Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Little Bit About Quantum Physics and Meditation

"The essential point in science is not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation.
Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty that springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!"


Yes, hello everyone. In this post I would like to get in to some of the heavier stuff. I'd like to get in to some of the implications of the more recent findings in physics, particularly quantum physics. For those of us who prefer to have a somewhat more mystical world view than our straight up materialism, quantum physics tends to agree with us. Now quantum physics deals with mainly really small things and things that scientists think may exist or do exist at any given time as a probability (sound like a fantastical tale?), so it's a bit different to the sort of physics that says "If I throw this ball the force of my arm will propel it in to the air until another force (gravity) brings it back down, look here's a graph". Fortunately (in my opinion) reality itself is actually a bit more like the quantum stuff than may be first apparent.

If I can cut to the chase and get right in to the findings of quantum experiments it appears to be the case that information about all of reality (the past and the future included) apparently exists in some ambient state all around the universe. Furthermore, this information pops in and out of reality and you can never be really sure where, or if, it is. This information can in fact be a quite large amount of information. In a similar way that in holograms the entire image is contained in any part of the hologram, information (now remember I'm talking about physics experiments here) on pretty much everything seems to be conserved and passed on in mysterious, but scientifically verifiable ways.

In our normal state of consciousness, perception of this level of reality doesn't really happen to a very large degree. Let's face it would probably be quite confusing while we were driving down the freeway if things were popping in and out of existence and not behaving the normal rules of time. Although, at times this might be seen as merciful... However I would like to invite you to alter your state of consciousness to experience a taste of what sorts of information might start popping in to your head, lets say, without you reading it on the internet first. If you had a casual conversation with say a Tibetan Monk, they might tell you that when you completely still your mind you will start to perceive reality, I suspect that the reality quantum science is starting to discover might be the same one.

The science that was meant to enlighten us as to all that is true and dispel all falsehoods and superstitions may actually be on it's way to doing so..

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Way to Stop Wobbling

Having outlined a fairly broad range of topics I'd like to start with a contrast between the worlds of western psychologists and mediators, monks and the like from the east. Alan Watts amongst an absolute amazing amount of other things has brought us a nice analogy to illustrate this point which I would like to elaborate on. A Centerpede with its numerous legs and sections does not 'think' about moving each leg in turn, to do sure would surely cripple the Centrepede as it would make movement require a torturous amount of mental exertion.

Similarly a person with numerous thoughts, should not think about, thinking about, thinking and so on. To do so would be to 'wobble'. This analogy is given to show how to keep a serene mind, one must not think about thinking, but must merely think and observe those thoughts. Moreover, one must come to the realisation that there is no thinker, the thoughts just happen as spontaneously as the Centrepede's movement. Better still one must learn to let go and not grasp to things, in this case one's thoughts, either as they happen or generally about one's self.

For persons suffering mental discomfort such as anxiety or depression, understanding this concept provides relief and a means for recovery. Unfortunately, what is truly meant by this is not immediately apparent and worse, even harder to employ when suffering such mental discomfort. This is where meditation comes in and literally takes care of the rest.

Now these claims I am making have the rare distinction in all psychology, eastern or western of actually being proven. Studies have been conducted scanning the brains of bhuddist monks and they really are happier than other people.
In our society a very effective way of obtaining similar benefits to this meditation practice, or just even temporary relief from these mental discomforts without drugs and their side effects is through brainwave entrainment technologies. Much has been written about these and there are different companies’ offering these so I don't need to go in to these now.

We have a way to offer relief to these people, so why don't our psychologists embrace these things and use them to help our many, many fellow citizens on prescriptions to anxiolytics, antidepressants, antipsychotics and the like? The first response is always lack of controlled trials (like the one showing monks are happy) and literature published in the 'right' sort of journals. Having said that, all these perfectly acceptable drugs and journals admit themselves that they are not effective in all cases (or even most cases) and have in some cases horrible side effects.

