THE THETA BRAIN STATE (TBS) PHENOMENON
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Nature of the Theta Brain State (TBS) Ancient uses
Why is TBS special? Techniques to access TBS
The AHATA Programs Specific uses for TBS
THE NATURE OF THE THETA BRAIN STATE.
The human brain shows various ranges of electrical patterns when measured on an EEG machine. Various parts of the brain show differing frequencies but there are times that it seems as if there are major areas that have common frequencies, when we are asleep, for instance. So when we say, in the following note, you will be in the Theta brain state, we are not saying the whole brain is in that state, but that many parts are tending to the frequencies that are associated with that state.
The Theta brain state, in practice, is a most elusive brain state to achieve intentionally. We naturally pass through it as we fall asleep (Hypnogogic) and as we awaken (Hypnopompic). The analysis of EEG graphs of the sleep cycle show that the two hemispheres of the brain seem to exhibit similar frequencies as they pass through the Theta state, i.e. between 4 Hertz and 8 Hertz. Actually, it appears that the Theta brain state (TBS) is between 7 Hertz and 9 Hertz, i.e. on the border of lower Alpha and upper Theta. Some say it is exactly 7.5 Hertz the Schumann Frequency of the earth. But we are all slightly different and changing slightly day by day so it is impossible, we think, to be so exact.
Ancient Use of the Theta Brain State.
Our readings indicate that this TBS has been a “mystical state” aspired to by many mentally developed people over the millennia. It has been called many different names, some quite esoteric, and always connoting the balancing aspect. Phrases like “balancing the sun and the moon” and “the marriage of the king and the queen” are all veiled references to this state. Usually those who had mastered the technique aimed to keep it secret by only passing it on the selected colleagues or writing about it in code, or drawing pictures with hidden meanings. They did this because they knew of its power – first hand – and did not want to see the technique abused.
But times have changed and we are much better placed than those ancient seers. Firstly the knowledge is no longer secret and secondly there are ways of being assisted to that state with electronic technology. (For example, audio frequencies in our sets of CDS.) But we still have to apply ourselves; we still have to practice to get it right. And we should be aiming to achieve this TBS, eventually, without the assistance of the CDs.
Why is the TBS so Special?
What are the uses that make this brain state so special? Simply put, it seems that when we are in this specific brain state, our “conscious” left-brain is able to talk to our “subconscious” right brain. Of course, this is just a metaphor and it is surely much more complex than this. For example, we know from the neurologists that every second millions of neural messages pass from one brain hemisphere to the other through our Corpus Callossum. And that even though there is specialisation of sorts in the two hemispheres there is considerable natural communication between them. However, there does seem to be some specialisation with the left brain attending to the logical sequencing and the right brain with more flowing patterns.
However, we all have known the following circumstance. Sometimes, as we wake up in the morning (Hypnopompic state), the solution to a problem we have been working on flashes into our consciousness. It is in this brief Theta brain state that ideas become available. Some creative artists deliberately try and hold this dreamy “as-we-wake up” or “as-we-fall-asleep” state for fruitful ideas.
We are told that Thomas Edison, when searching for a solution to a problem, sat in a chair in a room with a wooden floor. In his hands he held a heavy wooden ball. He then relaxed and proceeded to fall asleep. As he dropped off, his brain went through Alpha and then Theta on its way to the Delta state. But as he passed through the Theta state, his hands relaxed and the ball dropped to the floor with a bang. This jolted him awake, and in that split second, he tried to recall the ideas that popped into his mind. This was a most ingenious, if elaborate, method of deliberately accessing the creative Theta state.
TECHNIQUES TO ACCESS THE THETA BRAIN STATE
Over the centuries many and various techniques have been used to achieve this state, some easier than others. Here are a few:
All the techniques aim to bring about a slowing of the brain either by using “mantras” which are sounds or words repeated over and over in the brain, or visualising specific settings or pictures. Those who have tried one or another of the systems soon realise how exceptionally difficult it is to “quieten the chattering monkeys” of the brain. Once achieved, however, the regular practice of meditation enables the practitioner to access the Alpha brain state fairly regularly and occasionally the Theta brain state.
Practitioners derive physiological benefits in terms of reduced stress, lowered blood pressure and increased energy. (The research reports compiled by the TM movement attest to this.)
Going to the mountain top.
Oxygen deprivation, even in small amounts, changes the brain chemistry and so changes the speed at which the brain synapses respond. This in turn affects the way we put images together. Other exercises that alter the rate and depth of breathing also lead to changes in consciousness. Hyperventilation, used in one technique, is an example.
Changes in the body’s sugar balance also change the way the brain responds. But it takes time before the hallucinations become clear and are not all food-focused.
