A Brainwave Entrainment Primer

I could save myself a lot of typing by simply copying and pasting this great article explaining how Transparent Corporation’s Brainwave Entrainment Software works. Instead, I’ll quickly outline it in my own words and pinch a few illustrations from the article, but if you’re new to bwe, I encourage you to read their article and continue on to some of the links within it. In my opinion, Transparent Corp knows more about the subject than anyone else and their software is the best value on the market. They may not be as sexy as the others, but they know what they’re doing.

Brainwave Entrainment from a Surfer’s Perspective

I’m kind of proud of the fact that the concept of brainwaves as carriers of consciousness occurred to me long before I knew what brainwave entrainment was. It happened while I was sitting out in the water waiting for a wave. Two things came to mind as a small wave passed underneath me:

  1. The actual wave was composed of pure energy. As the energy ‘wave’ or ‘pulse’ passed through the water, it caused the water to swell, giving the illusion that a wave of water was travelling across the sea.
  2. Brainwaves are waves of electromagnetic energy. Their only tangible substance comes from the consciousness that ‘rides’ them like a surfer rides a wave.

Those two thoughts gave rise to an entire novel in which I explored what might happen after a near death experience, when one ‘flatlines’ and experiences no brainwave activity at all. Soul Surfer was a pretty terrible novel, but writing it was a great experience. But I digress.

Surfing brainwaves (click image to visit Transparent Corp)

When we’re wide awake, we ride waves of relatively fast ‘beta’ brainwaves. When we daydream, meditate or start to fall off to sleep, we experience ‘alpha’ brainwaves and corresponding changes in perception (often a switch from verbal thinking to imaginative or pictorial thinking). ‘Theta’ brainwaves take us deeper still, into the realm of dreams and lucid dreams. Most of us don’t experience anything at all when we’re in the slow delta state, which is associated with deep, dreamless sleep, but with luck or practice, we can experience waking deep sleep.

Kelly Slater, the world's best surfer, surfing a perfect wave

Brainwave entrainment is a lot like surfing. An audio or visual stimulus comes to us from outside and our brains respond by picking up on the frequency and recreating it through a mechanism called the frequency following response. In turn, our consciousness ‘rides’ the brainwave frequency created by this response.

Any surfer can tell you that the downside of surfing is that the waves you want to ride aren’t always available. Wave pools were invented in order to create surfing waves of different sizes when nature lets us down. Brainwave entrainment software is a lot like that. You can pick and choose the types of brainwaves you want to ‘surf’ just by picking a track that matches that frequency.

Now for my pitch: I’ve been using Transparent Corporation’s bwe products for years, ever since I realised I had been suckered by the biggest name in binaural beats. In that time, I’ve seen the company go from strength to strength in its own quiet way, while other more faddish bwe products have faded away. A relative newcomer to the Transparent product line is their Beyond Being meditation audio collection. If you click the link, you’ll be taken to the product description page. If you’re like me, it will be a refreshing experience. Instead of promising you an instant out-of-body experience, it will tell you that:

Most people come to this page hoping to have an out-of-body experience (OOBE), although that is not the sole purpose of this collection. No CD (or any other product) can guarantee that you will have an OOBE. In our experience, some people are more susceptible to them than others. That said, we continually receive reports from people who have experienced their first OOBEs or lucid dreams while using the Beyond Being collection.

The text goes on to say that OOBE or not,  it “will give you a wild mental ‘ride’ and will be a lot of fun.” Go on, give Transparent Corp a try. In the interests of ‘transparency,’ yes, I have an affiliate relationship with them and will receive a commission if you buy their products. Thanks in advance.


A Message to My Subscribers

Some of you might be getting this as an email, so won’t immediately see the small but significant change I’ve made to this site. I’ve decided to cancel my subscription to Feed Blitz and have replaced that signup form with a Feedburner form. That means those of you who have kindly subscribed to my newsletter will only be getting one or two more.

The reason I’ve decided to do this is because Feedblitz is a service I have to pay for. It’s on a sliding scale and is very reasonably priced, but now that I’ve got a number of subscribers, it’s becoming unreasonably priced for me. I don’t make any money from this site, so paying for the service seems a little silly. I do like knowing that some people are interested in following my blogs, though, so if you want to keep receiving notifications, please subscribe to my feedburner feed at the top of the sidebar.

Another reason I’m discontinuing my mailing list is that I always feel pressure to write something and that was never the intention of a Cookbook of Consciousness. I want to add content here as I feel inspired to do so, not because I feel like I have to. At the moment, I’m on a roll with my Writing Resources blogs and my Sihanoukville Journal gets infinitely more traffic than this and actually earns me a modest income (think piggy bank, not bank account), so I’m motivated to blog there quite a bit, too. Between 3 blogs and a full time writing career, I spend far too much time tapping away at my keyboard and far too little in La-La Land exploring more interesting parts of my consciousness or outside getting some exercise.

