to deeply access what I will call "peace" and "grace" and "love", can markedly "quiet" the score, lowering it quite significantly toward coherence and away from incoherent chaos."
Shortly after I posted that to the web page, a friend (Debra) sent me an e-mail with some very relevant comments:
This reminds me of the story of the Chinese rain-maker that Carl Jung told repeatedly, and which he felt critical for the West to
understand.  It was told to him by Richard Wilhelm, the German sinologist and translator of the I Ching who lived in China for many years.
"There was a great drought where Wilhem lived [Kiao-chau]; for months there had not been a drop of rain and the situation became catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned joss-sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result.

Finally the Chinese said, 'We will fetch the rain-maker.'  And from another province a dried-up old man appeared.  The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days. On the fourth day the clouds gathered and there was a great snow-storm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumours about the wonderful rain-maker that Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it.

In true European fashion he said: 'They call you the rain-maker, will you tell me how you made the snow?'

And the little Chinese man said: 'I did not make the snow, I am not responsible.'

'But what have you done these three days?'

'Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order, they are not as they should be by the ordinance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I also am not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country. So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao and then naturally the rain came.'"

Well, my response to Debra's letter was strong agreement that Wilhem and Jung had captured the essence of what I am trying to describe.  My sense too is that at the times when I have yielded or allowed true "magic" in my outer world, all I had really done was to sit down and simply bring more order to my INNER environment -- any effects in the outer world were totally accidental and incidental.  In fact, I told a story on my healing site about such a very near-magical or magical shift which happened to me once while attending a workshop in Florida.  If you wish to read the story, it is on the "What Exactly is This Work That Vinny Does?" page at my healing site, at www.divine-heart.org/what-Vinny-does.html  under the section "What clairvoyants have observed". All I did, as recounted in that story, was to go inside and "get in order". I have reproduced that story below:
"In November 1998, my inner work was accidentally and inadvertently witnessed by Frances Fox, an internationally-known intuitive and clairvoyant, while Frances was teaching a 2-day seminar on intuitive access for students with backgrounds in the healing and intuitive worlds.  I was present in the two-day seminar as a student, and at one point during the second day, I was not really following the exercise at hand, as I was feeling the ill effects of an oncoming flu, and also due to some very unbalanced and annoying energies which I had sensed in the room. Moreover, I had noticed that I was holding a very judgemental attitude toward some of the other participants (feeling that some were very "New Agey" and spacey) in the workshop, which seemed to be partly due to the fact that I felt physically ill, and also in reaction to the fact that the classroom had felt overly full all weekend of a very spacey and ungrounded mental energy (I have noticed such things before at intuitive workshops -- some participants seem to get out of touch with their bodies and hearts, and rather go into very "mental" worlds.)

Therefore, I decided to address my own inner discomfort (and my sense of judgement toward some classmates) with love. I closed my eyes, withdrew my attention from the classroom activities, and went to my heart center to allow myself to fully accept and allow the flu-like feelings and my feelings of discomfort. As for my mind's recent creations of crankiness, irritability, separation and judgement (from/toward some other participants), I chose to bathe those feelings in love and acceptance, too, while allowing love and coherence to bathe me and my immediate environment. At no time was there any attempt to fix anything. The whole process took only a few minutes, and I almost immediately began to feel much better. I then chose to bask in the heart energies and sense of connectedness with Holy Spirit for a while.

At about this time, the senior instructor, Frances Fox (the aforementioned well-known intuitive/clairvoyant), must have noticed me on some energetic or intuitive level. She later told the entire class that she had clairvoyantly witnessed me withdrawing from the inner exercise in progress in the class, and rather, had seen my inner energies shift radically. She said that in a matter of minutes my heart center had expanded to the size of several city blocks, filled with a rosy greenish-pink light, and that she then witnessed bands of "love", green, pink and golden in color, emerging from my heart center and all my other chakras and travel simultaneously to everyone in the room as well as other people in the building. Further, she disclosed that she had been aware all weekend of a rather severe energy imbalance in the room, which apparently happened at times during her weekend intuitive seminars (this must have been the irritating "spacey" feeling I had been sensing in the room.)  She revealed that she and her guides had repeatedly tried various means they knew to dissolve or shift this energy imbalance, to absolutely no avail. She related that she had watched on an energy level as I shifted into my inner state in the middle of the classroom and connected with divine heart, and she described that as the heart field expanded, the energy imbalance in the room immediately shifted, dissolved, and was replaced by perfectly balanced "energies", "feelings" and "geometric patterns".

Frances felt that I had "accomplished" this external phenomenon intentionally, and was astounded when I informed her that I had never had any intention of affecting, fixing, or changing anyone or anything outside of myself. Rather, my only intention had been to bring some love and care to my own inner myriad aches and pains, as well as to my recently-noticed sense of judgement and criticism (e.g., lack of love.)

