Grace Moy O’Brien
(published in EZ Australia vol. 14-18)
Do you know that you go through the process of meditation every night before you fall asleep?
In Tibetan language the word for meditation is ‘gom’. It means to familiarise or to know. Therefore to meditate is to know yourself, your true essence.
Meditation is simply turning your attention inward, putting aside the conscious mind and accessing the unconscious, that which is hidden, which lies beneath.
According to research conducted by cognitive neuroscientists, we act from the conscious mind only 5% of the time, and we are governed by the unconscious 95% of the time. Dr. Emmanuel Donchin, director of the Laboratory for Cognitive Psychophysiology, University of Illinois, thinks this disparity may even be greater. He says, “An enormous portion of cognitive activity is non-conscious, figuratively speaking, it could be 99 percent; we probably will never know precisely how much is outside awareness.”
To quote theologian, E. Stanley Jones, “The conscious mind determines the actions, the unconscious mind determines the reactions; and the reactions are just as important as the actions.”
So, why is it necessary to meditate?
The more we meditate, the more we understand our unconscious mind. And the more we understand our unconscious, the more we know ourselves. We then become more aware as individuals and as a society.
Meditation is the process of entering into an altered state of consciousness, a state that is different from your normal waking state. When you fall asleep every night, you move through various altered states of consciousness. In other words, you alter your brain frequencies.
When you are going about your life during the day, focussing at work, or juggling the kids, you are operating in what is known as beta brain frequency, which oscillates between 13–30Hz.
When you hop into bed at night, your body prepares for sleep. Your breathing slows down, the body relaxes, and your brain starts to drop down into alpha frequency (8-12Hz). At this point, you are still awake but feeling rested.
As you progress down into sleep, your brain moves into the theta cycle (4-7Hz). This is the pleasant drowsy state between sleep and wakefulness.
Finally, when you drop into deep sleep, your brain surfs into delta brain wave (0.5-4Hz).
Meditation is simply the process of slowing the brain frequencies down into low alpha and theta states. The only difference between meditation and sleep is that the meditator trains themself to remain in theta state, without dropping into deep sleep. This can be a very powerful state which is associated with feelings of bliss and oneness. Many people report a beautiful feeling of lightness and connecting deeply with their heart.
This theta state is also associated with our subconscious and unconscious mind. Therefore, the more familiar we are with our unconscious, the more we experience and delight in who we truly are.
There are also other lesser researched brain states known as gamma, epsilon and lambda These frequencies are associated with extreme states of unity with the universe, mystical experiences, epiphanies, and spiritual awakenings.
It is at this point that this writer must warn you about the dangers of meditation. Should you decide to indulge, you need to be prepared for the following:
- feel deliriously happy for no good reason
- find yourself wearing a silly grin on your face
- feel a sense of peace with yourself and the world
- experience a healthy and stable blood pressure
- your friends and family commenting on how young and vibrant you look
- loving life and everyone around you
The above are but just a few dangers of meditation. Question is, are you brave enough to indulge?