Brains on fire


By the end of the twentieth-century, monks had become the favorite guinea pigs of the neuroscience laboratory. Scientists from Princeton, Harvard, the University of Wisconsin and the University of California–Davis wired up monks to state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and studying the effects of intensive, advanced meditation.
Monks offer scientists an opportunity to study whether years of focused attention stretch the brain beyond its usual limits. Does practice enable you to become a bigger and better transmitter of intention?

Like these scientists, I’m intrigued by ‘masters’ of intention: practitioners of ancient disciplines – Buddhism, Qigong, shamanism, traditional native healing – who had been trained to perform extraordinary acts through their thoughts.
I began studying scientific research about healing methods from a variety of traditions. In every instance, I discovered, the most important first step involved achieving a state of concentrated focus, or peak attention.
Virtually all native cultures carry out remote healing during an altered state of consciousness and achieve a state of concentrated focus through a variety of means. Although the use of hallucinogenic drugs such as ayahuasca is common, many cultures use a strong repetitive rhythm or beat to create that state; the Native American Ojibway wanbeno, for instance, use drumming, rattling, chanting, naked dancing and handling of live coals.
As Native Americans discovered, even intense heat, as in a sweat lodge, can transport individuals to an altered state.
Brains on stilts
I was especially interested in the effect of this intense concentration on the activity of the brain. Does the brain slow down or speed up? The received wisdom is that during meditation the brain slows down.
The bulk of the research examining the electrical activity of the brain during meditation indicates that meditation leads to a predominance of either alpha rhythms (slow, high-amplitude brain waves with frequencies of 8–13 hertz, or cycles per second), which also occurs during light dreaming, or even the slower theta waves (4–7 hertz), which typify the state of consciousness during deep sleep.
During ordinary waking consciousness, the brain operates much faster, using beta waves (around 13–40 hertz). For decades, the prevailing view has been that the optimum state for manifesting intention is an ‘alpha’ state.
Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist and psychologist at the University of Wisconsin’s Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, once put this view to the test. Davidson is an expert in ‘affective processing’ – the place where the brain processes emotion and the resulting communication between the brain and body.
His work had come to the attention of the Dalai Lama, who invited him to visit Dharamsala, India, in 1992; a science buff, his Holiness wished to understand more about the biological effects of intensive meditation.
Afterwards, eight of the Dalai Lama’s most seasoned practitioners of Nyingmapa and Kagyupa meditation were flown to Davidson’s lab in Wisconsin, where Davidson attached 256 EEG sensors to each monk’s scalp in order to record electrical activity from a large number of different areas in the brain.
The monks were then asked to carry out compassionate meditation.
After 15 seconds, according to the EEG readings, the monks’ brains did not slow down; they began speeding up. In fact, they were activated on a scale neither Davidson nor any other scientist had ever seen. The monitors showed sustained bursts of high gamma-band activity – rapid cycles of 25–70 hertz.
The monks had rapidly shifted from a high concentration of beta waves to a preponderance of alpha, back up to beta and finally up to gamma.
At a fever pitch
Gamma band, the highest rate of brain-wave frequencies, is employed by the brain when it is working its hardest: at a state of rapt attention, when sifting through working memory, during deep levels of learning, in the midst of great flashes of insight.
As Davidson discovered, when the brain operates at these extremely fast frequencies, the phases of brain waves (their times of peaking and troughing) all over the brain begin to operate in synchrony. This type of synchronization is considered crucial for achieving heightened awareness.
The gamma state is even believed to cause changes in the brain’s synapses – the junctions over which electrical impulses leap to send a message to a neuron, muscle or gland.
Neuroscientist Mario Beauregard refers to gamma brain states as ‘oceanic’, enabling you to move out of your small self to something larger, and recent experiments of his suggest that these gamma frequencies are infectious.
He embeds hidden gamma frequencies into music, which he plays to some volunteers during a meditation and then measures their brain frequencies. Repeatedly, the brains of his listeners begin to evidence a ‘resonance response’, a greater percentage of these same high frequencies.
Just listening to these hidden frequencies, even if you don’t know you are doing so, entrains your brain to imitate them
The larger self
‘If you change the brain waves,’ Beauregard told me, ‘you change a person’s sense of identity. The sense of self-shifts and the self-becomes larger.’
When experiencing this oceanic state, they move from the small self, which is solely interested in their own reactions to the exterior world, to a larger self. ‘In that expanded state, they can more easily let go of chronic emotional patterns and limiting beliefs,’ he says. ‘And it’s easier for them to feel universal love.’
And that’s exactly what I find in my Peace Intention Experiments and Power of Eight® groups:  people move from the small self to connect with the entire world. Repeatedly my participants report intense altered states: ‘It’s as if my brain is wired to a bigger network,’ wrote one after participating in one of my Peace Experiments.
And they didn’t need ayahuasca or a sweat lodge.
The only thing they needed, the only thing that mattered, was intending in a group.

