Are you one of the many people who find themselves feeling stressed out by the demands of modern life? Or perhaps you have a yearning to explore the true potential of your mind – which extends way beyond what most of us have been programmed to believe. Either way, meditation is the answer.
When you learn to meditate, you have an effective stress-relief method on tap – with none of the side effects of anxiety-relieving drugs, or the costs of a weekend at the spa. You also have access to the power of the subconscious mind, which holds the key to the development of ‘super human’ powers, such as psychic abilities, out of body experiences and much more. Meditation is also worth doing as an end in itself – it’s a rare chance to ‘just be’, and enjoy the peace of some time with nowhere to go and nothing to achieve.
So, how do you learn to meditate? There’s no one answer to this, as there are countless meditation methods. Basically, it involves focusing and/or quieting your mind. Both routes have the same end result – the endless chatter of the everyday ‘monkey mind’ slows or stops and a sense of peace and calm prevails. You’re also open to new insights, and can more easily access your latent abilities (including psychic abilities).
Whatever method you choose, you should ensure that you’re in a comfortable location (lying on your bed is fine, although many people prefer to sit up to reduce the likelihood of falling asleep), and will not be disturbed. You should aim to practice every day (or most days at least) – start with a short period of time, and build up to about 20-30 minutes or more.
The problem with the methods listed above, and with most other meditation techniques, is that they’re not as easy as they sound. As a culture, we’re not taught to control our minds, and as a result most people have highly undisciplined psyches. They typically don’t become aware of this until they try to impose some order, via meditation practice. I know firsthand how frustrating it feels to try to focus and quiet the mind, and to completely fail to do so!
Now, with regular practice, the task may become easier – but this can take months or years, and even then there’s no guarantee of success. If you don’t want to wait that long, brainwave entrainment meditation recordings can help. They can also be of value to more experienced meditators who wish to deepen their practice, or simply try a new technique.
The brain produces brainwaves as a result of the electrical activity of the brain cells. These brainwaves fall into a number of frequency bands, depending on your state of consciousness. For example, delta brainwaves are very slow (< 4 Hz), and are normally produced during deep sleep. Theta brainwaves (4-8 Hz) are linked with deep trance meditation, whereas alpha waves (8 – 12 Hz) are produced during states of light relaxation and daydreaming. Beta brain waves (> 13 Hz) are associated with normal waking consciousness.
Meditators typically produce brainwaves in the alpha band or below, depending on the depth of their focus and relaxation. As many have found, it can be very difficult to maintain this level of consciousness – for most people, the brain is more used to being in the active beta state. However, the brain does have a natural tendency to synchronize with (or entrain to) certain stimuli – such as sound recordings – that feature frequencies that are close to its own frequency range. So if you listen to a brainwave entrainment recording that is designed to trigger brainwaves in the theta range (for example), you should be able to enter that state much more easily than you would on your own, thanks to the brain’s tendency to entrain to the sounds it is hearing.
Meditation is associated mostly with the alpha and theta frequency bands, although experienced meditators can also go into very deep delta states while awake. As a beginner, you’ll master the alpha range first, before progressing into deeper states. Theta meditation in particular can be a lot of fun when you learn to maintain it, as this range is associated with the experience of astral projection and other altered states. For general use, an effective brainwave entrainment recording for meditation will include both frequency ranges, with a smooth progression between the two. Alternatively, you might prefer a recording that focuses only on alpha or only on theta, depending on the precise experience you want to have.
Brainwave synchronization recordings fall into three categories: binaural beats, monaural beats and isochronic tones. These work slightly differently (read more about the differences between binaurals, monaurals and isochronics), but all work well. However, the general consensus is that isochronic tones are the most effective of the three, because unlike the other methods they feature very clearly defined and separated pulses of sound that make it easier for the brain to entrain to the rhythm. However, some find the sound to be slightly jarring in the delta region, so if you’re going to experiment with very deep meditation, you might prefer to use binaural beats. The best course of action is really to experiment and see which type you prefer.
It’s important to be sure that you’re using only top quality meditation brainwave entrainment recordings however, as there’s a lot of poorly produced stuff on the internet that isn’t very helpful. I recommend visiting The Meditation Club, which has a nice selection of high quality meditation tracks, in binaural, monaural and isochronic tone formats. I use the alpha and theta isochronics (without music) a lot myself, and really like them. They’re fully guaranteed for eight weeks from the date of purchase, and you can download some samples for free.