A similar observation of the coherent field from my work has since been described to me by yet a second clairvoyant, this one a total stranger to me at the time, who witnessed it in a vastly different situation and setting. Indeed, she approached me in a crowded bar to tell me what she had witnessed about me on a clairvoyant level only moments earlier when I had been sending love to those nearby me."

A Quick Note on Heart and Mind
HeartMath researchers and top cardiologists and neurophysiologists have been uncovering more and more evidence of the links between heart and mind, and of the heart's primacy in facilitating entrainment and coherence of the entire heart/brain system. This brings to mind something which Jean Klein, a well-known spiritual teacher (also a physician and musician) once said. Someone had mentioned to him that in the Thai language the word for mind and heart in Thai language were the same. Klein replied: "That is because the mind dissolves in the heart."

Disappearance of Randomness and Appearance of Coherence in Random Number Generators (RNGs)
Measures of deviations from true randomness in random number generators (RNGs) due to emergence of some type of coherence are the basis for the score derived from the network of EGG sensors/transducers located around the world as part of the Global Consciousness Project (GCP), mentioned on the main ICI page.

While visiting the research labs at HeartMath Institute some years ago, I heard a fascinating story from their chief scientist, Dr. Rollin McCraty.  He and his staff had been aware of the GCP for a while, and it apparently occurred to them at some point that they might like to host an EGG sensor at their remote conference and research center in the mountains of North Central California. However, their tests with several random number generators (RNGs) similar to those used in the GCP EGG sensors showed that the output of the RNGs was very ordered, and far from random, apparently due to local coherence field generated by local staffers who were often in coherent states, and thus they were unable -- at least at the time -- to host an EGG sensor at their facility.

Heart Coherence and emWave Desktop Hints, Plus Factors Which Seem Related to High HRV Variance and High Coherence
From my personal experience and my work with consulting and coaching clients, I have come up with a few quick hints on how to increase access to heart space, to increase amount and depth of heart coherence, or to increase coherence score on the emWave Desktop (previously known as emWave PC or the Freeze Framer). (The emWave is also available in a compact portable version called emWave PSR [Personal Stress Reliever] which doesn't have as many features as the emWave Desktop.) Further, I offer a look at some of the factors which seem to be related to both good variance, aka "high variance", in HRV (approximately, this is the height of the HRV trace in the emWave Destop top screen) and also to the ability to enter states of high coherence. For more on all these topics, please see the on-site page on emWave Desktop (previously known as emWave PC or the Freeze Framer) Hints and HRV Factors. 

A Brief Look at the emWave PC and Heart Tuner and some Claims Made By Related Parties
Due to my repeated mentions of heart coherence, HeartMath and the emWave Desktop (previously known as emWave PC or the Freeze Framer) feedback device on this website, I have been often asked by people about the differences between the HeartMath emWave Desktop and the Heart Tuner from Dan Winter, and for my reaction to some stories and claims which have been spread by Dan Winter about HeartMath and their device. For my response on this matter, please see my on-site page devoted to this topic.

A Brief Note on Coherence and SAM (Syntropic Antioxidative Microbes)
Now, wait a minute... How can there be a connection between the synergistic antioxidative microbes (SAM), which exhibits powerful  regenerative and antioxidant properties, and coherence? 

Well, let's pause here for a moment and look more closely.... Coherence might, at first glance, seem to be more the province of physics, metaphysics and mysticism than of the syntropic antioxidative microbes (SAM) world, which is largely about anaerobic fermentation using beneficial microbes.  Not so.  Dr. Higa (the original developer of SAM) and those close to him have repeatedly stated that SAM is very regenerative and anti-entropic (aka syntropic) in its effects both for in-contact effects and especially distance effects (field effect), and that the phototrophic purple non-sulfur bacteria (PNSB) in SAM are particularly powerful in this regard.  My intuition and my experience and lab work so far tell me that Dr. Higa is entirely correct, and this is one reason why I was drawn to SAM in 2002.  BTW, the way in which the SAM ceramics work to render electromagnetic radiation or fields less harmful (such as when mounted on a cell phone, or near an electrical appliance...) is via a coherence field effect. So, the way in which SAM and SAM products such as SAM ceramics exert their remote effects (as well as some local direct-contact effects) is via a "field of coherence", aka a "field of syntropy" or "field of anti-entropy".  Thus, the intersection of SAM and coherence (syntropy) and coherence.  Yes, one of the fields of discussion on the Coherence e-mail list group (below) will be SAM and its coherence effects. For more information on the synergistic antioxidative microbial (SAM) culture, please see http://sam.vmicrobial.info/

A Brief Note on Coherence and Prills-type Products
There is also some evidence that some of the remote or distant effects attributed to Prills and ceramic stone type products ("Cupcakes", etc.) from Starbabies, GLN and Jim Carter (aka Twilight) are also due to syntropic or anti-entropic field effects, aka coherence field. More on this later....

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