Archive for September, 2012

By Trevor Johnson

Binaural beats are used in a lot of different self help and personal development projects, including a number of meditation downloads. The claims are that they can shift the state of your brainwaves purely from you listening to a CD or MP3 with these beats on them. Below, we’ll examine what binaural beats are, how they work with your brain and whether or not the claims that they will help with your regular meditation have any validity.

What are binaural beats?

Wikipedia calls them “auditory processing artifacts” which leaves most people none the wiser.

They were discovered in 1839 but the technology to use them in products wasn’t really good enough until late last century.

Binaural beats work by playing two slightly different tones, one in each ear. Which means that they will only work properly if you wear headphones.

Because the tones are close together, the brain will actually react as though a much lower tone was being played and will adjust its state accordingly. For instance, if you wanted to get your brain into an Alpha state, which is where REM sleep and dreams typically occur, you would play two tones that were approximately 10 Hz different from each other.

On their own, binaural beats sound as though someone is rapidly switching them on and off. So most commercial tracks will disguise this fairly irritating noise with a soundtrack. This can be something like rain fall or it could be a new age track to get you in a relaxed mood.

So how do they work with our brain?

Essentially, the beats work by inducing the desired state in our brain. It tries to resolve the difference between the beats and, in the process, takes itself down to that particular level.

Our brain has a range of different frequencies that it operates at according to what we are doing at the time. So when we are sleeping, it will be relaxed and generally quiet although there is some variation in frequency between a light sleep which is where we dream and a deep sleep (the Delta state) where our brain is doing the absolute minimum necessary.

By contrast, when you’re being creative your mind is literally buzzing. It’s working at a much higher frequency, either Beta or Gamma depending on exactly how buzzing it is.

The Greek description letters don’t go through in alphabetical order because the different brain states weren’t all discovered at once, so extra letters were added in the newly found gaps.

Do they help with meditation?

Part of the process of meditation is to relax your mind.

Traditionally, this would take years of practice to get to the correct state. Zen monks take most of their lifetime to perfect the process but Westerners like us don’t have the luxury of being able to just concentrate on meditation for the majority of our life, so we need a shortcut.

Various scientists have measured the brain wave frequencies of deep meditators and, since they knew about the ability of binaural beats, decided to experiment.

What they found was that binaural beats could indeed bring about the same meditative state as years of meditation practice. So we’ve got something close to a Western “I want it now” solution.

Some of the original binaural beats meditation systems still took years to get the full benefits but several newer processes have cut that down to six months or less, making them ideal for our often hectic modern life style and still giving us the benefits of meditation.

Check out this binaural beats meditation comparison and find out how you can meditate really deeply in as little as 8 weeks.

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John GilmoreBy John Gilmore

For thousands of years meditation has been known to benefit human beings in many ways. Meditation and deep breathing can still the mind, relax the body, help one focus the mind when making important decisions, and open one for an encounter with the Divine, whatever one might consider the Divine. Lately, scientific study has provided us with the evidence to support these very ancient understandings about meditation. Research has shown that meditation and deep breathing actually do relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and causes a physical reaction to take place in the pre-frontal lobe of the brain so that one becomes more responsible and proactive in their responses to stimuli, instead of reactive. In other words, one learns to choose his or her reactions wisely, instead of just acting out.

In our world today, which is full of stress, and where many of our models for appropriate behavior on television act out first, instead of acting responsibly, and constantly bend the rules to the point of breaking, there is a greater need for meditation. Much of the internal meditation has been done away with in various western traditions, and replaced with external forms of prayer that don’t really get down deep into what is happening to the inner self. This is slowly changing as the public learns about the methods of the monastic movements who dedicated their lives to contemplation and meditation.

As a result of these changes there are thousands of books, videos, and CDs telling us all how to meditation and what we should expect when we meditate. This is something that really isn’t new. The speed at which they are created and distributed, however, is new. It is very important because of this, to take all of them with a grain of salt, understanding that different people react differently to various meditation techniques, and that your path on the road to enlightenment and growth is just that, your path.

My suggestion is that you find the type of meditation that suits you best. It can be counting, or watching your breath, observing the thoughts as they arise and letting them go, imagining the circulation of energy until you can feel it actually moving in and out of your body, and many other techniques. The one thing that ties all of them together is creating awareness. It is necessary to become aware of what is going on inside and all around you. When one becomes aware from moment to moment, living in the moment fully, and making the necessary choices in one’s life for that very moment, one has arrived. One becomes a master of his or her own fate and the creator of his or her life.

