My experience with the ‘ 21-40 Years of Zen in seven days’ Neurofeedback training
From the 3rd till the 10th of October 2019 I attended a neurofeedback training at the Biocybernaut Institute in Germany. In this post, I will explain what this neurofeedback training entails, how it works and how I experienced it.
I was at the Flowfest in Munich this summer which is organized by Max Gotzler from Flowgrade. It is the largest biohacker event in Germany and my company LiveHelfi has been sponsoring this event from the outset. At the VIP dinner, I sat next to Dr. James Hardt. He turned out to be the founder of the Biocybernaut Institute and the creator of the 21-40 years of Zen in 7 days concept.
He spoke passionately about his worldwide research involving Yogis, Zen monks who meditated, prayer-reciting spiritual leaders, and about his research on neurofeedback at his own institute. He was able to determine that 7 days of intensive neurofeedback training yields the same amount of Alpha waves as a monk who has been meditating for 21- 40 years!
He also said that his research from the past 30 years has proven that you could expect the following results:
● reversal of the brain’s aging process. Results indicate that 70 and 80-year-olds are able to recreate the brainwave patterns of a 40-year-old
● heightened awareness and intuition
● smarter thinking through a better connection to the subconscious
● access to a deeper level of forgiveness and “engaged indifference”
● a reduction in stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression
● the ability to remain calm and focused under pressure
●the ability to achieve a mental and physical state of flow at will
● an increase in creativity by up to 50%
● an increase in IQ by an average of 11.7%
● increased self-confidence
● deeper meditations
I was familiar with the Alpha wave training concept through Dave Asprey, an American biohacker (who, by the way, did this course at the Biocybernaut Institute and subsequently developed his own version). Dave Asprey considers Alpha wave training to be the most important biohack he has ever incorporated into his life. I told Dr. Hardt that this training has been on my wish list for years. He offered me the opportunity to follow a training course and see how we could work together in order to promote it in Europe.
My wife also got to talking to Dr. Hardt. His passion, anecdotes about the training, the anticipated results and the added dimension of joining me in this experiment got her attention. Eventually, after much deliberation, she decided that the prospect of a total reset from stress and negative thoughts justified the substantial financial investment that she would have to make. We booked a Premium Double 7 day training at the German BioCybernaut Institute in Mayrhofen!
What is the Biocybernaut Institute?
The BioCybernaut Institute was founded by Dr. Hardt in 1983. He is an American scientist who has studied both physics and psychology. He has 40 years of experience and research into neurofeedback. Dr. Hardt has written numerous scientific articles on the subject and owns more than 30 patents for its technology, headset, and training methodology.
The name BioCybernaut is derived from the terms Bio, Cyber and Naut. Naut is a Greek term and refers to someone who goes on a journey or an adventure. Cyber is a derived from Cypher and means calculations (nowadays it refers to computations made by computers). Bio is a reference to a person’s personal biology and physiology.
A BioCybernaut is someone who embarks on a journey through their own inner universe with the support of computers which provide feedback about their own internal control systems and processes! I think this is a wonderful way of articulating how I experienced the training.
What is neurofeedback training?
Neurofeedback training is about increasing specific brain waves with the help of feedback through the use of sound. Every human being produces various types of brain waves, each of which has a different effect on the brain. During neurofeedback training, electrodes are placed on your head which measures the different types of waves.
Your brain produces different sorts of brain waves, depending on what state you are in. The following waves are the most relevant:
Delta waves are the slowest brain waves. They vibrate between 0 and 4 times per second. They only occur during deep sleep. There are people who are able to produce delta waves when they are awake as well. This is a special talent that enables you to influence the thoughts of others. The Secret Service and the military use this during missions.
Theta waves vibrate 4-7 times per second. Theta waves occur during the transition between waking and sleeping. The problem is that these only occur when you are about to fall asleep. Legend has it that the inventor Edison sat in his chair holding two orbs in his hand. When he gradually fell asleep, the orbs fell out of his hand, causing him to wake up again. By doing this, he increased the number of theta waves he had and as a result was able to invent the light bulb.
Alpha waves vibrate at a rate of 8-13 times per second and are produced by the Thalamus (the very ancient cerebral cortex). Alpha waves are not always present. For example, when you are in deep sleep or, for instance, if you’re very frightened or angry Alpha waves will not be present. In Alpha, your brain is in a state of natural healing, bliss, and love. The Alpha state triggers euphoria and “flow”.
Beta waves vibrate around 13-40 times per second. These waves are associated with routine and non-creative activities that require a lot of concentration. With beta waves, you’re tense, stressed and you tend to frown. Beta waves accompany anxiety and negative thoughts.
Gamma waves vibrate 25-70 times per second, are difficult to measure due to their high frequency and are very similar to those caused by tension in muscles. These waves occur especially when you meditate.
