For thousands of years people from all walks of life have been trying to master meditation. There are dozens if not hundreds of different meditation techniques, some of which are more effective than others. The goal behind meditation varies depending on the style and the person. Sometimes the objective is to simply relax and other times it is practiced with the aim of spiritual growth.
Meditation is increasing in popularity in a number of different countries all over the world. One study, by the CDC in the United States, demonstrated a more than threefold increase in adult meditation practice between 2012 and 2017 (4.1% - 14.2%). There is reason to believe that there have been similar increases in other countries due to the growth in public interest in mindfulness.
An astute critic might wonder whether or not all of these people are meditating correctly. And whether or not they are actually benefiting from their meditation practice.
Many people experience the following when they first start meditating. They turn off their cell phone, their television, their computer and sit upright with their eyes closed in a quiet room. At this point they are ready to meditate, but they never actually know if they are doing the right thing and sometimes they don’t even know how to start.
You could sit like this for hours, days, or even years, but if you don’t have a real recording of your brain waves you will never actually know if you are meditating correctly. In fact, it’s not uncommon for experienced meditators to discover that their practice is actually ineffective once they have had their brain waves measured.
Effective meditation practice is associated with several specific patterns of brain waves. This is one reason why neurofeedback is so effective, you can literally teach your brain to take on the right brain wave pattern for the style of meditation you are trying to practice.
Why do Brain Waves Matter? The Psychophysiological Principle
The Psychophysiological Principle states “Any experience you have as a living human being, you have only when you have the appropriate underlying pattern of brain waves”
It sounds complicated, but it is actually pretty straightforward. The simplest way to say this is: Brain Waves Rule™
Your brain waves rule your life; they rule your emotions and your thoughts and feelings, so when you can voluntarily control your own brain waves, you become much more powerful and effective in everything you do.
This is why brain waves are so important for meditation, if you want to reach any meditative state you need to first make sure that you have the appropriate underlying neurological state.
Zen Meditation and Neurofeedback
In 1966 Kasamatsu and Hirai performed a groundbreaking experiment on the effects of Zen Meditation on the human brain. They visited a Zen temples in Japan and requested permission from the Zen Masters to record the brain waves of their Zen monks. In addition, they asked the Zen Masters to rate the level of spiritual development of their monks, which the Zen Masters did, rating their Zen monks as Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. Then the scientists recorded the brain waves of 48 Zen disciples and priests. The meditators were divided into 3 categories, beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
What was so impressive about this study is that it showed distinct differences in brain wave patterns between the three categories of meditators. The authors found that as the meditators matured in their Zen training, they progressed through the following patterns.
First, for the Beginner meditators, they produced an increase in Alpha amplitude in the Occipital lobes, the back region of the brain.
Second, the Intermediate meditators showed an increase in Alpha amplitude spreading forward from the Occipitals (at the back of the head) to all the other cortical locations across the entire head.
Finally, the most Advanced Meditators produced all of the brain changes seen in the Beginners and the Intermediate meditators, but then they went on to also produce Theta waves in the Front of their head, at the Frontal locations F3 and F4. And they also showed a slight slowing of their Alpha frequency.
This classic study of Zen and EEG showed that it is possible to produce profound neurological changes through Zen meditation.
What’s even more amazing is that by using the power of Biocybernaut neurofeedback training you are able to produce the exact same neurological effect: You can have advanced Zen brainwaves in only 7 days.
Actually, in only 7 days of Biocybernaut Alpha Feedback Training, people develop the same brain wave pattern as was recorded in Kasamatsu and Hirai’s study with advanced Zen masters (21-40 years of practice). That is, you will see an increase in Alpha EEG across the entire head, a slight slowing in Alpha frequency, and the appearance of Theta brain waves in the frontal region.
This is why Biocybernaut Neurofeedback Training is seen to be equivalent to 21-40 years of Zen training.