If you are interesting in meditating, I would suggest that you find a method that suits you. The next thing is to meditate. It is to do it. Meditation is a practice. One can learn all that one can about meditation, but there is no benefit until one does it over and over again and attains the results for which he or she is looking. These results can vary from stress reduction to peace of mind, or from focusing the mind intently to reaching a full state of merger with the Divine. The correct technique is to just do it. It is to just be there. When one is there fully, and completely present on ones seat or meditation cushion for the time they are meditating, that is enough. It is all about awareness. As awareness increases one can use whatever method one likes and it will all end up being the same. The major goal is to attain the awareness and the capability to live in the present.

Om Prakash (John Gilmore) is a writer, spiritual life coach, and licensed bodyworker in the state of PA. For more articles like this please visit this Ezine or our website at where you will find links to articles, book reviews, and our radio station link to programming focusing on practical spirituality.

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Meditation and Mindfulness for Eating Disorders

By Irina Webster

As much as we would love to snap our fingers and offer a quick fix to overcoming eating disorders, it’s just not safe nor practical to do so. However, the simple act of being mindful of how you’re feeling on a regular basis – and how those feelings are being manifested into actions that could be harming your body and mind – is very important step to your healing journey.

Mindfulnessis a practice of calming the mind and becoming aware of our inner selves in the present moment. The term meditation refers to a wider range of practices generally meant to help the individual achieve some sense of inner peace and relaxation. In a broad sense, the term mindful meditation refers to a practice in which an individual strives to achieve a calm and stable state-of-mind that is based solely in the present moment. In this moment, the shame from the past and the worries of the future cease to exist. All that matters is that you look at yourself in a non-judgemental manner in the present moment.

Being hard on yourself for the past or worrying about the future is not part of the here-and-now. In the present moment, it is just you and your surroundings. Listen to it. Be present. Quiet your mind and just be. Even though it may seem like a small thing, embrace the fact that right now, you are making a positive step, just by doing this. Every small step you take adds up to big steps. And by taking this first step, you are already on your way to great change!

Make a conscious effort to become more aware of your thoughts and actions when it comes to your eating habits. Make it a personal goal to get enough essential vitamins and minerals and to stay hydrated throughout the day – because, let’s face it, it is quite impossible to make informed decisions about your health when you don’t have the necessary fuel your brain needs to do so. When a person suffers from an eating disorder, their choices are often not conscious choices – the decisions that end up being made are made by the disordered part of the brain (which is often the part that is too tired from lack of proper nutrition to think clearly). The voice within your head that tells you to binge, purge or starve yourself is not your rational voice. With practice, mindful thinking and mindful eating can help you get your true voice back.

Being mindful of eating regular meals is something we hear all too often, but understanding why it is so important can make such a difference in our lives. Our bodies are quite literally machines. They need a steady and constant supply of nutrition to keep them functioning at their optimal levels throughout the day. If you go all day without eating, you will feel tired and low. It’s as simple as that. In this state, there is no way that you can make informed decisions about anything in your life. Nutrition affects everything. Even the act of being mindful becomes impossible if you don’t have the basic fuel to help your brain function the way it needs to.

Another important thing to remember is that, within your mind, something called your “ego” poses as the real you. When you have an eating disorder, the faulty information that you get from this ego is what you inevitably come to believe. Wisdom comes from identifying with your true mind, or your true self. It is essential when attempting to overcome an eating disorder to separate your true mind from that ego state which is constantly giving you incorrect information. Once you make this separation, proper healing can begin. Make a conscious effort to listen to your true mind.

Armed with this new information, start putting it into practice. A good first step is to keep a journal. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just make an effort to recognize when you’re happy or sad, stressed, angry or overwhelmed. Make a chart. What types of foods do you choose during these varying times? Keeping track of your moods and the actions that stem from them is important in helping you make some major changes in your life and can be an essential step in your road to healing.

Don’t react blindly to stressful stimuli and make unhealthy choices. Remember – you’re worth more than that! It is also vital to make sure you don’t give up if you don’t start achieving the results you want right away. It’s one of the biggest mistakes we make as human beings. We get frustrated when we don’t see immediate results, so we are too quick to say, “This doesn’t work!” or “I put the effort in, but I still failed.” Don’t fall victim to this way of thinking. In reality, you will NEVER fail as long as you are willing to keep trying. Set-backs are different. Set-backs do not make you a failure. They simply make you human. The most important thing is to pick yourself up after you stumble and keep going. Learn from your experiences and keep moving forward. Stick with it. Nothing worthwhile ever truly comes easy – especially something as serious as overcoming an eating disorder. It will take time to achieve the results you seek. But with dedication those results WILL come.

YOU hold the power to change your life for the better. Managing and overcoming an eating disorder is no easy feat. But it IS possible. And no longer does success have to happen to “someone else”… right now, the time has come for you to start this journey.

Dr Irina Webster MD is a recognised authority in the eating disorders area. She is an author of many books on women health. She propagates mindfulness therapy and neuroplasticity as a treatment for eating disorders.

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