Author Topic: "Sensations flooding the Mind"/Alpha Brain Waves/On the Cusp of Sleep  (Read 3771 times)

BVAaron

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I recently read an interesting article on meditation:

http://thewayofmeditation.com.au/blog/learn-how-to-meditate/

Nothing special at first glance, but that bit about memories and sensations "flooding in" caught my eye.

For years- even before I started meditating- sometimes when I'm lying in bed falling asleep, I've noticed that my night will effortlessly start projecting strange, seemingly random/unrelated images and playing incredibly beautiful/talented music I've never heard before (but sometimes based on music I was listening to that day. Regardless, I'm not a skilled musician of any sort). When I was in college, I would also get "genius" ideas about fiction stories I was writing. I never really knew what to attribute this to and thought it was random, but I eventually learned it has something to do with alpha brain waves, which are the waves the brain emits when you're falling asleep and are also related to creativity.

After reading this article, I'm now wondering if that's what's happening to me... "sensations" and etc "flooding" my mind

I'm still a beginner to meditation so this never happens to me when I meditate while I awake. It also happens when I focus/meditate when I'm lying in bed and on the cusp of sleep.

I'm curious as to what you all think of this. Is this a meditation-related phenomenon or something else? I would love to be able to harness this kind of power. The music I hear is incredible, something i'm not capable of producing in my head during the day, and it's even helped me to become momentarily lucid in my dreams.

Goofaholix

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The article says "thoughts will come rushing, sights sounds and sensations will occur, memories, plans will flood in", are you saying this never happens when you meditate?  This is usually one of the first things that hits people when they start meditation, they notice they can't stay with the meditation object because "thoughts will come rushing, sights sounds and sensations will occur, memories, plans will flood in".

I would say either you're not paying attention or you're not sitting for long enough.

bomega

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I couldn't get the article to load. However, regular meditation is a way to entrain the brain to produce alpha waves. When you are in an alert, but relaxed state you are in that alpha wave state. Its a fairly well-studied phenomenon, beginning with the 60's, TM and the Relaxation Response.

The experience you had in the past might seem special and coming from outside of your, but really its just you. You can have that all the time if you keep practicing.

BVAaron

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The article says "thoughts will come rushing, sights sounds and sensations will occur, memories, plans will flood in", are you saying this never happens when you meditate?  This is usually one of the first things that hits people when they start meditation, they notice they can't stay with the meditation object because "thoughts will come rushing, sights sounds and sensations will occur, memories, plans will flood in".

I would say either you're not paying attention or you're not sitting for long enough.

Well when it talks about "thoughts will come rushing, sights sounds and sensations will occur, memories, plans will flood in", it's saying that rather than trying to still your mind, you shouldn't do anything to change them. Maybe I'm misreading it, but I took it as something separate from when it says "Every-time you notice yourself distracted by thinking gently guide your bare attention back to the breath and return to calmly watching the breath." The latter, to me, sounds like the basic distractions we deal with. The former sounds like something different


BVAaron

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I couldn't get the article to load. However, regular meditation is a way to entrain the brain to produce alpha waves. When you are in an alert, but relaxed state you are in that alpha wave state. Its a fairly well-studied phenomenon, beginning with the 60's, TM and the Relaxation Response.

The experience you had in the past might seem special and coming from outside of your, but really its just you. You can have that all the time if you keep practicing.

What is TM and the Relaxation Response? I'm very interested in this

I've delved into binaural beats recently, and I know that tracks using alpha wave frequencies are used to induce creativity. I haven't seen many effects, if any, from BB, but if meditation can help me reach that state then I have something to work toward

It definitely feels special. If I could achieve that kind of creativity while conscious, it would be like a kind of superpower

Goofaholix

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Well when it talks about "thoughts will come rushing, sights sounds and sensations will occur, memories, plans will flood in", it's saying that rather than trying to still your mind, you shouldn't do anything to change them. Maybe I'm misreading it, but I took it as something separate from when it says "Every-time you notice yourself distracted by thinking gently guide your bare attention back to the breath and return to calmly watching the breath." The latter, to me, sounds like the basic distractions we deal with. The former sounds like something different

Both are talking about the basic distractions we deal with.

Yes you shouldn't try to change them, and yes whenever you realise you are caught up in them you should gently guide your bare attention back to the breath.

bomega

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What is TM and the Relaxation Response? I'm very interested in this

I've delved into binaural beats recently, and I know that tracks using alpha wave frequencies are used to induce creativity. I haven't seen many effects, if any, from BB, but if meditation can help me reach that state then I have something to work toward

It definitely feels special. If I could achieve that kind of creativity while conscious, it would be like a kind of superpower
TM is transcendental meditation. Back in the 60's Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought mantra meditation to the west, charging exhorbitant fees to get an "exclusive mantra" that was going to lead students to god or something. Since it was popular with countercultural scientists back then to study eastern practices, biofeedback practitioners studied people who did this meditation and discovered that people produced alpha waves in the frontal lobes when they did this meditation. Furthermore, that producing these waves resulted in a strong feeling of relaxation and well-being, and they called that the Relaxation Response. Biofeedback continued to study brainwaves and various behaviors.