A wide variety of mind-altering drugs were used by the ancients and some are still used: sacred mushrooms (psylocybin), peyote and cannabis. Today’s manufactured drugs remain a quick but extremely unreliable way of reaching other brain states. However, as we are aware, these drugs carry with them a potent dependency factor not found in the purely mental techniques and thus should not be used.
This term, used in athletics and especially in long distance running, describes a state where, during a race or training, your body just keeps on going very sweetly. There is no pain, the crowd or road around you fades away and you feel good. This state is related to various endorphins, produced in the brain to mask the pain coming from the muscles and lungs. In the old days they referred to it as “getting one’s second wind”.
THE AHATA PROGRAMS.
Possible Ancient use.
We think that some of the ancients (in the priesthood, maybe?) were aware of the Theta brain state and how it could be accessed and used. Of course, they did not call it what we call it, nor are there specific records of its use.
However, there are some clues: the construction of some of the passageways used in the ceremonies, the frequencies of some of the bells used even today in Tibet and some of the words used. For example, the Sanskrit word Anahata means “struck sound” which is what you would hear if you hit a gong, a bell or a drum. But also in Sanskrit there is the word Ahata which means “unstruck sound”. Now why would they have had a word for this a “non-real” sound? We surmise that it was used to describe the sounds you hear “in your head” as a result of hearing selected gongs/drums played on either side of the head: the classic binaural effect. Therefore, we also surmise that these priests knew all about the binaural effect and produced it by hitting gongs of the appropriate note/frequency on either side of the listener who they wanted to give a special experience. For example, we can think of a king/pharaoh going through some sort of initiation. These days we use computer-generated pure tones to achieve a similar effect and without all the cost and effort.
AHATA programs on CD.
Our programs, available on CD format, incorporate sound effects and off-set frequencies (binaural beats), to assist the listener move to appropriate brain states for concentration, relaxation and sleep.
The Recharge programs, relevant to this discussion on the Theta brain state, have the advantage of being subtle and so allow the user to frame much of their own experience rather than being specifically directed to a predetermined program or religious theory. The use of sound harmonics alone means that the visual cortex is free to embellish the images that the user projects. This has marked advantages in a program aimed at using the TBS to “reframe” the body’s functions, such as for Guided Imagery Therapy, or Goal Achievement.
The other considerable advantage of the AHATA computer generated offset sound harmonics is that more than one frequency can be incorporated in the program. In simple terms, this means that the brain can be assisted to the Theta brain state, just as if the user were falling asleep. Once the brain is generally in the Theta range other complementary harmonic signals are incorporated which, (usually), “hold” the brain from moving down to the Delta sleep state. It is exceptionally difficult to hold a Theta state without specific training or assistance. Also, note that getting there takes a little time, you just don’t “jump into Theta”. Think of how you fall asleep. Granted there are times that you “just crash” but mostly it takes a while for the brain rhythms to move from Beta, through Alpha, through Theta to the sleep Delta.
Exactly how the brain achieves this level we are not sure. What is known is that we all have an active Reticular Activating system (RAS), which ensures that input to our total system is acceptable and not harmful to the organism. We postulate that the brain, finding the incoming signals benign, enables those parts of the brain most suitable for “cross-fertilisation” of ideas between the two hemispheres to be highly active and this is what the EEG machines show as the TBS. At the same time, the harmonics keep the conscious prefrontal cortex of the left brain active, so helping us to remain conscious, and able to remember and report on our experience.
The Recharge CDs
In most of the AHATA range of programs (Settle and Grow, Sound Study System, AHATA Tactics) there are one or more CDs that are labelled “Recharge” and are usually about 30 minutes long. The CDs usually have three sections/tracks. First one has the natural sound effects and AHATA harmonics plus a commentary, which gives you and idea of the mental journey you can take that fits the sound effects. Second track does not have the commentary. The third one is called a Sleep Starter and does not wake you up again as do the first two tracks. Most people find that they use the second track without the commentary most often and add their own images to fit the sound effects.
The primary objective of these CDs is to give the listener assistance in achieving 30 minutes complete mental relaxation and so have a “recharge” to get up and study for a few hours or do whatever work they need to do.
We note that many people, on first processing an AHATA recharge program, usually fall asleep. Or, as we prefer to call it, “click out”. It takes a number of sessions to become less stressed and familiar with the experience and so begin to use this wonderful relaxed state to our advantage.
Although the Recharge CDs are primarily a deep relaxation tool they each incorporate a section of about seven minutes where the listener is assisted to and held in a Theta Brain State. This sequence occurs about two thirds of the way into tracks 1. and 2. and is usually accompanied only by a “gentle hiss” sound effect.
