Optimizing the human brain’s process of information processing and knowledge acquisition and generation means we need to discover and master the process of NOT thinking so hard. And that’s an art. Thinking hard does not usually result in flashes of brilliant creativity, nor does it lead to emotional states of being that nurture our body and soul. Thinking hard is characterized by beta brain waves and the suppression of alpha waves and theta waves. Beta is good for keeping track of routine and not very important details. Beta thinking uses your small mind and usually goes along with high-stress situations and situations you’d like to get out of. Stopping the often compulsive flow of thoughts in your brain is often the answer. Stopping that flow of often negative self-talk in your mind gives you relief. Not thinking, not having that barrage of words marching through your mind, actually leads to healthier brain wave states characterized by ample alpha and theta waves, which serve to link us to our deep wellsprings of creativity and the unconscious mind.
Chapter 4 will look more deeply into the processes of creativity, but for now, let us note that your ‘Thinking Mind,’ your ‘Beta Mind,’ is not where your creative ideas and inspirations originate. In a shorthand way, we can think of the ‘Alpha Creativity’ as coming from your mind’s searching for, finding, and organizing bits of information you previously learned (even though you might have forgotten it now), and then assembling all this information into a ‘Creative Synthesis.’ For this alpha type of creativity to work, you have to have the necessary bits of information somewhere in your mind’s database. This is why the first step of the creative process, as described in Chapter4, is the ‘Application Phase,’ where you pay your dues by learning the data and the facts and the ‘good’ problems in your chosen field. If you then use your ‘Thinking Beta Mind’ to process all that data, you will not have flashes of creative insight. However, if from the ‘Application Phase’ of knowledge acquisition you can stop thinking (while still maintaining a quiet interior intention to solve the problem), you then go on to the ‘Incubation Phase of Creativity,’ which nurtures alpha wave production.
When you have a big burst of alpha waves, at that moment, you will have the illumination phase of the creative process – the Eureka! I-found-it experience. But to get there, you have to learn how to stop thinking. Not everyone can do this suspension of thought, which is why there are creative and non-creative people. Everyone has the ability to be creative, but what is required is the ability to stop thinking, which allows your alpha brain waves to increase. And it is only in that alpha brain wave state that your mind can round up all the relevant bits of information necessary for the assembly of the ‘Creative Synthesis,’ which solves your problem.
There is also a much rarer form of creativity that happens in the theta brain wave state. In this theta brain wave state, you can tap into and access knowledge from the Akashic Records, known as the library of all
knowledge that was, is, and ever will be. Maybe you never heard of the Akashic Records, and you are wondering what this is about. It is not a physical place but rather an energetic source. Some people talk about all information being available in the ‘quantum field’ or the ‘collective unconscious.’ Putting a label on something this big really only serves to paper over our ignorance.
Naming something does not mean we understand it, but it begins the process of allowing a powerful new concept into our understanding. The word ‘Akasha’ is a Sanskrit word that means ‘primordial substance.’ The term ‘Akashic Records’ describes an energetic repository of all knowledge people can learn to tap into. What is required is the theta brain wave state.
There are many different kinds of theta brain waves. The definition of theta brain waves is the brainwaves that occur in the frequency range between 4 to 7 cycles per second. But there are many different shapes and sizes of brain waves that can have this frequency range. Differences in shapes and sizes are referred to as differences in morphology – i.e., the shapes and forms. For example, there is a drowsy theta that is seen in stage one and stage two sleep. There is the senile theta that, when mixed with the beta, characterizes the senile EEG pattern. There are also theta waves generated by scar tissue in the brain or by a growing brain tumor. Even a theta wave accompanies the ‘aura’ that often precedes an epileptic seizure, so there are many different kinds of theta brain waves. But none of these ‘ordinary.’
theta waves are useful for accessing the Akashic Records.
What is required to access the Akashic Records is what we call ‘Mystical Theta.’ Mystical theta looks very different from all the other theta brain waves. It comes in spindles like alpha waves, and it looks like slowed down alpha. Mystical theta comes in big lacy spindles and can even be intermingled with alpha spindles as people in high alpha states dip down into the deeper mystical theta states. When I was studying advanced Zen meditators, they would sometimes dip into mystical theta in their meditations’ deepest portions.
You do not need to speak Sanscrit or do Zen meditation to produce mystical theta or benefit from mystical theta’s access to the ‘Big Library In The Sky,’ metaphorically, of course, because the Akashic Records are not in the sky and they are not any physical place. In fact, a famous American developed an Akashic Records accessing technique long before people even knew about brain waves. His name was Thomas Edison, a famous American inventor with over 1,000 US patents to his credit. He probably did not know he was accessing the Akashic Records. He most likely never even heard of the term, but that is what he was doing, and his technique brought him many never-before-dreamed-of inventions and ideas. Below is an overview of how he did it.