TM then came under a lot of criticism for its wild claims (about finding god and and stuff) ridiculous fees, and the secrecy and then everyone finding out that there are only 6 different mantras that are assigned semi-randomly. They did say that the reason they charge is because people in the west wouldn't do it unless they paid for it (I have to agree western culture works this way.) I also think the reason for the secrecy is to get people to see a teacher. I used to think it was a control thing, but I now actually think it really was to help - meditation of any kind can bring up stuff and I can see that they wanted to be there for their students if it happened. And it would have been irresponsible to not be a little conservative.

That being said, the relaxation response and the benefits of mantra meditation are real. I learned the technique, and got a lot of benefit from it. (I did NOT pay any amount for it, but the teachers  did try to be secretive, although not creepy or anything.) However, I don't think it is magical or super powers. Its just a meditation object. Like the breath. I have found that just following the breath doesn't feel as dramatic in the immediate short-term, but long term it has given me much more than mantra did. I think I started to feel like the super hero version of myself after I read Power of Now and started working on being present in that way. I realized that version of me is the real me is always with me. Not just when I do meditation. If I just allow it to be. Its just that the ego is always running the show out of fear.

Neuroscience has come a long way since those early days of biofeedback. And it is interesting to read about, but if you want to be a more creative person, I think the secret isn't control (with using a technique or treatment or process), but surrender (to your true self.)

BVAaron

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What is TM and the Relaxation Response? I'm very interested in this

I've delved into binaural beats recently, and I know that tracks using alpha wave frequencies are used to induce creativity. I haven't seen many effects, if any, from BB, but if meditation can help me reach that state then I have something to work toward

It definitely feels special. If I could achieve that kind of creativity while conscious, it would be like a kind of superpower
TM is transcendental meditation. Back in the 60's Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought mantra meditation to the west, charging exhorbitant fees to get an "exclusive mantra" that was going to lead students to god or something. Since it was popular with countercultural scientists back then to study eastern practices, biofeedback practitioners studied people who did this meditation and discovered that people produced alpha waves in the frontal lobes when they did this meditation. Furthermore, that producing these waves resulted in a strong feeling of relaxation and well-being, and they called that the Relaxation Response. Biofeedback continued to study brainwaves and various behaviors.

TM then came under a lot of criticism for its wild claims (about finding god and and stuff) ridiculous fees, and the secrecy and then everyone finding out that there are only 6 different mantras that are assigned semi-randomly. They did say that the reason they charge is because people in the west wouldn't do it unless they paid for it (I have to agree western culture works this way.) I also think the reason for the secrecy is to get people to see a teacher. I used to think it was a control thing, but I now actually think it really was to help - meditation of any kind can bring up stuff and I can see that they wanted to be there for their students if it happened. And it would have been irresponsible to not be a little conservative.

That being said, the relaxation response and the benefits of mantra meditation are real. I learned the technique, and got a lot of benefit from it. (I did NOT pay any amount for it, but the teachers  did try to be secretive, although not creepy or anything.) However, I don't think it is magical or super powers. Its just a meditation object. Like the breath. I have found that just following the breath doesn't feel as dramatic in the immediate short-term, but long term it has given me much more than mantra did. I think I started to feel like the super hero version of myself after I read Power of Now and started working on being present in that way. I realized that version of me is the real me is always with me. Not just when I do meditation. If I just allow it to be. Its just that the ego is always running the show out of fear.

Neuroscience has come a long way since those early days of biofeedback. And it is interesting to read about, but if you want to be a more creative person, I think the secret isn't control (with using a technique or treatment or process), but surrender (to your true self.)

How does mantra meditation differ from focusing on your breath?

I'm curious because I've been at this a while and i don't feel like meditating has had any effect on me beyond leaving me feeling relaxed after a session, and perhaps a warm, almost tingly feeling in the limbs that comes from not moving for a prolonged period of time.

Can you explain what you mean by "surrender to your true self"?

bomega

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How does mantra meditation differ from focusing on your breath?

I'm curious because I've been at this a while and i don't feel like meditating has had any effect on me beyond leaving me feeling relaxed after a session, and perhaps a warm, almost tingly feeling in the limbs that comes from not moving for a prolonged period of time.
Mantra meditation uses a 2 or three word or short phrase that you repeat in your head along with your breath as the meditation object. One advantage of it is that it helps manage the "monkey mind" effect by giving your mind something to do. But the most you can expect from it is a relaxed state, similar to what you are already experiencing.

