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An understanding of the four different states that your brain experiences every day can be a great aid to your meditation practice, enabling you to visualize the rhythms being created and recognize when your brain is most receptive to meditative exercises.
The Sides of the brain
There are two distinct sides of the brain. The left side which governs logical thought processes and is used when you need linear thinking such as in mathematics, some forms of music and the sciences. The right side of the brain governs spatial awareness and lateral thought processes and is used for creative and abstract thought, visual expression, intuition and flashes of inspiration.
There are meeting points at which you use both sides of the brain, such as music that is felt initially with the right side then ordered and written in a musical score using the left side. Interestingly, the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body while the right side of the brain is links to the left side of the body. This means that any damage that is sustained to the left side of the brain might affect the motor skills on the right side of the body. Recently a third side of the brain has been hypothesized, one that is connected with the spiritual self.
The brain operates through four main frequencies, or brain states, and each of these is predominant at particular times and through varying activities. Understanding what creates these rhythms and being aware of which brain rhythm is prominent when you are concentrating, sleeping, relaxing or meditating can empower you to use your mind in a more constructive manner and utilize the states to their full effect. There are specific programs that are designed to stimulate particular frequencies in the brain; these come in the form of rhythmic music or a combination of sound and visual effects that help your brain to slip into and temporarily stay in a particular frequency.
Meditative Theta State
4.5 beats or cycles per second for example, which can be obtained through rhythmic drumming or chanting, puts your brain in a theta state that enables you to meditate deeply. The steady drone of Tibetan chants is a powerful way to accomplish this.
The Meditative state
You experience the theta state in those moments when you are drifting off to sleep, when images rise, apparently from nowhere, because your brain is resting on the border of your subconscious mind. The theta rhythm is used to increase learning capacity, for dream recall and self hypnosis, and, of course, for meditation.
The Central Brain
Along with the left and right side of your brain, with their well-defined yet overlapping functions, it is postulated that a third, more spiritual brain exists.
When you are fully present in the moment fully conscious you are functioning from a middle ground between the two distinct islands of the brain. When you are aware of yourself, this awareness appears to come from a place in the very center of yourself. You perceive thought, vision, insight, understanding and self-awareness from the central point that radiates out to and encompasses all areas of the brain.
The Third Part of the Brain
This has led to a theory that a third brain exists: the central or middle brain that synthesizes spiritual experience and makes you aware of yourself as a spiritual being that has a body, emotions and mind, rather than the previous, reductionist view that you are a body and mind that has spiritual experiences. If there is a physical seat of consciousness, it would exist in this middle area of the brain.
As consciousness can also be viewed as a canvas, with experience being portrayed as the painting that takes shape upon it, it exists within and also without, being influenced and shaped by the events occurring around you that are beyond your control.
Achieving enlightenment the ultimate goal is spiritual enlightenment, of course. With the attainment of a spiritual state of wholeness, liberation, enlightenment, nirvana or whichever word you feel most comfortable with, a balance is achieved within all aspects of the self, including the brain.
There are four distinct brain wave frequencies:
Alpha Brain waves
It occurs through a state of deep relaxation and aids visualization, creativity and self-healing.
Beta Brain Waves
The beta rhythm occurs when you are wide awake, alert and concentrating.
Delta Brain Waves
The subconscious mind resonates to the Delta rhythm, so intuitions and deep memories can emerge through dreaming states.
Theta Brain Waves
In this stage there are heightened preconceptions and receptivity, flashes of inspiration and often emergence of long forgotten memories.