The Brain is an Electrical Generator
The brain is an electrical generator, endlessly producing and emitting streams of energy. And no mere random, chaotic emanations of energy are these. Rather, they are more akin to the organized flow of water on the surface of the ocean. Scientists actually refer to these movements as waves, and measure their motion and patterns on a device called an EEG (electroencephalogram).
Like all waves, the ones produced by the brain ebb and flow. Electrical bursts “fire” and then cease “firing”, essentially blinking on and off. The amount of times a burst of brain electricity and its subsequent cessation, turn on and off in every second is called a “cycle” and measured as “cycles-per-second” (CPS). The number of cycles-per-second is referred to as the “frequency”. One that fires and stops firing, or cycles once a second, is said to have a frequency of one. If flow and ebb occurs twice a second the frequency would be 2, three flows and ebbs, or “cycles-per-second” would have a frequency of 3, and so on.
The energy emitted by the brain ebbs and flows at various frequencies throughout the day and ranges from a slumberous 1 CPS to a frenzied 100 CPS. Researchers divide this range into five categories, each associated with its own characteristic subjective qualities.
The fastest brain waves are called Gamma waves. These bursts of energy are occurring at an intense rate of up to 100 times a second. No one knows for sure what gamma waves are related to, although speculation centers on information processing functions including attention, cognition, and memory. Some researchers believe gamma waves may be involved in unifying all the different parts of our perceived reality. At the other end of the spectrum are the so-called Delta waves which ebb and flow at much more leisurely 3 or 4 cycles per second and can even drop down to 1 cycle per second. No surprise then that Delta waves are generated mostly in deep sleep. Between these extremes are the three most accessible frequencies Beta waves (12-16 CPS), Alpha waves (8-12 CPS), and Theta waves (4-8 CPS).
Beta waves represent the energy associated with concentration and problem solving. The brain will go into a predominant beta state when it is addressing survival requirements. Focusing intently on the sounds, sights and other aspects of your experience activates beta energy. But there’s also a dark side to beta. Freak outs, anger, hostility, and fear are all triggered by, AND in turn trigger further, beta brain wave energy.
The next two brain wave frequencies are by far the most interesting. These two brain wave states are associated with the subjective experiences associated with healing, and also love, relaxation, ecstasy and bliss. These are our “chill-out” brain waves and understanding how to activate these energies can be a very important strategy for mitigating excessive beta (and gamma) energies which can burn out the physical body if not effectively balanced.
Alpha waves are associated with relaxation. We are more open to suggestion in this state. Hypnotists love the alpha! So do advertisers and marketers (Hmmm…). In the alpha state we are so relaxed we basically don’t care to filter our experiences intently as when we are in beta state. This makes us suggestible. Television video has an ability to induce alpha waves. In fact that’s why we like TV so much. Human beings love the alpha state.
In addition to suggestibility, the alpha state is associated with learning. A scientist names Jose Silva discovered that if people could access the alpha state at will they could learn much more effectively. He created a study series called “The Silva Method” which you can purchase off the internet.
Learning to activate alpha on your own is easy. You can do it by simply by focusing on an alpha rhythm (8-12 cycles per second) using a metronome, or you can just pace your breathing. Listening closely to any of the body’s rhythms or focusing on a body part works too. In fact, focusing internally can instantly initiate alpha firing. Visualization can do it too. Looking at objects with the peripheral vision may also have an alpha induction effect.
The most intriguing brain energy is emitted in the theta state. It tends to follow the alpha state, and you’ll know your brain is firing theta frequencies when you’re experiencing the bizarre and confusing imagery that shows up as you’re falling asleep and into that midway point between waking and dreaming. This condition is technically is called “hypnogogia” and it can also occur when we awaken slowly out of the dream state. In theta, brain effects like relaxation and creativity are enhanced, and there is generally no awareness of the physical body, although there may be a sensing of it as an energy “field”. Self-healing is maximized in this state, and like alpha, it’s also an ideal brain state for self-programming and self-hypnosis. Like alpha, theta brain waves and the related state can be achieved via various means.
There is an important relationship between the breath and brain states. Not all the various brain states are linked to breathing patterns, but by using breath, and controlling its rate (breaths per minute), various states can be initiated and accessed. Psychedelic drugs like LSD, mescaline and psilocybin are well known inducers of theta. The nutritional supplement GABA which is used to treat insomnia may help access the theta state. Some research indicates that nicotine may have a theta induction effect. There are also audio CDs available that can stimulate the brain to produce theta pulsations via a turning-fork (resonance) effect and induce the corresponding characteristic theta hypnogogic state.