1.6 The ABCs of Brain Waves

Brain waves are categorized in terms of their frequency, measured in cycles per second. The slowest frequency waves are delta waves (0-4 cycles/sec). Theta waves (4-7 cycles/sec) are a bit faster; alpha waves (8-13 cycles/sec) are faster still, then beta waves (13-40) are even faster, and then gamma waves (25-70 cycles/sec) are the fastest waves in the stationary electroencephalogram (EEG). The basic brain waves are delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma. The first four are the ones most studied. Brain waves collectively are referred to as the electroencephalogram (EEG). They are recorded and measured by the electroencephalograph, which originally wrote the brain waves on moving chart paper with pens drawing the EEG activity at each of the various sites on the head that were being measured. (The electroencephalograph is the recording device that produces the electroencephalogram.) The brain waves are oscillating electrical voltages in the brain, but they are tiny, just a few millionths of a volt. Many scientists have spent a lot of time studying these basic brain waves, referred to as the stationary EEG. There are many other kinds of electrical activity in the brain, especially the short-lived evoked potentials that occur when the brain responds to sensory input (like a sound, a touch, or a flash of light).

1.6.1 Delta Waves

Delta waves are the slowest oscillating brain waves (0-4 cycles per second). According to conventional medical and physiological knowledge, delta brain waves are seen only in the deepest sleep stages (stages 3 and 4) or outright coma. According to this traditional neurological view, the person is not aware of the delta, and, in fact, sleep instructional tapes are ineffective in these stages (3 & 4) of deep delta sleep.

However, there is another aspect of the delta – the waking delta. This is unknown to most neurologists and brain physiologists. I have observed waking delta in numerous exceptional people, many of them in recent brain wave neurofeedback training. Waking delta is characterized by its presence mainly in the brain’s central and frontal cortical regions while the person is exhibiting simultaneous alpha waves in the occipital region. This double brain wave pattern shows that the person is awake as alpha waves do not show up in a deep sleep. In advanced Yoga meditation stages, people sometimes experience the rising of the Kundalini energy up the spine. This happens when there is a waking delta in the brain. Gopi Krishna has written a book on the Kundalini energy titled: Kundalini Rises in the West. It is a powerful force for awakening and raising consciousness.

In Chapter 5, there is a detailed example of the power someone with natural Kundalini delta can have in influencing others and creating and guiding the development of real-world events. People with natural waking delta have a powerful gift. These potent brain waves reflect a state of consciousness in which the person can actually influence physical reality with their mind. This gives a new meaning to ‘Delta Force.’

In a scene in the first Star Wars movie, Episode IV ‘A New Hope,’ Obi-Wan Kenobi brazenly shepherds the two drones, R2D2 and C3PO, past the Imperial Storm Troopers guarding the entrances to Moss Eisley, a spaceport city. He whispers under his breath within the hearing of one of them, ‘We don’t need to see his identification. These are not the droids we’re looking for. Move along! Move along!’ The Imperial Storm Trooper hypnotically repeats almost exactly those exact words. This is an illustration of how powerful a waking delta can be. However, manipulating another’s will come with a high price – karmic backlash.

One definition of evil is to interfere with another’s will. People with waking delta need to be careful not to intrude their will on others. They also need to clear out all their negative emotions because anger and delta waves can be lethal. I conduct delta training by invitation, only and those people who are invited have demonstrated a high degree of ethical cleansing and remarkable ego transcendence. Properly trained, a high waking delta person can be charismatic and can express poise, presence, even majesty.

1.6.2 Theta Waves

Theta waves oscillate somewhat faster than the delta. Theta waves are 4-7 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 seen in stage one and stage two of sleep. They represent the transition between waking and sleeping and are characterized by light drowsiness. 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.