There are also no controlled trials on whether people treated by those who read these journals, get better than others who don't, in this sense actually less controlled trials than those for the controversial brainwave entrainment technology. There can't be as it's unethical to withhold treatment from those who need it for more than a prescribed amount of time such as a short study.

They also very infrequently deal with the qualitative side of their patients discomfort i.e. their fathers suicide, their rapist, abusive relationship or ex or whatever. So we really choose to go for the thing we now for 'certain' is not always effective, even in providing mere temporary relief over something that many, many people say makes them feel better and they can do themselves, without ongoing fees.

This raises in my mind a serious question, just why is it all results supposedly proven by tests of significance are so significant, even after repeatedly being proven wrong, and all information given to us by the sufferes themselves, about how they feel and what works for them, so insignifanct? Think about it, we have peple who suffer from anxiety disorders and prescribed medication doing something that makes them relaxed, they feel better to the point they need to to say it, they would desrcibe it as being a significant improvement and we respond "Erm, well just don't tell anyone and keep taking those tablets!". Now psychologists will say, hang on we don't prescribe drugs we do therapy, we listen. Yes, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which means thinking about your thinking and thinking about what that means and how to stop it. Then conditioning yourself, like a dog to salivate to a bell, to somehow Stop! When you are 'wobbling' believe me this is not what you want someone to tell you. You need a way to let go, you know so it doesn't upset you nay more. So CBT is based on this we are ‘certain’ about (I realise that some more explanation may be required here, please check CBT and Pavlov, or classical conditioning on Wikipedia). It's true that you can condition a response, we've seen 'A Clockwork Orange', but this is not the way to a serene mind.

It is a procedure that raises a second important distinction between the two schools of thought. The eastern which seeks to remove the ego and the western which seeks to support the ego. In the eastern school, you, I and thoughts all just are. they are just the universe happening and no one deserves any special credit or has to suffer. In the western school 'I' tell 'you' what 'thoughts' 'you' should think so you will feel better (presumably) and then 'I' get 'money' and am 'correct' and help 'you' become 'correct'. My highly excessive use of the inverted commas is to help illustrate concepts taken for granted in our society that upon some further reflection remain highly dubious.

I always found the behaviour of some of the mature age students I studied with an interesting illustration of this (my apologies to mature age students). They always insisted on sitting in the front row, right in front of the 'correct' psychologists and upon any opportunity to answer a question or raise a comment they invariably repeated back (almost exactly) what the particular lecturer had just said. I wondered why at the time, but now I can see that this is precisely how the whole thing works. Through 'correctness', usually granted via tests of statistical significance we westerners presume can have the ego and none of the suffering that invariably goes with it. We can even become super 'correct' it's just a matter of repeating back enough 'correct' stuff and have a great ego which will no doubt bring us satisfaction and money and all we have to do is take all these sufferers and Stop! their suffering through conditioning, and then have a good argument with all the other 'correct' people about just what exactly 'correct' is and put up a defense to the more 'correct' discplines like physics. Unfortunately there is no real 'I' or 'me', these are just concepts we cling to. It is precisely through letting these go that real inner peace is achieved.

Some Free Articles

In order to quiclky fill out some background information on brainwave entrainment and meditation and to make the most of the web 2.0, I have scoured the free article resources already available on the internet then selected and published some of the best on this blog. Please enjoy and feel free to comment on any of the articles on this blog and ask any questions..

Surfing Brainwaves can get pretty heavy..

Latest Developments in Brainwave Entrainment

Author: Thomas Digges

Recently, professionals in the areas of psychology, neurology, medical health and self-help have begun utilizing the power of brainwave entrainment in their work with patients and clients. Advances in the effectiveness of brainwave entrainment have been significant.

What is brainwave entrainment?

