There are a lot of things that I don’t’ know, I do know that I am happy, and often giddy with delight. That was not always the case but my life changed for the better when I began to meditate. The word for meditation in Sanskrit is “shamatha”, which means “peacefully abiding.”
You have heard it dozens of times “you should mediate” or “meditation is so good for you”.
You may have even tried it once or twice only to be disappointed or frustrated because you could not be still and your mind was racing.
THAT is NOT meditation.
It is the beginning of a process to start to reclaim and control your mind, to hopefully become a detached observer of your thoughts and feelings. (quick link to get right to the point) I encourage everyone to develop a meditative practice, but this post is about helping you find tools to help you begin to rewire your mind so that you can mediate and calm your mind. We are all just vibrating atoms moving along at different frequencies, by using sound and vibration we can entrain our minds to the vibratory state we want to be in. Much like an orchestra tuning before a performance if only one instrument is out of tune is affects the entire symphony. Just a little bit of tuning can create a beautiful harmony; the same can be true of our minds. At best, if you are starting later in life you are just trying to find concentration, maybe even single pointed concentration. How easily and causally people say “just clear your mind”. The sentiment is generally well intentioned, and offers the recipient the opportunity to figure out how to mediate, but most people who are told to “clear their minds” are already intrinsically stressed and require a bit more assistance to get the practice started. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce tools to facilitate this process. You have spent years, maybe even decades, hard-wiring your neurological system to be something else. You can change it and have a peaceful mind if you choose so but it will take work. Much like a surgeon or pianist must practice their craft if they expect success – you must practice to have a quiet mind. Imagine if you will, being invited to someone’s home but they don’t give you a map or directions. Depending on your ingenuity and determination you might one day find their house. Wouldn’t it be much easier with that map? The use of sound has been used for millennium to facilitate an altered, more relaxed and even sometimes euphoric state of consciousness.
This music is essentially a map to help re-wire your brain into a calmer state of mind. Go easy on yourself while you are beginning…we didn’t learned how to do this from an early age. Many of you, like myself, came to this later in life with tons of mental, emotional and spiritual obstacles. It is not easy, but the results are sooooo very worth it. It is called a practice for a reason, the rewards are life altering. There are multitudes of different ways to mediate; seated, walking, guided, focused, mantra, physical, creative…it keeps going. Basically anything that slows the brain waves and allows for a relaxed and “altered” state of consciousness. It’s not as scary as it may sound. Imagine our most relaxed and peaceful self or that space you feel just before drifting off to sleep. Ideally the brain waves slow from the normal Beta waves that we are using all day (to process, think, assess, and evaluate) to a slower Alpha or Theta wave. Physiologically the heart and respiration slow as well. When this happens we are in the “zone”, those moments in life where everything just effortlessly falls into pace. the mind begins to quite.
Meditation it will become easier as you uncover and release old and negative patterns that keep you from a loving and happy heart. When I began to meditate I struggled, sometimes I would have the most exquisite and relaxing meditations, a beginners luck, just touching on something I knew I wanted more of. It was some of those incredible meditations that had me continuing to show up and try to quiet my mind. Along the way I discovered that my mind was more easily settled when I would focus on my breath, a virtue, or a mantra. I began to use a few different Sanskrit ones until my thought would settle and I could just BE quiet and still. I have had two distinctly different experiences with music/vibration to not only deepen my mediation but to take me directly to the space I was seeking. While on a yoga teacher training I was introduced to Shamanic drumming and connected deeper than ever before to the space in my heart where we are connected to everything in the universe. Time and space ceased to exist. I was fascinated and looked for why and how. The other experience was with Binaurnal music, it almost immediately took me so deep with that it felt like time stopped. The use of these tools helped to rewire the neural pathways in my brain so that I could return to a theta state on my own unassisted. I suddenly knew where I was trying to get to with mediation, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. In the book Soul Retrieval by Sandra Ingerman states:
Many native Americans refer to drumming as “the heartbeat of the earth” In this regard it is remarkable that the electromagnetic resonance frequency of the earth, which has been measured at 7.5 cycles per second, is equivalent in brain waves to high theta low alpha. It appears that drumming allows shamans to align the brain waves with the pulse of the earth.
There are so many wonderful tools towards this end and I encourage you to find ones that resonate with you. The use of hemi-sync or binaurnal music is a great help. They are described by Dr. Gerald Oster, of Mt. Sinai Medical Center, in his paper printed in the October 1973 issue of Scientific American entitled “Auditory Beats in the Brain.” He explained how this method of delivering tones separately in each ear using different frequencies caused the brain to entrain to the difference in the two frequencies. For example, using headphones a frequency of 200 Hz is presented in one ear and a frequency of 210 Hz is sent to the other ear, the difference 10Hz is experienced in the brain. The binaural beat is an electrical signal not an actual sound that can be created only by both sides of the brain working together thereby improving the communication between the two hemispheres. This beat forces your brain into a deeper state of consciousness, so that as you are learning to calm your mind for yourself the music provides a road map to help you get there easier.
Here are some of the ones that I have enjoyed…keep in mind if you find ones that seem like nails on the caulk board find other ones.
We all have certain frequencies that we are aligned to and some that are distracting.
I’ve had great success with BrainSync by Kelly Howell, my personal favorite is Sacred Ground. You can sample and find ones that work for you – there are some great guided meditations. I like her stuff because the frequencies are combined with music…often the frequencies alone are difficult to listen to. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest diving right into the deep end of pure frequencies.
Try this one for 10 minutes – hardly a big commitment, but it could change the way you think about being able to meditate.
I don’t have an iphone but I know that there are a ton of apps for binaural music. If you find one you really like let me know so that I can share it with others!
We are all just vibration the science of cymatics– helps for you to SEE the patterns of sound. Different frequencies makes very different patterns…sound effects form…imagine it having a stronger effect on your well – being that you could have imagined.
Give it a try a few times a week, it could be a life changing tool!