Facebook Comments

We embed Facebook Comments plugin to allow you to leave comment at our website using your Facebook account. This plugin may collect your IP address, your web browser User Agent, store and retrieve cookies on your browser, embed additional tracking, and monitor your interaction with the commenting interface, including correlating your Facebook account with whatever action you take within the interface (such as “liking” someone’s comment, replying to other comments), if you are logged into Facebook. For more information about how this data may be used, please see Facebook’s data privacy policy:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

901 comments on “Brains on fire”

  1. Very interesting. Unfortunately I'm not able to find enough peace of mind to meditate. This also raises my interest in gamma embedded music..!

  2. I think that not only our thoughts influence our cadiac and cerebral rhythm but also our whole body on the cellular plane. Moreover, we should all be aware of the responsibility of the thoughts we give, good or bad (in the matrix or in the quantum field); Because these same thoughts have and will sooner or later have an impact (by a rebound effect) on ourselves but also on other people around us!

  3. Years ago I read that playing Mozart's violin concertos would calm even a classroom full of rowdy young infants. Does anyone know if this music has been tested for gamma waves?

  4. mexico pharmacy [url=]reputable mexican pharmacies online[/url] mexican pharmaceuticals online

  5. mexican mail order pharmacies [url=]reputable mexican pharmacies online[/url] reputable mexican pharmacies online

  6. mexican border pharmacies shipping to usa [url=]pharmacies in mexico that ship to usa[/url] mexico pharmacies prescription drugs

  7. mexican rx online [url=]mexico pharmacies prescription drugs[/url] buying from online mexican pharmacy

  8. buying prescription drugs in mexico [url=]п»їbest mexican online pharmacies[/url] п»їbest mexican online pharmacies

  9. mexico pharmacies prescription drugs [url=]п»їbest mexican online pharmacies[/url] medicine in mexico pharmacies

  10. mexican online pharmacies prescription drugs
    buying prescription drugs in mexico online [url=]mexican online pharmacies prescription drugs[/url] п»їbest mexican online pharmacies

  11. mexican border pharmacies shipping to usa [url=]buying from online mexican pharmacy[/url] buying prescription drugs in mexico online

  12. reputable mexican pharmacies online [url=]buying prescription drugs in mexico online[/url] mexico pharmacy

  13. mexico pharmacies prescription drugs [url=]mexican online pharmacies prescription drugs[/url] medicine in mexico pharmacies

  14. п»їbest mexican online pharmacies [url=]mexican mail order pharmacies[/url] mexican online pharmacies prescription drugs

  15. mexican pharmaceuticals online [url=]reputable mexican pharmacies online[/url] purple pharmacy mexico price list

  16. purple pharmacy mexico price list [url=]п»їbest mexican online pharmacies[/url] best online pharmacies in mexico

  17. medication from mexico pharmacy [url=]best online pharmacies in mexico[/url] best online pharmacies in mexico

  18. mexico drug stores pharmacies [url=]medicine in mexico pharmacies[/url] mexico drug stores pharmacies

  19. pharmacies in mexico that ship to usa
    pharmacies in mexico that ship to usa [url=]reputable mexican pharmacies online[/url] п»їbest mexican online pharmacies

  20. lisinopril 20 25 mg tab [url=]rx lisinopril[/url] buy lisinopril 5mg

  21. lasix 20 mg [url=]Over The Counter Lasix[/url] lasix generic name

  22. prednisone 20mg online without prescription [url=]prednisone cream[/url] where to buy prednisone in canada

  23. india pharmacy [url=]indian pharmacy paypal[/url] cheapest online pharmacy india

  24. doxycycline 500mg [url=]doxycycline 100mg price[/url] odering doxycycline

  25. natural alternatives to tamoxifen [url=]nolvadex pills[/url] does tamoxifen make you tired

  26. diflucan pill otc [url=]order diflucan online[/url] diflucan singapore

  27. tamoxifen for breast cancer prevention [url=]tamoxifen estrogen[/url] tamoxifen breast cancer prevention