These Recharge CDs are now available as singles. (Go Here.) for info
SPECIFIC USES FOR THE THETA BRAIN STATE.
Improving One’s Prayers
From the Wiki on prayer we find: “Most major religions involve prayer in one way or another. Some ritualize the act of prayer, requiring a strict sequence of actions or placing a restriction on who is permitted to pray, while others teach that prayer may be practiced spontaneously by anyone at any time.
Scientific studies regarding the use of prayer have mostly concentrated on its effect on the healing of sick or injured people. The efficacy of petition in prayer for physical healing to a deity has been evaluated in numerous studies, with contradictory results. There has been some criticism of the way the studies were conducted.” For the rest of this excellent Wiki summary (Go Here.)
We find that prayer is a way of talking to God and there are different types:
Supplication (petitions and requests for specific help often made with varying degrees of passion)
Intercession (praying for help for others in distress, physical, mental, economic),
Thanksgiving (praise and worship and honour of God).
Some say that the ideal personal prayer should be based on your temperament style.
The writings of some of the Christian mystics (Saint Teresa of Avila, Hildagard of Bingen), give us an indication that at times they were in a TBS during their prayers. So why not use the religiously neutral sound harmonics to enhance your prayer-time, particularly the contemplative time?
It is noted that prayers are a “talking to God”. What about God talking to you, or does this not happen these days? What about the “still small voice” that we should be listening for?
The other significant observation of the TBS has come from those involved with what could loosely be called “Mental Healing”. In the USA, a whole discipline called “Guided Imagery Therapy” has been researched and therapists are now registered to teach people how to use their mind to assist their healing process rather than work against it. Dr Carl Simonton and his wife developed this technique and later others followed including Dr Bernie Segal. He used “mind-body” techniques with cancer patients and others with life-threatening chronic diseases.
Dr Martin Rossman, Director of the USA Academy of Guided Imagery, acknowledges the importance of the Theta brain state and says: “It is only in the Theta brain state that changes can be programmed for eventual expression in the body. “
Dr Penniston, Chief Psychologist, Sam Rayburn Centre, Texas, who has been very active in this field, says: “Alpha is the bridge to Theta. It only takes being in that deeper state of consciousness for about 10% of the time during a session for the true change to take place. During that state the hypothalamus region of the brain is activated, and this is where the reprogramming can occur.”
But there are warnings. Not all images and thoughts and messages received in the TBS should be construed as useful. We should be clear that while we are moving in the borders of the various states, we are also combining sensory input with memory storage.
Dr Calvin, a neuro-physiologist, says: “The usual difficulty with the TBS is that it is so fleeting. We either fall asleep and do not remember what we were thinking at the time, or we awaken, our conscious mind takes over and our day begins.”
We have all heard of the “Power of the Imagination”. How sports people visualise, in great detail, their upcoming race and how this tends, if they do it right, to be manifested in the actual race. We hear about people visualising their Goals and then achieving them. (Details on how to go about setting your goals, is in preparation and will be included on this site in 2011.)
Briefly the standard Goal Achievement (GA) steps are: think about what you want to achieve, write this up, check it for reality, edit it into short sections, then learn this GA set off-by-heart. Now you are ready to visualise it in as detailed fashion as you can manage. Set aside time to do this and go into a meditative state and repeat your GA set over and over. Add to this standard GA process the processing your GA while you are in the Theta brain state and you possess a very powerful system. (Our contribution to the one-time successful Prosper Club was the CD incorporating AHATA sound harmonics.)
Developing Emotional IQ
Set up the circumstances you would like to improve in your behaviour and put them into GA set format. For example: To improve the inter-relationships around you, see yourself dealing with particular people in the way you would like to. Allow yourself to run through events in the future in such a way that you build your self-confidence. This enables your psycho-neurological system to “pre-plan” as it were, how you will behave — positively. Then run these sequences while in the Theta brain state. Test this in real life, but don’t be disappointed, try again. (Any worthwhile ability require practice; especially this one. But others have succeeded so why not you?)
Tap your inner creativity. List and analyse the problem you wish to solve. Put it into GA format. Go into the Theta brain state and present the problem. Wait for solutions which may take a while.
Some authors maintain that 10 minutes in the Theta brain state rebalances the potassium/calcium ions in the brain. It is said that too much mental concentration and stress causes an imbalance of the ions which in turn makes us feel “brain fatigued”. This fatigue feeling prompts us to do something else and so we relax and recharge.
A reminder of the remarks of Dr Rossman, of the USA Academy of Guided Imagery, he says: “It is only in the Theta brain state that changes can be programmed for eventual expression in the body.“
PS Don’t’ buy the pirated downloads of AHATA Harmonics. Get your own copy of an original CD for the clear pure sound.