It is a relatively young but rapidly growing field that involves the study of how altering brainwaves naturally can allow people to easily enter states of increased intelligence, creativity, relaxation, pure energy and more! Researchers and scientists have found that different bands of brainwaves are associated with different mental states. Scientific studies have shown that brainwaves not only provide insight into an individual's mind and body, but they can be stimulated to actually change that person's current state. By causing the brain to produce or decrease specific types of brainwave frequencies, it is possible to bring about a large variety of mental states and emotional reactions.

How does this work?

Here's the science behind this incredible breakthrough: The brain is made up of billions of brain cells called neurons, which communicate with each other using electrical signals. All of these neurons sending signals at once produce a large amount of electrical activity commonly called a Brainwave pattern, because of its "wave" or cyclic-like nature. "Entrainment" is a principle in physics, where two cycles synchronize naturally with each other in order to work more efficiently. Entrainment is applied to chemistry, astronomy, electrical systems and much more, but can also be applied to the brain.

When the brain is provided with a stimulus, through the ears, eyes or other senses, it emits an electrical charge in response. This is called a Cortical Evoked Response. These electrical responses travel throughout the brain to become what an individual sees and hears. When the brain is given a consistent, repeating stimulus, such as drum beats or flashes of light, the brain responds by synchronizing, or entraining, its electric cycles to the external rhythm. This is commonly called the Frequency Following Response (or FFR), and it can be used to effectively alter our brainwave patterns.

In the last 10 years, there have been great advancements in the field of brainwave entrainment as it relates to cognitive functioning. Studies have shown that the brains of many people are actually functioning at low capacity. By targeting the specific brainwave band that is related to states of intense concentration and strong focus, scientists have been able to help individuals improve their academic performance. Entrainment can also be used to induce states of relaxation and even deep states akin to deep meditation. This can have profound benefits for people who are seeking to perform certain types of work, art or even attain certain spiritual states.

Still Wondering Whether Brainwave Entrainment Really Works?

In 1999, the Journal of Neurotherapy published a case study conducted by Thomas Budzynski, Ph.D. In the study Dr. Budzynski used 8 college students who were struggling academically. After undergoing audio-visual brainwave stimulation, the students outperformed a control group and significantly increased their grade point average. The GPA for the 8 students continued to rise even after treatment was discontinued!

Drs. Siegfried and Susan Othmer found that neurofeedback brainwave training in the 15-18 Hz range can produce significant shifts in IQ score, particularly with people who are suffering from ADD/ADHD and other disorders. In cases where the starting IQ value is less than 100, the average IQ increase was 33 points! They also found significant improvements in memory, reading and arithmetic. In a one year follow-up, trainees showed major improvements in self-esteem, concentration and self-expression.

There Are Two Ways to Alter Brainwaves: Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones

(Ed. There are more than 2 ways now)

Binaural beats are the most recognized form of brainwave entrainment because it is the earliest. With binaural beats, a slightly different tone is presented into each ear. The tones then combine in the brain to form a pulse or "beat". The pulse heard by the listener is actually the difference between the two tones. For example, if the left ear is given a tone at 20 hertz and the right ear is given a tone of 30 hertz, then the listener will hear a beat of 10 hertz. And the brain will entrain to that rhythm.

While binaural beats are by far the most used form of brainwave entrainment, other more modern methods are quickly gaining popularity. The most promising of the new methods is Isochronic Tones. Isochronic tones are a somewhat less well known form of entrainment; however, they have proven to be much more effective. Isochronic entrainment uses a single tone that is manually spaced, turning on and off in a precise pattern. This actually enhances the effectiveness of audio entrainment.

Three More Reasons Why Isochronic Tones Are Better Than Binaural Beats:

1) Binaural beats require the use of headphones or special speaker assignments. Isochronic tones do not rely on speaker assignments, and therefore can be used without headphones or any special speaker assignments.
2) Binaural beats are incapable of entraining the brain's hemispheres individually (because they require both ears). Binaural beats are a disadvantage because many of the modern entrainment protocols used in clinical work currently requires the use of separate stimulation to each ear. This is useful for deep meditation, depression, ADD treatment and cognitive enhancement.
3) Studies have found that binaural beats are not as effective as isochronic tones due to the way brain processes the beats. Dr. Gerald Oster's, a pioneer in the field of brainwave technology, study of binaural beats concluded that the depth or intensity of the resulting "beat" is only around 3 decibels or 1/10th the volume of a whisper.