  28. buy diflucan cheap [url=]diflucan tablet india[/url] diflucan tablet price in india

  29. canadian pharmacy cheap [url=]Canada pharmacy[/url] canadianpharmacymeds com

  30. canadian pharmacy uk delivery [url=]Cheapest drug prices Canada[/url] canadian pharmacy ltd

  31. indian pharmacy online [url=]indian pharmacy[/url] indian pharmacy online

  32. can i buy amoxicillin online [url=]azithromycin amoxicillin[/url] buy amoxicillin canada

  33. where can i get cheap clomid without insurance [url=]cost cheap clomid without prescription[/url] how to buy cheap clomid online

  34. prednisone coupon [url=]prednisone medicine[/url] prednisone cost us

  35. buying prescription drugs in canada [url=]mail order prescriptions from canada[/url] pharmacy no prescription

  36. canadian prescription drugstore review [url=]online pharmacy reviews no prescription[/url] indian pharmacy no prescription

  37. mexico prescription drugs online [url=]mexican pharmacies no prescription[/url] indian pharmacy no prescription

  38. reputable indian pharmacies [url=]top 10 online pharmacy in india[/url] Online medicine home delivery

  39. reputable indian online pharmacy [url=]best online pharmacy india[/url] reputable indian pharmacies

  40. cheapest online pharmacy india [url=]india online pharmacy[/url] Online medicine order

  41. mexican pharmacies no prescription [url=]online meds no prescription[/url] canadian rx prescription drugstore

  42. india pharmacy [url=]top online pharmacy india[/url] п»їlegitimate online pharmacies india

  43. buying prescription drugs in mexico online [url=]buying prescription drugs in mexico[/url] medicine in mexico pharmacies

  44. mexican online pharmacies prescription drugs [url=]mexican pharmacy[/url] buying prescription drugs in mexico online

  45. mexico drug stores pharmacies [url=]mexican pharmacy[/url] mexican pharmaceuticals online

  46. mexican pharmacy [url=]mexican pharmacy[/url] medicine in mexico pharmacies

  47. indian pharmacy paypal [url=]Cheapest online pharmacy[/url] indian pharmacy paypal

  48. reputable canadian pharmacy [url=]canadianpharmacymeds com[/url] canada pharmacy online

  49. canada pharmacy [url=]canadian pharmacy 24[/url] www canadianonlinepharmacy

  50. canadian pharmacy in canada [url=]Certified Canadian Pharmacy[/url] canada drugs online reviews

  51. buying prescription drugs in mexico online [url=]best online pharmacies in mexico[/url] mexican rx online

  52. zithromax cost australia [url=]order zithromax without prescription[/url] zithromax for sale us

  53. prednisone daily use [url=]buy prednisone online canada[/url] prednisone 20 mg

  54. buy amoxicillin 500mg [url=]where can i buy amoxicillin online[/url] generic amoxicillin online

  55. Generic Viagra online [url=]buy viagra online[/url] viagra canada

  56. sildenafil over the counter [url=]sildenafil iq[/url] Sildenafil Citrate Tablets 100mg

  57. cheapest viagra [url=]best price on viagra[/url] Viagra tablet online

  58. Kamagra 100mg price [url=]Sildenafil Oral Jelly[/url] Kamagra tablets

  59. buy medicines online in india [url=]world pharmacy india[/url] Online medicine home delivery

  60. india pharmacy mail order [url=]world pharmacy india[/url] indian pharmacy

  61. mexican pharmaceuticals online [url=]п»їbest mexican online pharmacies[/url] mexican rx online

  62. indian pharmacy online [url=]reputable indian pharmacies[/url] india online pharmacy

  63. best online pharmacies in mexico [url=]online pharmacy in Mexico[/url] mexico pharmacies prescription drugs

  64. india pharmacy [url=]indian pharmacy[/url] top 10 online pharmacy in india

  65. buy cytotec over the counter [url=]Abortion pills online[/url] Cytotec 200mcg price

  66. doxycycline hydrochloride 100mg [url=]how to buy doxycycline online[/url] buy cheap doxycycline online

  67. generic doxycycline [url=]generic doxycycline[/url] buy doxycycline monohydrate

  68. ciprofloxacin generic price [url=]ciprofloxacin over the counter[/url] cipro 500mg best prices

  69. doxycycline 150 mg [url=]cheap doxycycline online[/url] doxycycline 50mg

  70. buy ciprofloxacin over the counter [url=]ciprofloxacin order online[/url] ciprofloxacin mail online