Speaking of consciousness, I’m back to doing brainwave entrainment after a long lay-off, so expect to see some articles about that and related subjects soon.

Thanks very much for subscribing, subscribers and for visiting, visitors. It’s nice to see so many people visiting my site each month and that many of you stick around to read more than one page. It takes about 10 seconds to type in your email address and click ‘subscribe’, so please do!

Something Picasso Said

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso

I ran across something Picasso said on Facebook the other day. This is what he said:

The ‘refined’, the ‘rich’, the ‘professional do nothing’, the ‘distiller of quintessence’ desire only the peculiar, and sensational, the eccentric, the scandalous in today’s art. And I myself, since the advent of cubism, have fed these fellows what they wanted and satisfied these critics with all the ridiculous ideas that have passed through my head. The less they understood, the more they have admired me! …Today, as you know, I am celebrated, I am rich. But when I am alone, I do not have the effrontery to consider myself an artist at all, not in the grand meaning of the word. …I am only a public clown, a mountebank. I have understood my time and exploited the imbecility, the vanity, the greed of my contemporaries. It is a bitter confession, this confession of mine, more painful than it may seem. But, at least, and at last, it does have the merit of being honest.

I had never really thought about Picasso much until I read that. When I was younger, I wondered what all the fuss was about. When I got older, I read a few scholarly articles about him in order to try to understand why he was so important. Finally, I decided I just didn’t get it and put him out of my mind.

In my more cynical moments, I thought exactly what Picasso says above; almost word-for-word. Now that I’ve read them, I have more respect for the man than ever before. I also have a little more respect for my own opinion than I used to have.

I’ve always  made it a point to keep my opinions in check. In my opinion :), deeply held opinions are a sure sign of a closed mind and it often seems that the more fiercely we cling to them, the more we are hiding from ourselves. In the case of Picasso, I always felt a lot of pressure to either learn to appreciate his genius or accept the fact that I was a dullard who didn’t “get” art. I took the middle ground and just accepted the fact that I didn’t “get” Picasso. He didn’t resonate with me, so why pretend?

I don’t want to belabour this subject, so I’ll close. I just couldn’t let this opportunity to say, “I told you so” to a couple of people who actually turned and walked away from me when I suggested that Picasso was a gifted commercial artist and nothing more pass.

I told you so.



Go See Sai Baba in Bangalore

If there was one guru I didn’t want to see in India, it was Satya Sai Baba. Between his dubious miracles, his afro haircut and the way he put on such a show, something about him really turned me off, even before I started hearing the rumours about him. So I wasn’t exactly thrilled when Neem Naroli Baba told me to “go see Sai Baba in Bangalore.”

Neem Karoli Samadhi at Vrindavan

Neem Karoli Samadhi at Vrindavan

In this case, it was a “direct order.” Maharaji was leaving his Vrindavan ashram. As was often the case, he wasn’t telling us where he was going and we were expected to leave the ashram. I got the rare opportunity to briefly ask him a question before he left, so I asked him where I should go in his absence. I was reluctant, though, so I decided to take a roundabout way of getting there.

First I went to Mumbai (then still called Bombay by most), where I called in on a soothsayer a lot of people swore by. He proceeded to tell me I would lead a relatively unremarkable life. I would never be rich, but I would have enough. I was going to have an indeterminate number of children and my later life would be more challenging and successful than my middle years. In retrospect, I can see that he was dead right, especially about the children, which he couldn’t see clearly. Well, I have two biological children and now have four young children who call me ‘Papa’ and who depend upon me.

Anjuna Beach, Goa - 1975

From Goa Gil's Photo Gallery: http://www.goagil.com/photogallery/Scrapbook/

From Mumbai, I took the ferry to Goa. I’m told Goa is much the same today as it was back then only bigger and more upmarket. Back in 1972 (or was it still ’71?), all that existed in the way of backpacker accommodations was little shacks on the beach and I’m sure there were no big hotels or resorts. The weather was glorious and after such a long stretch of time away from the beach and the hippy lifestyle, I decided to take a break from “the spiritual life” and try hedonism for a few days. Without going into graphic detail, let’s just say I pulled out all the stops, largely because of a beautiful French girl wearing nothing but a lime green loincloth (mine was day glow orange) I met on the beach on my first day. That interlude lasted all of an hour, because she and her boyfriend were leaving, but it set the stage for the remainder of my sojourn in Goa.