The downside is that you are less aware of the actually real-time experience you are having...because you are giving your mind something to do.

Your feeling relaxed while doing shamatha meditation is excellent. (ETA: In fact, what you described you are feeling sounds exactly like the Relaxation Response.) That relaxed feeling leads to greater mindfulness, awareness, insights. It is also helpful to get into that "Flow" state, where you are create and productive and generally feeling awesome (so its practical.) Eventually all these efforts (along with others of the Eightfold Path) will eventually lead to freedom.

Can you explain what you mean by "surrender to your true self"?
I'll admit that language is informed by having read The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle. I'm not sure if I recommend it, although honestly it changed everything for me. I first heard about it when it came out and thought it was just the latest of New Age hogwash. Then, I read positive reviews about it here on VF.net and decided to check it out (completely having forgotten what I thought over 15 years ago.) I guess you have to be open to wanting more than a cynical world-view (which I very much had back then.)

But generally, it kind of seems like you want to reproduce something that happened to you, but the problem is that time and place...that moment that it happened is gone and by trying to recover it you are missing out on what is here.

The other thing is, it occurs to me that during that time when you are falling asleep, your brain is producing theta waves, on its way down to delta waves-deep sleep. if you are healthy. You might not actually want to produce that state you are trying to recover outside of that falling asleep time anyway.

I went with the alpha waves thing because it IS associated with relaxed alertness, feelings of well-being, and that Flow state and stuff like that, and it is developed during meditation.  These things are so much more powerful and useful than a superhero fantasy, even if the fantasy "feels" better.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2015, 06:29:58 AM by bomega »

BVAaron

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Thanks for all the insight, and for the info on the Relaxation Response... I've been getting discouraged about my meditation lately since so many people discuss having emotional, mental, or physical experiences while meditating, and i've seen nothing of the sort yet.

What is the Eightfold Path? It sounds interesing

I have read Power of Now (well, listened to the audiobook). The general message of "be present and don't worry about the past or future" was quite helpful, but beyond that I didn't really get anything else from it.


I went with the alpha waves thing because it IS associated with relaxed alertness, feelings of well-being, and that Flow state and stuff like that, and it is developed during meditation.  These things are so much more powerful and useful than a superhero fantasy, even if the fantasy "feels" better.

Yeah, that's what I've read on alpha waves. I've given up on binaural beats/brainwave entrainment though.... 2 straight weeks of it didn't yield any noticeable effects

Goofaholix

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Re: "Sensations flooding the Mind"/Alpha Brain Waves/On the Cusp of Sleep
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2015, 08:09:42 AM »
What is the Eightfold Path? It sounds interesing

Buddhism 101, see here for more info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Eightfold_Path

bomega

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Re: "Sensations flooding the Mind"/Alpha Brain Waves/On the Cusp of Sleep
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2015, 04:19:10 AM »

Thanks for all the insight, and for the info on the Relaxation Response... I've been getting discouraged about my meditation lately since so many people discuss having emotional, mental, or physical experiences while meditating, and i've seen nothing of the sort yet.
Sorry you are getting discouraged. I don't think your RR experience is to be minimized though. Many people have to work very hard to get to that point, and keep it. But that seems to come easily to you. I'm not sure if those flashy experiences you mention are what its about.

It's been a while, but the experience I had that made me want to get serious about it was really amazing, but also really mundane and everyday. I had started working with a teacher, and she was having a hard time getting me to be a "compliant patient" for a while. Anyway, once day we had a really good meditation and I did get into that RR state enough to where I felt really connected to myself. It was really cool, but not super flashy or anything. Anyway, I went back to work and resolved a high-profile defect that had been blocking the entire department and stumped all the superstars at work. I guess its not being able to leap flying buildings in a single bound, or composing a beautiful aria, but it felt like my super power was just being my best self.

What is the Eightfold Path? It sounds interesing

I have read Power of Now (well, listened to the audiobook). The general message of "be present and don't worry about the past or future" was quite helpful, but beyond that I didn't really get anything else from it.
I wonder if it would help you to find a teacher to work with you on meditation, but also get some perspective.

I went with the alpha waves thing because it IS associated with relaxed alertness, feelings of well-being, and that Flow state and stuff like that, and it is developed during meditation.  These things are so much more powerful and useful than a superhero fantasy, even if the fantasy "feels" better.

Yeah, that's what I've read on alpha waves. I've given up on binaural beats/brainwave entrainment though.... 2 straight weeks of it didn't yield any noticeable effects
Yeah, I think brainwave entrainment is best in the medical field, but less so for "wellness" or "real-life". I have heard of people who used holosync for stress-relief, but you seem to be able to get stress-relief easily on your own, and I think meditation is cheaper, just as effective for it, plus I have been learning a lot about myself and the world with meditation which I didn't get from brainwave entrainment.

 

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