  71. what is tamoxifen used for [url=]tamoxifen blood clots[/url] tamoxifen lawsuit

  72. how to buy doxycycline online [url=]where to purchase doxycycline[/url] doxycycline 200 mg

  73. Abortion pills online [url=]cytotec abortion pill[/url] cytotec buy online usa

  74. where can i buy nolvadex [url=]tamoxifen breast cancer prevention[/url] tamoxifen and osteoporosis

  75. prednisone 5 mg tablet without a prescription [url=]prednisone 200 mg tablets[/url] prednisone brand name in usa

  76. ivermectin for sale [url=]stromectol 3 mg price[/url] stromectol 12mg

  77. ivermectin [url=]stromectol ivermectin buy[/url] stromectol buy

  78. erectile dysfunction pills for sale [url=]erectile dysfunction meds online[/url] online ed medicine

  79. mail order prescription drugs from canada [url=]buying prescription drugs from canada[/url] canadian pharmacy discount coupon

  80. web c? b?c online uy tin [url=]web c? b?c online uy tin[/url] danh bai tr?c tuy?n

  81. casino tr?c tuy?n uy tin [url=]casino tr?c tuy?n vi?t nam[/url] web c? b?c online uy tin

  82. casino tr?c tuy?n vi?t nam [url=]casino tr?c tuy?n uy tin[/url] casino tr?c tuy?n vi?t nam

  83. danh bai tr?c tuy?n [url=]game c? b?c online uy tin[/url] web c? b?c online uy tin

  84. danh bai tr?c tuy?n [url=]web c? b?c online uy tin[/url] web c? b?c online uy tin

  85. choi casino tr?c tuy?n tren di?n tho?i [url=]web c? b?c online uy tin[/url] casino online uy tin

  86. casino tr?c tuy?n vi?t nam [url=]choi casino tr?c tuy?n tren di?n tho?i[/url] casino online uy tin

  87. casino tr?c tuy?n vi?t nam [url=]casino tr?c tuy?n vi?t nam[/url] casino online uy tin

  88. reputable mexican pharmacies online [url=]mexican border pharmacies shipping to usa[/url] purple pharmacy mexico price list

  89. buy canadian drugs [url=]canadian pharmacies[/url] cheap canadian pharmacy online

  90. canada drugs reviews [url=]canadian pharmacies[/url] canada online pharmacy

  91. mexico pharmacies prescription drugs [url=]Online Pharmacies in Mexico[/url] mexican mail order pharmacies

  92. medicine in mexico pharmacies [url=]mexican pharmacy[/url] buying prescription drugs in mexico online

  93. mexican pharmacy [url=]Online Pharmacies in Mexico[/url] mexican online pharmacies prescription drugs

  94. mexican pharmaceuticals online [url=]Online Pharmacies in Mexico[/url] mexican online pharmacies prescription drugs

  95. canadian drugs online [url=]canadian pharmacies[/url] canadian pharmacy antibiotics

  96. pharmacy website india [url=]buy medicines online in india[/url] online shopping pharmacy india

  97. canadian pharmacy scam [url=]Large Selection of Medications from Canada[/url] canadadrugpharmacy com

  98. mexican rx online [url=]Mexican Pharmacy Online[/url] п»їbest mexican online pharmacies

  99. canadian pharmacy 365 [url=]Certified Canadian Pharmacies[/url] buying from canadian pharmacies

  100. top 10 online pharmacy in india [url=]buy medicines from India[/url] india online pharmacy

  101. buying from online mexican pharmacy [url=]mexico pharmacy[/url] pharmacies in mexico that ship to usa

  102. legitimate canadian mail order pharmacy [url=]canadian drugs pharmacy[/url] canadian compounding pharmacy

  103. canadapharmacyonline [url=]Prescription Drugs from Canada[/url] pharmacy in canada

  104. indian pharmacy online [url=]buy medicines from India[/url] world pharmacy india

  105. medicine in mexico pharmacies [url=]Online Pharmacies in Mexico[/url] mexico drug stores pharmacies

  106. indian pharmacy [url=]india pharmacy[/url] online pharmacy india

  107. india pharmacy mail order [url=]indian pharmacy fast delivery[/url] indianpharmacy com

  108. online pharmacy india [url=]indian pharmacy[/url] п»їlegitimate online pharmacies india

