Despite the strides that science has taken, the human brain is a mystery. The present article deciphers how meditation channelizes energy to affect functioning of the brain and thereby the whole body.
Our brain is made up of billions of brain cells called neurons, which use electricity to communicate with each other. The combination of millions of neurons sending signals simultaneously produces an enormous amount of electrical activity in the brain. This electrical activity repeats itself in a definite frequency like in waves. This can be compared with frequencies of radio and television. Just as there are different channels operating at different frequencies likewise our mind works differently at different frequencies. The frequency of these waves is measured in cycles per second i.e. Hertz (Hz). We all have five different brain frequencies (Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta). Now let us try to understand them:
1) Delta – (1.0 To 3.5 Hz) Delta brain waves are the slowest of all. Everyone experiences delta waves in deep, dreamless sleep. In this state one is not so conscious of the material world. It is related to our unconscious mind. This predominantly works in children till they are one year old. These frequencies lead to laziness and poor concentration. When we have to work with best efficiency, these waves should be minimized. It is observed that people who have these frequencies in predominance lack in concentration and are unable to do any work for more time. For healing and regeneration of body these waves are essential as these processes can be achieved by the body only in deep sleep.
2) Theta – (3.5 To 7.5 Hz) Theta is just the next higher step to deep sleep and this involves slow motion waves. It is where we experience vivid visualizations, great inspiration, profound creativity, exceptional insight and long-forgotten memories. At the same time it is the store house of our memory, feelings and sensations. These waves are experienced during inner concentration, meditation and prayer. This is the state related to our subconscious mind. These waves are observed in children, even when they are awake and up to age of 13 years but not in adults, whereas it is experienced by all during sleep. This state is beneficial for healing, regeneration and for coordination of body and mind.
3) Alpha (8.0 To 12.0 Hz) This state links conscious mind to subconscious mind. This is an important state and in this state even though body and mind are in a relaxed state the person is alert. We feel healthy and peaceful, mentally balanced and we find solutions to problems. This is the ideal condition to gather new information, maintain facts, data, perform elaborate tasks, learn languages, analyze complex situations. Alpha frequency is related to white portion of the brain and this portion is responsible for interconnecting different parts of brain. If we compare these brain frequencies to any car, Alpha state is like neutral gear, Delta – first, Theta – second gear. The next frequency Beta that we are going to see now is related to third, fourth and fifth gears.
4) Beta (12.0 To 30.0 Hz) This state is related to conscious mind. It is a state of higher frequency and activity. These waves are predominantly working when we are awake and eyes are open. When we are awake and are busy in thinking, listening, speaking, analyzing there is a higher frequency activity going on in the brain. Because of the huge span of these waves, they are sub-divided in low, medium and high Beta Frequencies. Higher Beta Frequencies lead to hypertension, increased heart rate, increased blood flow, cortisone production, increased secretion of adrenaline and higher glucose consumption.
5) Gamma (Above 30 To 44 Hz) These waves are observed in all parts of brain. These waves are not observed in normal functioning of the brain. It is said that these waves greatly increase during practice of meditation. Research is going on to study the changes in these waves during practice of meditation and till date definite scientific information is not available. However information is available in spiritual research.
In spiritual language these are termed as states of mind (and not brain). In spiritual terms mind and brain are different and it is believed that mind works through brain. Mind or consciousness can be sub-divided in three stages, jagrut- awake (Beta), swapna- dream (Theta and Alpha) and sushupti – deep sleep (Delta). The aspirant can experience all these states consciously during practice of meditation. As one develops alertness and relaxation in practice of meditation, he can approach the deeper states of mind and thereby enters in an experience beyond mind. In this fourth – turiya state of mind aspirant achieves self-realization. As this state is beyond mind nothing can be said about it and it can only be experienced. This is the ultimate stage of meditation. But practice of meditation is extremely helpful in day to day living as well. By consciously experiencing different stages of mind we can master our body and mind. By right use of the two important instruments on which our life depends, we can lead a healthy and successful life. One can progress in meditation only through rhythmic breathing.
So I urge all aspirants in Brahmavidya that without waiting for the scientific explanations let us hold on to our practice of breathing exercises and meditation with enthusiasm and perseverance; and enjoy more healthy and successful life.
Edited by: Jayant Divekar
Compilation: Ruchira Godbole