A theta wave accompanies the ‘aura,’ which often precedes an epileptic seizure. Even a low-frequency theta wave circulates the head during the very highest quality orgasms; Theta waves are also seen in very advanced meditators. This type of theta in advanced meditators and readers in the Akashic Records is quite different from drowsy theta. At Biocybernaut, we call it ‘Mystical Theta.’: ‘Mystical Theta’ has a very different waveform morphology that looks like slowed down alpha spindles. Enhanced theta of this type is seen in persons who are more deeply spiritual. It also conveys a scarce and valuable type of creativity, as already described in Thomas Edison’s story. This rare type of creativity allows the person to ‘bring in’ new information that they did not know, and that was not even known to many people in their time. This type of creativity may well be an example of or be mediated by accessing the Akashic Records, from which universal database the person draws just the information needed to solve his/her problem.

1.6.3 Alpha Waves

Alpha waves oscillate 8-13 times per second and are generated in the thalamus (the brain within the brain). There is a lot of basic knowledge about what alpha brain waves are and what makes them appear and disappear in our brains. Yes, they appear and disappear. Alpha brain waves are not always present. For example, there are no alpha brain waves in deep delta sleep, and if someone is very highly aroused as in fear or anger, again, there are virtually no alpha brain waves present.

Alpha brain waves are seen in a wakeful state that is typically characterized by relaxed and effortless alertness. Alpha states have been described variously as sublime, flying, floating, lightness, light, vast space, the opening of the heart, love, contentment, peace, tranquility. Sexual arousal also usually enhances alpha. There are big increases in alpha during orgasm, as very few people can remain stuck in the beta mind and logical analysis during moments of orgasm. In a predominantly alpha state, people are happy, joyful, loving, creative, energized, and peaceful. Also, the alpha state enhances mental abilities, such as creativity and IQ. Alpha is related to physiological arousal in an upside-down U-shaped curve where low arousal = low alpha and, at highest levels of arousal, where one is stressed out and tense (perhaps consuming too much caffeine or other stimulants or filled with anxiety and fear), alpha is also low. In the middle range of arousal, alpha is much higher than at either extreme of arousal.

In both yogic and Zen meditation, there are super conscious states of awareness characterized by very high alpha activity. In yoga, this state is Samadhi, and the alpha activity predominates in the brain. The alpha during Samadhi is high amplitude, and the spindles are long and strong. When absorbed in the Samadhi state’s bliss, the yogi is oblivious to the external world and is fully absorbed in the beauty of an inner transcendent reality. You can understand the fullness of this yogic absorption in the inner reality by noting that even disturbances like banging cymbals near the ears of a yogi in Samadhi will not shake the yogi out of the Samadhi state and will not cause the yogi’s alpha to block or to be interrupted. The alpha response to stimulation is quite different in Zen satori. In Zen, the superconscious state is satori, which is also characterized by very high alpha activity. Still, it is different from the yogic Samadhi’s alpha because the Zen monk is not oblivious to the outside world. The Zen meditator absorbed in satori remains connected to phenomenal reality, and the high alpha of satori can be interrupted by disturbances in the outside world. It is as though the Zen meditator in the high alpha of satori has one foot in the inner transcendent world and the other foot in the external world. This is why some say that Zen is the middle way.

1.6.4 Beta Waves

Beta waves oscillate still faster (13-40 cycles per second). The beta state is known as the ‘secretary mind.’ It is good for the routine, the non-creative performance of tasks requiring attention and ordinary thinking, and difficult mental concentration and focus. When you think of beta waves, think of the statue of Rodin’s Thinker: effortful, stressful, a furrowed brow, the whole musculature of the body recruited to force the mind to THINK. Beta waves are also characteristic of anxiety and worry and states of disease involving highly stressful situations, negative self-talk, feelings of separation, and other dysfunctional emotional states. Increases in beta waves occur when you experience increases in anger, hostility, anxiety, doubt, depression, dejection, and unhappiness.