  109. best online pharmacy india [url=]online pharmacy india[/url] mail order pharmacy india

  110. buying from online mexican pharmacy [url=]cheapest mexico drugs[/url] buying prescription drugs in mexico

  111. mexican pharmaceuticals online [url=]mexican pharmacy[/url] mexican border pharmacies shipping to usa

  112. indianpharmacy com [url=]Generic Medicine India to USA[/url] indian pharmacies safe

  113. buy canadian drugs [url=]Prescription Drugs from Canada[/url] canadian pharmacy tampa

  114. canadian pharmacy 24 com [url=]Licensed Canadian Pharmacy[/url] best canadian pharmacy to order from

  115. medicine in mexico pharmacies [url=]mexican pharmacy[/url] mexican pharmaceuticals online

  116. 77 canadian pharmacy [url=]Prescription Drugs from Canada[/url] drugs from canada

  117. legal to buy prescription drugs from canada [url=]Licensed Canadian Pharmacy[/url] my canadian pharmacy

  118. mail order pharmacy india [url=]Cheapest online pharmacy[/url] online pharmacy india

  119. indian pharmacies safe [url=]Generic Medicine India to USA[/url] world pharmacy india

  120. best online canadian pharmacy [url=]canadian pharmacies[/url] maple leaf pharmacy in canada

  121. indian pharmacy [url=]indian pharmacy fast delivery[/url] buy prescription drugs from india

  122. top online pharmacy india [url=]indian pharmacy[/url] india pharmacy

  123. canada pharmacy reviews [url=]canadian pharmacies[/url] canadian pharmacy 365

  124. buying from online mexican pharmacy [url=]Online Pharmacies in Mexico[/url] mexico pharmacies prescription drugs

  125. lisinopril 200 mg [url=]lisinopril without rx[/url] lisinopril 5mg tablets

  126. lisinopril 3 [url=]lisinopril 5 mg for sale[/url] generic for zestril

  127. zestril 2.5 [url=]zestril 2.5 mg tablets[/url] lisinopril 19 mg

  128. cytotec pills buy online [url=]Cytotec 200mcg price[/url] purchase cytotec

  129. tamoxifen dosage [url=]nolvadex only pct[/url] tamoxifen warning

  130. lisinopril [url=]16 lisinopril[/url] lisinopril prescription

  131. cytotec abortion pill [url=]cytotec pills buy online[/url] cytotec buy online usa

  132. buy cipro online without prescription [url=]buy ciprofloxacin over the counter[/url] buy ciprofloxacin

  133. nolvadex for pct [url=]alternatives to tamoxifen[/url] raloxifene vs tamoxifen

  134. nolvadex d [url=]alternative to tamoxifen[/url] tamoxifen breast cancer prevention

  135. cost of propecia pill [url=]buy propecia now[/url] propecia without insurance

  136. lisinopril generic drug [url=]lisinopril 420[/url] lisinopril cost uk

  137. buying cheap propecia prices [url=]get generic propecia online[/url] get propecia without rx

  138. lisinopril 40 mg [url=]lisinopril 10 12.55mg[/url] lisinopril 30 mg daily

  139. lisinopril tablets [url=]lisinopril 20 mg tabs[/url] buy lisinopril 2.5 mg online

  140. lisinopril 5 mg over the counter [url=]lisinopril 20 mg tablet price[/url] zestril price in india

  141. cost of generic propecia [url=]order cheap propecia prices[/url] buy propecia pill

  142. ciprofloxacin over the counter [url=]purchase cipro[/url] buy cipro online

  143. nolvadex price [url=]raloxifene vs tamoxifen[/url] buy tamoxifen

  144. buy misoprostol over the counter [url=]buy cytotec over the counter[/url] cytotec buy online usa

  145. Generic Viagra online [url=]Buy Viagra online[/url] cheapest viagra

  146. Purchase Cenforce Online [url=]cenforce for sale[/url] Cenforce 150 mg online

  147. buy cialis pill [url=]Generic Tadalafil 20mg price[/url] п»їcialis generic

  148. sildenafil oral jelly 100mg kamagra [url=]buy kamagra online[/url] super kamagra

  149. sildenafil oral jelly 100mg kamagra [url=]kamagra[/url] Kamagra Oral Jelly

  150. sildenafil oral jelly 100mg kamagra [url=]kamagra[/url] buy kamagra online usa

  151. Buy Vardenafil 20mg [url=]Buy generic Levitra online[/url] Levitra 20 mg for sale