The ’21-40 years of zen’ training focuses exclusively on elevating Alpha waves. These work well when it comes to dealing with trauma and stimulating your creativity. The BioCybernaut Institute also offers training in various other brain waves.
“THE BIOCYBERNAUT ALPHA ONE TRAINING IS ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE THINGS I’VE DONE IN MY LIFE.”
— TONY ROBBINS; ENTREPRENEUR, AUTHOR, PHILANTHROPIST
Preparation for the training
We booked accommodation for 9 nights which was within walking distance of the institute. We took the advice to be there a day earlier and only leave on the second day after the training. Sleep deprivation, alcohol, drugs, coffee, garlic and onions have a negative effect on your Alpha waves. That’s why I started kicking the coffee habit a month before the training. We both quit alcohol, garlic and onions the week before the training. Aside from this, we also made sure that we got a good night’s sleep of at least 8 hours.
The 21-40 years of Zen in 7 days of training
The Biocybernaut Institute is located in a former farm in the middle of the countryside in a beautiful area. The most important rooms at the facility are the meeting room where you prepare for the day, the small rooms where you do the neurofeedback training and the rooms with four-poster beds where you evaluate your neurofeedback training sessions and hear evaluations from your fellow participants. There are no clocks anywhere, so you disconnect from the concept of time and as a consequence live completely in the present.
During the training, there is a great deal of personal attention for the trainees, which is reflected in the number of participants and intensive supervision. The three participants (my wife, Max Gotzler and I) were guided by Miguel (responsible for the technique) and Dr. Hardt (the trainer, supervisor, coach). English was the main language spoken.
The core of the training
Dr. Hardt has found that the act of forgiveness is the quickest way of getting the brain to produce Alpha waves.
Therefore, the training revolves around a 14 step process for effective (deep) forgiveness. Effective forgiveness is considered to be the primary method for letting go. Letting go eliminates the restrictive mental and emotional programming of the ego, the source of all suffering and pain. This leads to total freedom, an unconditioned mind and, ultimately, a higher state of consciousness.
By merely being able to forgive during elevated Alpha brain waves, forgiveness becomes easy, profound and very effective. The neurofeedback technique guides you perfectly with several tones, tone intensities and visual scores towards the state of elevated Alpha Brain Waves.
That way you can easily let go and free yourself from years of suffering, anger, guilt, bitterness, hatred, and feelings of inferiority, and more.
The training schedule
To sum up, the training consists of three sections that are inextricably linked.
- The first section is about mood scales, whereby you are expected to grade how you are feeling. The mood scales provide the input for the second section, the ‘forgiveness’ work.
- In the comfort of your own room, you will receive continuous feedback on your Alpha waves as you work on forgiveness. You use the elevated Alpha waves to neutralize negative experiences from the past.
- The third section involves an in-depth evaluation of the sessions you did that day.
Every day you fill in your mood scales at the beginning of the first neurofeedback session and at the end of each session. Therefore, a total of three times per day. The mood scales are a score with which you are able to indicate your emotions, for example how aggressive, fit, lonely, friendly, etc you are feeling. A computer algorithm then determines to what extent your score corresponds with reality. Each morning the results will be discussed with you. The main irregularities can then serve as a starting point for discovering traumas from the past that you may have hidden away. You will then use these (negative) experiences during the neurofeedback session.
The technician attaches 12 wires to your head with the help of a gel and after that, you enter the room. Everyone has their own room over the entire week. You sit in front of a computer with speakers surrounding you. The room is soundproofed and pitch-black.
Firstly, baseline measurements are taken to determine how your Alpha waves are initially. After that, you start the training session. A session is composed of blocks of 2 minutes with an 8-second interval.
You spend most of this time working on forgiveness. You select one of the traumas that were brought to light that morning. Imagine bringing the person who did this to you (this could be yourself) to trial and prosecuting them. You then make a connection to the emotion that you feel when you think back to the event (sadness, pain, anxiety, etc). You then decide to forgive the person while you work on elevating your Alpha waves.
Elevating Alpha waves involves amplifying the sound from the speakers. Depending on the area in your brain and the intensity of the waves, you will hear a variety of tones that vary in volume. You are constantly making a sound, which feels extremely motivating. You are, as it were, composing your own piece of music.
You can see that you are doing well when you see mainly blue and green colors on your screen during the 8-second break. As soon as you see white for the most part, forgiveness is over. You will be able to deal with all the trauma that you have faced in this way.
As you tend to keep trauma at the back of your mind, this is how you are able to link good feelings (elevated Alpha waves) to the trauma. This neutralizes the negative associations of the trauma.