1.6.5 Gamma Waves

Gamma waves oscillate even faster (25-70 cycles per second). In the early formative years of studying brain wave activity with electroencephalographs, it was not possible to have the recording pens make legible wiggles faster than about 30 times per second. The early equipment used ink-writing polygraphs with wiggling pens or styluses, which could not adequately record oscillations faster than about 30 cycles per second. The faster activity was just an ink blur on the recording paper. There was and is an additional problem. The frequency range of muscle electrical activity totally overlaps the gamma range. Without sophisticated computer processing, it is tough to distinguish gamma activity from muscle tension and muscle movements. For this reason, not much early attention was paid to gamma waves, which can be much faster than beta waves.

Some facts about gamma waves include:

Each of the basic EEG brain waves (delta, beta, gamma) is linked to different states of consciousness and is useful for different skills and abilities. However, we can get into trouble if we cannot turn on the type of brain wave needed for the task at hand. For example, if we cannot turn on theta and delta brain waves, we will suffer from insomnia, among other things. If we cannot turn on alpha, we will be non-creative. If we cannot turn off beta, we may suffer from continual negative self-talk. On the other hand, people who can turn on and off the ideal brain waves to deal with every situation are considered gifted. They seem to live in a blessed and magical world. And they do. And so can you, simply by learning to control your own brain wave activities.

1.6.6 Driving Your Brain

Let’s compare the five basic brain waves with the five gears on a car. Delta brain waves (the slowest waves) are first gear. Theta brain waves are second gear. Alpha brain waves are third gear. Beta brain waves are fourth gear.

Gamma brain waves are fifth gear or overdrive. No one gear is best for every driving situation, and no one brain wave is best for all of the challenges of life. We get into trouble if one of the gears in our car goes out or we forget to use some of the gears. For example, if we drive our car starting in first gear and then shifting directly into fourth gear (skipping second and third), we will have low gas mileage and high repair bills. The same is true of our brains. Sadly, many people often skip their second and third brain gears (theta and alpha brain waves). When we skip second and third gears in our brains, the consequences of driving our brains in this manner are low productivity and high medical bills.

How does this skipping ‘gears’ in your brain wave pattern happen in daily life? All too easily in our modern life. People often wake up suddenly out of deep sleep (delta brain waves) with an alarm. They immediately feel stress and anxiety (beta brain waves) about being late or being under time pressure. After insufficient sleep, they pour high-octane caffeinated coffee down their throats to force themselves into wakefulness. However, the jolt of caffeine suppresses theta and alpha brain waves while promoting beta brain waves. All-day they work under stress, pressure, and time urgency (beta, beta, and more beta), until at night, when they fall exhausted into a deep sleep (delta brain waves), having spent too little time unwinding, relaxing, and drowsing (which would have given them a bit more theta and alpha brain waves). Thus many people shift their brains suddenly and forcefully from delta to beta, and then back to delta, over and over and over! We’ll get the same result doing this to our brains as we would if we did it to our cars – accelerated aging or wear and tear, poor performance, and high repair bills (i.e., high medical costs).

The beta state has often been characterized as the conscious mind and delta as the unconscious mind. If you miss those gears in between, you won’t have very much connection or rapport between your conscious mind and your unconscious mind. Nor will you have much connection or rapport with your feelings and emotions and other people and their feelings and emotions. Not having this connection can cause some problems in your relationships because it makes it difficult to be empathetic or compassionate towards others. People can become creatively blocked in achieving goals because they can’t tap into their unconscious knowledge resources. They cannot connect with the part of their brain that has those resources because that requires the alpha state of consciousness. They may have a conscious idea of what they want to achieve but can’t make it happen the way that extraordinary people who use all of their brains can.

Brain wave neurofeedback technology offers a way to train your brain to create more alpha and theta wave activity. Many people go through life as though they were
bound and gagged in the trunk of their car- not in control of the direction of their lives. They feel like victims, being driven through life out of control. Brain wave neurofeedback training takes off the handcuffs, removes the blindfold and the gag, opens the trunk, and returns the car’s keys (brain). It puts people back in the driver’s seat, steering wheel in hand, and gives them an owner’s manual for their brain. When you know how to change your brain waves, you’re in control of your life experiences!

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