After a few days naked in the Goa sun, I developed a bad case of sunstroke. To top it off, I had diarrhoea, probably from the suss food I was eating and water I was drinking. Wasted and miserable, I decided to move on to Bangalore, as instructed by Maharaji. I still wasn’t excited about seeing Sai Baba, but it seemed prudent to take a break from the Goa lifestyle.

Sai Baba in 1972

Sai Baba in 1972

The truth is, I don’t remember anything about my trip to Bangalore except the moments before and after the occurrence I’ll describe shortly. I don’t remember how I got there, where I stayed, what or where I ate or how long I stayed. It’s all wiped from my memory banks. I do remember running across an old friend from Maui, because it was he who told me how my girlfriend had died two years previously. I knew she was dead because my former employer had sent me a telegram, but it was Bob (who had changed his name to ‘Baba’ and pronounced himself a guru) who told me she had driven off a cliff on the road to Hana. Strangely enough, I don’t remember meeting another friend and “saving his life” when I found him suffering from a bad case of hepatitis: his son told me about that some 20 years later when he stayed at my house in Australia. This is my one vivid memory from my trip to Bangalore:

Satya Sai Baba giving darshan

Satya Sai Baba giving darshan

It had to have been on the first or second day of my stay in Bangalore because I remember being barely able to drag myself to the scheduled Satya Sai Baba darshan. I wasn’t in the least bit keen to do it, but that’s what Maharaji had told me to do, so that’s what I was going to do. Somehow, I got a “front row seat.” From memory, there was a wide central pathway (I even remember a red carpet?!?) on either side of which long rows of devotees awaited Sai Baba’s appearance. While they waited in breathless anticipation of his arrival, I slumped miserably in the  half lotus position, which was comfortable for me then, waiting for it to all be over.

When Sai Baba made his appearance, it was exactly as I imagined it would be. He sauntered down the aisle, stopping now and then to bless a random devotee or make a little vibhuti. As he got closer to me, I became increasingly determined not to touch his feet if he came up to me or show him any other kind of respect. By then I had heard about his alleged sexual exploits. In fact, I think it was “Baba” (Bob) who warned me about him, but I could be wrong. As the story goes, he was a hermaphrodite who liked to have sex with boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 21 – or something like that.

Anyway, I was thinking about these things as he approached. Together with my sunstroke and diarrhoea, I was in no mood for niceties when Sai Baba sauntered up to me. I didn’t even bother to sit up straight, much less touch his feet. In fact, I positively glowered at him. What did he do in response? He smiled, said, “Acha! Very Good!” and tapped me gently on the top of the head.

I remember a rush of energy rising up my spine. I’d felt it many times before in meditation, but never that intensely or instantly. It actually spontaneously straightened my back and lifted my head. Whether what happened next was samadhi or not, I can’t tell you. I can’t tell you anything. It wasn’t samadhi as I had (possibly – it depends on one’s definition of the word, I suppose) previously experienced it. There were no waves of bliss. It was more like a waking deep sleep – no mental activity at all, but no loss of consciousness. When I “awoke” from it, I had no sense of time having passed, yet the courtyard was nearly deserted, so Sai Baba’s darshan must have ended some time before.

It took me a few minutes to regain my bearing and stand up, but when I did, I realised that my sunstroke was gone. I felt strong and healthy again and my mind was crystal clear. This didn’t come as a revelation or relief to me, though: it was just what had happened. Surprisingly, it didn’t change my attitude towards Sai Baba, either, other than to make me less judgemental about him. I felt no compulsion to have another darshan and I never did. Instead, I must have made arrangements to travel back to Brindavan, because I remember passing through Rajasthan on my way north.

Interestingly, this marks, more or less, one year since Satya Sai Baba’s death. Even that is a matter of controversy. Some say the actual day of his death was earlier than Easter Sunday, 2011, but those in charge kept it a secret in order to give the day greater significance. To be fair to Sai Baba, here is something he had to say about the current state of the world that rings true to me:

The passage of time has clouded the splendour of the message, the fascination exercised by the material and the worldly has drawn them away from the path, and the expansion of science and technology has made them conceited and wrong-headed. So, people now relish the very things prohibited and promote the very things condemned by religion. All religions teach that one should revere the parents and evince gratitude to them; but, ridiculing them and neglecting them have become fashionable now. All religions lay down that the aged are to be honoured, since they are the repositories of experience and their guidance is indispensable; but, now elders and the aged are treated as nuisances and handicapped. All religions insist on truth; but now, the man who sticks to truth is laughed at as if he were a fool. Cruelty and violence, condemned by all religions, have raised themselves to the status of weapons of progress and means for desirable ends. However, the basic truths of religion are not affected or tarnished by the evil that men practise or the competitive propaganda they indulge in.