Delta brain waves also have incredible transformative power. In a future blog post we will discuss the fascinating relationship between Delta waves, Neurofeedback, and Kundalini. Stay tuned to find out more.
There are many different approaches to Neurofeedback. Some companies use brain entrainment software, which introduces an external frequency into the brain often using binaural beats or flashing lights. The goal of this entrainment software is usually to “normalize” the brain and to eliminate anything which is different from the so-called average person’s EEG.
There are several dangers in this. One is that if you have unusual brain waves, you probably have unusual gifts. "Normalizing" you brain waves could strip away your gifts and make you just like the average or "C" student. A ZEN Master does not have "normal" brain waves and if he or she fell into the hands of the “normalizers”, the amazing Alpha and Theta waves that took 21-40 years to develop could be stripped away by "normalization training."
A second danger is that entrainment can get the brain stuck in the entrainment frequency. Dr. Hardt has seen entrainment produce a zombie who could not break out of the entrainment frequency before coming for Biocybernaut Alpha training. Ecologists worry about "invasive species." Brain hackers should worry about "invasive frequencies."
The brain is a huge mixture of frequencies, often from many different generators within the brain. When someone introduces an foreign frequency, that is not indigenous to the brain, great disruption can occur. This is why Biocybernaut avoids introducing any frequencies into the brain that are not already there being produced naturally by the brain.
At Biocybernaut we believe in building up the fundamentals first. When you are building a house you need to start with a strong foundation. The same goes for neurofeedback Training.
When you learn to produce an Alpha state at will, everything else becomes much easier. Learning to control your own Alpha EEG activity is learning the basics of neurofeedback. What we have noticed is that by Training Alpha EEG, the other brain waves tend to begin to self-organize as well.
This is why we recommend that everyone, no matter their experience level in meditation or other forms of neurofeedback, start with Alpha One Biocybernaut Training.
Change your brainwaves: Change your life! ™
Many beginning as well as experienced meditators have realized that Biocybernaut Alpha Training will change your brain waves, and as a result it will change your life.
What are Brain Waves Exactly?
The human brain is made up of almost 100 billion nerve cells which are called neurons. These neurons communicate with each other via action potentials, e.g. electrical signals. We are able to measure these electrical signals by attaching electrodes to different points on the skull.
Brain waves are defined by their frequency, which is the number of cycles they go through per second.
Delta Brain Waves: 0.0-4 cycles per second
Theta Brain Waves: 4-7 cycles per second
Schumann Brain Waves: 7-8 cycles per second
Alpha Brain Waves: 8-13 cycles per second
Beta Brain Waves: 13-25 cycles per second
Gamma Brain Waves: 25-100 cycles per second
Every brain wave is a tiny oscillating electrical signal that shows up as an amplitude, which is basically how “big” or powerful that particular brain wave is. Amplitudes are measured in microvolts, so they are very tiny relative to the electrical activity produced by muscles, which are measured in millivolts, over 1,000 times bigger than microvolts. An important part of effective Neurofeedback is increasing the amplitude of certain brain waves.
Alpha Brain Waves, Meditation, and Neurofeedback
Alpha brain waves, occur between 8-13 cycles per second and are usually associated with a state of relaxed effortless alertness and a quiet mind without thought "chatter" or judgments or evaluations. Many meditative practices are designed around teaching people to produce a state of mind which is akin to Alpha.
Alpha is often connected to Flow States, an optimal state of awareness known colloquially as “being in the zone”. In a state of Flow you lose your sense of self-awareness and your anxiety which means that you can then focus all of your mental energy onto whatever activity you are performing.
Picture a basketball player who effortlessly sinks every shot he or she takes or a singer who is so engrossed in the moment that he or she performs perfectly without even consciously realizing what is going on.
The term “Flow” was first coined and studied intensively by Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi notes that people from all walks of life experience and benefit from flow states. He has discovered that people experience flow in many different activities including sports, writing, painting, music, business, mathematics, and much more.