1.3.1 Creative Cat Naps
Here’s an example of how these Theta brain states can help us be more creative and solve problems. We all admire Thomas Edison for his over 1,000-patented inventions that dramatically changed our lives. Although he only slept 4-5 hours per night (not something I recommend for reasons to be discussed later), he had a habit of taking ‘power naps’ and using relaxation techniques that allowed him to access the high theta ‘hypnagogic state’ between sleeping and waking. He would sit in a comfortable chair, holding a heavy metal ball bearing in each hand. Then he’d attempt to fall asleep. He would get drowsier and drowsier until he became so drowsy that
the bearings fell from his grip and clattered onto metal pie plates that he carefully placed on the floor directly beneath his hands. The clattering din would startle him awake. At this point, he would quickly write down whatever inspiration was in his mind. And this would often be a patentable idea or a part of one. He would then start over again, drifting towards sleep but trying not to allow himself to go completely under.
Remember that drowsy theta does not even look like ‘Mystical’ theta. Their waveforms have different morphologies. So not all of Thomas Edison’s drowsiness would be of the ‘Mystical Theta’ type of brain waves. But obviously, some of them would, and it is something he practiced a lot. If he got drowsy but did not contact any useful ideas (no access to the Akashic Records), he would internally discourage himself from that avenue of awareness and try something else. If I had been able to measure the brain waves of Thomas Edison, I would very likely have found he had considerable ability to generate ‘Mystical Theta’ brain waves, which were likely the source of his
prolific invention abilities.
We now know that the ‘hypnagogic state,’ the state between waking and sleep, is when theta brain waves are prevalent. In this state, especially when ‘Mystical Theta’ waves are present in our brains, we are put in touch with that inner problem-solver that resides in all of us, the subconscious, intuitive mind. This part of us is somehow able to access dimensions of reality that our conscious mind cannot. You might say that in the ‘Mystical Theta’ state, the mind can access a universal filing system that records every thought, word, and action in the collective human memory hard drive, a universal database in the quantum field.
Psychologist Rupert Sheldrake refers to a non-material information cache as morphic resonance, meaning that every human action or thought creates waves, like ripples in a pond, which affect all other members of the human race. Psychologist Carl Jung referred to the Collective Unconscious, existing in many dimensions and timelines. All of these people are talking about something vast and far beyond words. In one system, an aspect is called the Akashic Records, from the Sanskrit word Akasha, meaning primordial substance. In biblical terms, the Book of Life refers to this knowledge, and in the Torah, there are references to the Book of Knowledge. Buddhists refer to Nature’s Memory.
Whatever we call it, certain people have described accessing it when they are in a brain wave state characterized by ‘Mystical Theta’ waves. It has yielded the kinds of breakthrough ideas that have led to culture-changing and life-changing insights, inspirations, and inventions. The reason is simple. You are bringing into your world, your place and time, information that is not previously known to you and may not be known to anyone living in your time.
Alpha creativity is rare enough since it involves uncommon processing of information that you have learned or, at least, one time in your life that you were exposed to. Putting together useful bits of information from different times of your life and different schools of thought and different subject areas is a priceless gift that creative people bring to themselves, their families, and their societies. But the ‘Mystical Theta’ type of creativity is even rarer. It brings into a person’s life and their society a knowledge that is not known yet, – information their culture has not yet developed. So ‘Mystical Theta’ explorers are indeed rare and valuable human beings. They are different, and they show us the promise of a new age, a better life, a deeper and richer understanding of ourselves and the universe.
Most of the time, the awake brain of a modern adult will be thinking. Although both the theta and alpha brain wave states are uncommon in the modern adult’s awake brain, they can be trained and vastly enhanced with brain-wave training using suitable neurofeedback technology. This neurofeedback training helps people learn how to stop thinking (by quieting the beta mind) and begin to be aware of the alpha and the theta brain wave states. The ‘Art of Smart Thinking’ involves learning how to stop the beta mind from its type of ‘thinking’ and how to begin to create more alpha and theta waves. Remember, alpha isn’t what you think.
1.3.2 The Brain Bubble Technique
An ample flow of blood to oxygenate the brain is critical to the brain’s ability to create alpha waves. The book The Einstein Factor by Win Wenger talks about the ‘Brain Bubble’ technique of Dr. Yoshiro NakaMats, the most prolific inventor globally, with over 3,000 patents to his name, such as the floppy disk, the hard disk, and the digital watch. He says that his best-kept secret for generating creative ideas is ‘Swim till almost die!’ He swims underwater and holds his breath until he can’t do it any longer. Coupled with a systemized method, he has created that enhances creativity, this technique allows his brain to ‘bubble’ with great ideas.
Why does starving the body of oxygen work? Because when you shut off the supply of fresh oxygen to the body, the blood’s carbon dioxide content starts to increase. The body’s automatic response is to expand the carotid arteries that feed your brain, allowing more blood to flow to the brain. If this is practiced regularly, the carotid arteries expand permanently, and your brain is constantly provided more oxygen. We know that an oxygen-rich brain is necessary to produce alpha waves, so this process works because of brain waves change! The expansion of the carotid arteries is greater and longer-lasting when this breath-holding is practiced as a child. It does not have to involve underwater swimming, just any means of promoting long term breath-holding. So if you wish to enhance your child’s or your own brainpower, do some long-distance underwater swimming or some breathing exercises that involve holding your breath for long and lengthening periods of time.