Calming the Hurricane in Your Brain
We all understand how incredibly destructive a hurricane can be. Let’s explore hurricanes a little bit to understand them better. Then we can compare hurricanes in the ocean to hurricanes in our brains. The purpose of a hurricane is to transport excess heat away from the Earth’s equator toward the poles. The hotter our planet gets, the more and the bigger the hurricanes have to move all this excess heat. Ocean currents like the Gulf Stream also transport a lot of heat northward and keep England and Europe warmer than they would be otherwise.
Most folks don’t notice that London is at latitude 400 miles north of Montreal, and yet London winters (until lately) have not been anything like northern Canadian winters. However, a powerful heat transport system of ocean currents is starting to shut down in a way that will require more and bigger hurricanes. All over the Northern Hemisphere, glaciers are in retreat as global warming melts them away. Greenland, Norway, Iceland-all are losing their glaciers.
All the cold glacial melt-water flowing out into the North Atlantic from the vanishing glaciers floats on top of the heavier seawater. Freshwater weighs less than saltwater, which causes a problem with the return portion of the Gulf Stream current. The only way Gulf Stream water can flow back south to complete the cycle is to cool, sink, and then return south along the bottom of the ocean, while the warm water on the surface is flowing north. The problem is that with all the fresh water at the surface from the melting glaciers, the water is too light and cannot sink. Even if the surface water gets freezing, the dilution with the lighter fresh melt-water makes it lighter than seawater and so it cannot sink through the heavier saltwater below the surface. This means it cannot reach the ocean bottom, where it would normally flow south to complete the cycle.
The freshwater flowing out into the North Atlantic from melting ice prevents the northern end of the Gulf Stream water from sinking. Because even cold freshwater from the melting ice is lighter than warm salt water, the northern end of the Gulf Stream can’t sink and flow back south along the ocean bottom like it used to. So we have an alarming situation where some of these important ocean currents, like the Gulf Stream, are starting to shut down. One study reported a 30% shut down in the return current since 1992. This means that the only other available big heat transport mechanism, the hurricanes, will have to transport more heat than usual. Thus the hurricanes will have to be bigger, and there will have to be more of them. Some of them will make landfall, and they will be very destructive with their high winds, heavy rains, and massive walls of water thrown inland in tidal surges that can reach over 30-foot tall walls of water.
Hurricanes in our brains. Just as turning up the heat on our planet leads to hurricanes, turning up our lives’ stress increases beta brain waves and reduces our alpha. The way we live today in our own brains in modern society can be just as destructive internally as a hurricane can be to both the people and houses in its path. Instead of having natural internal tranquility, which Thoreau referred to as a state of nature,’ our beta-dominated waking brains are disrupted by the hurricanes of fast and disruptive brain waves that go along with, produce, and result from lifestyles that promote more beta brain waves and suppress alpha waves, creating ‘consciousness interference’ with lots of faster high-speed beta waves. The strength of the internal brain hurricane is amplified by the ego’s destructive nature, which operates below most people’s radar. It thus is unconscious and out of control, leading to generalized stress and anxiety and a lot of suppressed negative emotions. These internal conditions are just as destructive to your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, health, and body, and your brain as an atmospheric hurricane is too personal property and life.
The majority of us ‘live with it,’ suffering from mild anxiety, frequent depression, chronic insomnia, and general distractibility and inability to concentrate. Unfortunately, some people have much more serious clinical conditions that put them into psychiatric care under the medical and pharmaceutical models of disease treatment. While the average person can certainly benefit from the Biocybernaut process, even these people with the most destructive Category 5 ‘Hurricanes of the Brain’ and major ego attacks can be helped by appropriate brain re-training and re-education with appropriate brain feedback (neurofeedback), as the examples in this chapter will demonstrate.
To reduce and control hurricanes, we will have to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (especially carbon dioxide and methane). To start getting the ‘Hurricane in Your Brain’ under control, we will have to reduce the common stressors that increase beta waves and suppress alpha waves. You can do some fairly simple things to create a better brain environment for alpha waves so they can become more abundant in your brain. Along with more alpha waves come all the wonderful benefits of alpha waves that you will want to become more common in your life. The following is a list of common ‘stressors or things that make you hyper or ’rajasic’ in the Sanskrit terminology that is used in coaching yoga meditation:’