Aside from forgiveness, you can also ask Alpha questions during the sessions. Subsequently, when you elevate your Alpha, all kinds of ideas and thoughts come up. You will thereby gain access to your creative subconscious. Alternatively, during the sessions, you could introduce a ”worst-case scenario” whereby you address a subject that you are afraid of. Then you imagine a film that shows what would happen if it were to become a reality. When this reality becomes unbearable, you freeze that image. Afterward, you start elevating your Alpha again so that your anxiety about it subsides.
Evaluation and integration
All the participants go to the relaxation room after the second neurofeedback session. This is where during the week you have your own comfortable four-poster bed with pillows and blankets. You will be interviewed by the trainer in this room. They will discuss the results you have achieved and any significant issues that have been brought to light. The reawakening of traumas can, of course, trigger emotions. It is then the task of the trainer to help you give these emotions a proper place and advise you on how to deal with them during subsequent sessions.
The interviews take place within groups so that everyone is able to learn from each other.
During the week there may be some internal resistance to the process you are going through. That can manifest itself in many ways, such as stomach pain, anxiety or anger. This could be your ego’s doing, which prefers to keep things as they were. The trainer is very helpful when it comes to recognizing the ego and with strategies for suppressing the ego. The more you persevere, the more easily you will be able to control your ego.
Seven days of 12 hours of training was incredibly intensive and it was really hard work. You are immersed in the depths of your soul and the outside world is very far away. If I had to choose a second time, I’d go for 7 days with 2 sessions all over again. If you’re going to do it anyway, give it your all and go all the way.
It took me a while to get used to how time was not taken into account at all. I’m used to a strict day and night rhythm. I’m in bed by 10 pm and up at 6.15 am for my daily morning ritual. The first evening we went on until 2 in the morning. I saw my whole rhythm fall apart and that really upset me. My wife then told me that this was part of the process and I’d be better off giving myself over to it. So I did that then and I must say that it was liberating not to have a schedule! At times being fully present in the now and not taking time into account is something I will work on after the training.
The mood scales were a very powerful tool for me to draw out experiences and emotions from the past that I had hidden away. Although confronting, this provided me with input each time to be able to work on forgiveness once more.
As the week progressed, I got more and more pleasure out of it. It was always a challenge to surpass my Alpha waves record from the previous session. I needed to discover the technique of elevating Alpha waves as I went along. What worked well for me was paying attention to my breathing and feeling my body that way. By feeling more and thinking less, my Alpha levels went up!
Those moments of elevated Alpha were a wonderful experience. I was in a ‘flow’ where I had lots of energy and felt incredibly happy.
I also received some useful answers to the questions I asked Alpha. I have to make some complicated business decisions and these answers definitely help me get down to work. It’s really fascinating how relevant the answers are.
I felt lighter and lighter as the week progressed. It was as if a weight had fallen off my shoulders. My mood also improved as the week progressed.
I was ill the night before the last day of training. I threw up a few times and felt really nauseous all night. As a result, I arrived at the training in a terrible state and was not looking forward to the day at all. After all, neurofeedback training is tough and intense work! To my great surprise, however, I started to feel better and better during the first session. By the end I didn’t feel sick anymore, I had more energy, my good mood had returned and I had broken a number of new records. To me, this is proof that the Alpha training is genuinely powerful. I continued to feel this way after the training. I noticed that I was sharper in meetings, more creative in my work and at the same time also more relaxed.
I also experienced overnight that your ego is not your best friend and will do everything possible to limit your transformation and growth. My ego stood up and yelled at me not to bring up an issue out in the open. It took me hours to cage my ego and get some sleep. It felt liberating to start working on that issue the next day.
Being present at the other participants’ interviews was very valuable to me because situations arise that you are familiar with and because it helps to put your own issues into perspective. In addition, I noticed that during the interviews the trainer has enormous added value when it comes to recognizing patterns.
Dr. Hardt had already spoken to my wife about the additional advantages of attending the Alpha training together with your partner. I can confirm that this is absolutely true. I heard her talk about issues (which also had to do with me 🙂 that I didn’t know about even after 30 years of marriage, and vice versa. That’s what has deepened our relationship. The training is an emotional roller coaster through which we have been able to support each other outside the training as well. What happens to you during the week cannot actually be explained if you have not been through it yourself. So wonderful that we made this journey together. Also, every day after the training we reap the benefits of being able to help each other with what we started in the training.
We were glad that we had followed the advice to get there sooner and therefore have a stress-free start to the training. Our extra night after the training allowed us to unwind and return to the world again.
What this will do for me further should become clear in the coming period. In the meantime, I consider it a unique experience that has had a huge impact on me.
Finally, I’d like to thank Dr. Hardt very much for the opportunity he gave me to attend this training. It was an extremely valuable and unique experience!
Would you like to know more about the Biocybernaut Institute, the ’21-40 Years of Zen in seven days’ neurofeedback training or about a discount on the registration fee for the training? Please do not hesitate to contact us!