The difference between the peaks and troughs in the wave pattern determines the strength of the Cortical Evoked Response. Looking at the binaural beat pattern on a monitor, it is clear that the wave is shallow. The entrainment is harder to detect and leaves only a minor electrical imprint on the brain. Conversely, the isochronic tone pattern shows each pulse as individual and separated. This results in much greater evoked potentials within the auditory cortex of the brain.

Ultimately, the studies show that a new day has dawned. For those in persuit of any type of self development, brainwave entrainment can offer an excellent array of benefits.

About the Author:
Thomas S Digges is an author and life coach specializing in helping people break through their patterns and programs to live the life they really want. To learn more about Brainwave Entrainment visit: http://gfnproject.com/Introduces/OptiMINDzation

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/coaching-articles/latest-developments-in-brainwave-entrainment-69808.html

Insomnia and Brainwave Entrainment

Insomnia: A Drug-Free Audio Technique Relieves Sleep Disorders
Saturday, 27 October 2007 - Dexter Dickinson

Everyone has an occasional night of bad sleep. For most people, insomnia lasts only a few days and goes away without treatment. However, factors such as stress can cause a higher level of insomnia that may last for several weeks or longer. This kind of insomnia may not go away on its own, and can lead to both short- and long-term health problems if left untreated.

Insomnia is becoming an increasingly common complaint which currently affects more than a third of all adults.

"Until last year I would have done almost anything to solve my sleep problems. For most of my life I had been 'one of those persons' cursed with insomnia and troubled sleep." says Yan Muckle, an author of two books and numerous health-related feature magazine articles who developed the SleepTracks Sleep Optimization Program™. "I also learned about a proven technology that can work wonders with anyone's brain activity -- and, in this case, that can condition your brain for sound, optimal sleep."

Studies and tests done by sleep researchers have showed that the capacity to fall asleep, then enter and stay in a deep sleep is a skill. Muckle's SleepTracks audio program consists of tracks that are safely engineered to induce immediate AND long-term changes in brain activity. They're using an increasingly popular (but still little-known, even after 30 years) technology called "brainwave entrainment".

The Sleep Tracks are designed to influence the electrical activity going on in your brain in the form of brainwaves. It's meant to "entrain" them by the same process that's been used by humans for thousands of years to generate altered states and trances: by using rhythm.

"If you listen to a rhythmic sound for awhile -- it could be anything, a drum beating at 5 beats per second for example -- and concentrate on it, something will change inside of you." says Muckle. "After a couple minutes your brain will start to sync itself to the rhythm, and generate more brainwaves that will vibrate at the same rate per second as the sound you hear. Your brain will mimic the wave of the repeating sound."

Even though it's been around only since the 80's, today many doctors, professionals in the areas of psychology and neurology and institutional clinics rely on brainwave entrainment technology to train, empower and treat people for a wide variety of issues -- and it has proved particularly effective at combating insomnia and re-training the brain to sleep deeply and naturally.

The SleepTracks Sleep Optimization Program™ is a complete solution. It provides all you need to regain control over your sleep once and for all.

To learn more about the SleepTracks Sleep Optimization Program™ visit the web site http://easyinsomniacure.com

About the Author:
Dexter Dickinson researches and reports any latest breakthroughs and information relating to insomnia and other sleeping disorders.
Article Source:
Include this link when reprinting this article: http://www.freearticles.co.za/health/alternative-medicine/insomnia-drug-free-audio-technique-relieves-sleep-disorders.html

A Bit on Brainwaves and Meditation

Brainwave meditation has its roots in the seventies, when Transcendental Meditation (TM) was in vogue (remember the Beatles - Maharishi connection?). At that time many studies were performed in order to substantiate from a scientific perspective the amazing effects credited to meditation. The results were intriguing to say the least.