The truth is that flow states can be experienced doing almost anything. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi points out that flow is not only an enjoyable state of mind, but it is also optimal for performance. So if you want to be more effective at any activity and to enjoy that activity more, then you should aim to enter into a flow state.
This is where Alpha comes in. Alpha brain waves give you the neurological basis or substrates to enter into a flow state. If you know how to produce Alpha brain waves, it’s much easier for you to enter into flow, perform at an optimal level and to enjoy your performance much more.
High quality neurofeedback programs focus on increasing Alpha amplitude, at least in the beginning. Biocybernaut has 23 advanced levels of Alpha training beyond the first Alpha One training. It is in Alpha States where people experience immediate, profound, life-transforming benefits from their neurofeedback Training.
Beta Brain Waves, Meditation, and Neurofeedback
Beta brain waves occur at frequencies faster than 13 cycles per second, they are associated with an agitated state of mind. People who are frightened, angry, nervous, anxious, too busy, or focusing intensely tend to produce a lot of Beta brain waves.
While Beta brain waves do serve some functions, most people in modern society produce way too much Beta. This is the result of stress from work, family, electronic/social media, busy city life, news, past traumas and more.
Some Neurofeedback programs do promote Beta brain wave Training, mainly to treat ADD and ADHD, but at Biocybernaut we find Beta Training to be unnecessary and in some cases counterproductive. At Biocybernaut we are very successful in using Alpha training with children and adults with ADD and ADHD. Please see our website for further reading on Alpha training as a way to reduce or eliminate ADD and ADHD.
Effective meditation shouldn’t involve a lot of Beta brain waves, but our experience shows us that people who focus too intensely during their meditation produce mostly Beta. This is called "trying." During effective meditation, we expect to see Alpha, Theta, or Delta brain waves instead.
Theta Brain Waves, Meditation, and Neurofeedback
Theta brain waves occur between 4-7 cycles per second. There are two main kinds of Theta brain waves.
- Sleepy, disorganized Theta waves: Associated with stage 1 & 2 of sleep and general drowsiness.
- Organized waking Theta Waves: Associated with creativity, insight, access to the subconscious, and deep intuition. At Biocybernaut we call these Mystical Theta Waves, and they typically occur in beautiful spindles, just like Alpha spindles only slower in frequency. Edgar Casey, the "Dreaming Saint" would have been producing Theta waves when he was lying down and doing his "seeing" and his very accurate predictions.
Certain kinds of meditation, when performed correctly, can produce a Theta state. However, the most reliable and effective way to get into a Theta State and to know whether or not you are truly in a Theta state is with EEG neurofeedback.
We offer Theta Trainings at the Biocybernaut Institute, but they are only available to people who have completed at least our Alpha One Training and have also demonstrated sufficient Theta in their EEG record. If people do not have very much Theta waves in their EEG records after Alpha One, then we often we recommend people go through 2 or 3 Alpha Trainings before their first Theta Training.
Does Neurofeedback Improve Meditation?
High quality neurofeedback will teach you to enter into a meditative state at will. Many of our Trainees find that their lives are improved dramatically by their ability to go into Alpha, Theta, and in some cases even Delta. A daily meditative practice will be improved substantially by high quality neurofeedback Training. You will know how to get into the States you desire and you will be able to access these States more quickly and more reliably.
If you already have a meditative practice we urge you to try out Biocybernaut’s neurofeedback training programs. It will both improve your ability to enter into your meditative state more quickly, and it will give you a much deeper understanding of the breadth and depth and the nature of consciousness.
Distractions, worries, or other things which used to take you out of your meditative state will be much easier to overcome. You will be more consistent with your meditation practice and it will also become more effective.
The fastest, most profound, and life-impacting way to improve your meditation is with Biocybernaut Training. Wherever you are in your own personal journey, our Training programs will give you the tools you need to achieve new heights and depths in your meditative practice and transform your life.