It was known back then that our brains generate electrical wave patterns known as brainwaves. The four distinct patterns (frequencies) are Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta. They're measured in Hertz (Hz = cycles per second). It was also known that:

* Beta brainwave (13-34 Hz) is the daily pattern for most of us. Anxiety and stress are most likely to occur in the high Beta range.

* Alpha brainwaves (8 to 12 Hz) occur when we are relaxed and calm. You are in Alpha brainwave when you daydream for example, but also when you are focused in studying something that gets your undivided attention.

* Theta brainwave (4 to 7 Hz) is a deeply relaxed state, specific to regular sleep. It is also a creative state when achieved in a wakeful state. Supposedly artistic masterpieces were created in such a state.

* Delta brainwave (0.5 to 3 Hz) is the state of dreamless sleep which occurs soon after you fall asleep.

It was discovered during these studies that Delta is also the brainwave achieved by accomplished meditators during the state of deep meditation. The key discovery pertinent to brainwave meditation is that external stimulation of the brain with such frequencies, produces similar states of mind as achieved with meditation.

From a technical stand point this external stimulus was produced by sound: the desired frequency is the difference between the signal heard with each ear. For example: one ear gets 100 Hz and the other 110Hz. This produces a difference of 10 Hz specific to the Alpha brainwave.

It was demonstrated that the brain integrates the two signals also called binaural beats, in a process called brainwave entrainment or brainwave synchronization. The base frequency (100 Hz above) is called carrier frequency.

The most important output of these studies was the fact that if done properly, the exposure to these frequencies forced the brain to adapt by creating new neural connections (read rewiring) similar to many years of practicing classical meditation.

This output is reinforced by the new (at that time) concept of brain plasticity (Neuroplasticity): the brain's capability to adapt to a new stimulus by creating new connections or reassigning specific function to different zones. It was previously considered that the brain does not physically change and is stagnant as "hardware" from very early stages in life. It was demonstrated in other words that the "software" could change the original "hardware".

To find out more about brainwave meditation and other meditation techniques please visit:

Brainwave Meditation.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/mental-health-articles/brainwave-meditation-how-it-works-415670.html

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Compassion, a most effective technique

What Bhudda thought of compassion as a technique for acheiving liberation from suffering has been very well documented. They actually ended up having a whole massive organised religion over it in a large part of the planet.

The findings on the role of compassion in western psychology somewhat less so. Basically studies have shown that the relationship between therapist and client bears far greater weight on the outcomes of the particular therapy than the type of therapy used, for all of it's citations and acclaim. Let me make the leap here that better relationship means more compasssion.

Compassion is powerful not only when one practises it for others, but also when others practice it for you. It has been shown in other studies on heart patients that patients who are prayed for have far better outcomes (I'm talking double blind study here), than those who aren't, completely regardless of whether the patient knows they are being prayed for or not. Just a photo and a bit of the story for the person who prays will do. It doesn't even matter if the person praying has any particular religious beleif. Now I don't think I'm drawing too long a bow to say a prayer is an act of compassion. There is evidence, however bewildering it may be, that this particular act of compassion acts like a quantum force whereby information is somehow transmitted to another location and acts upon subjects in that location. At least in the study on prayer.

This same force can similiarly be employed on one's self by having the intention of giving it to others and maybe by asking for it. People who really make a big effort of doing lots of it end up happier than us (yes, we have the clinical results on this too) regular folks with lots of great stuff like money, sex and grandification.

So now we have these results, we could make a more effective from of therapy than all the ones presently available to us, which will (I should say should) yeild results in tests of significance when clinically employed, or in other words, it should work so why not give it a go?