How can you enter the alpha state

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It's very simple: sitting down in a quiet place, staring off into space and not thinking about anything in particular will increase alpha wave emissions. You can also learn some relaxation technique, or practice a method like sophrology.

According to a study conducted at Trinity College in San Antonio, Texas, the state induced by the practice of Silva's Mind Control method also increase alpha wave activity.

Another method: roll your eyes back as far as possible and concentrate on a point in the middle of your forehead.

Repeating the same word or phrase (it could be a prayer or a mantra) or any sound at the same rhythm will eventually produce the same result.

EEG readings show that whenever a subject is distracted by a sudden noise or sensation, alpha wave activity immediately ceases and is replaced by beta waves. If there is no further interference, alpha activity gradually resumes. If the stimulus is repeated regularly, the senses quickly become accustomed to it, allowing alpha activity to predominate, without coming to a halt.

A metronome or the steady beat of a drum are both excellent stimuli for inducing the alpha state. Yoga, Zen meditation and some occult techniques achieve the same effect: concentrating on a point in the body or on a mandala, emptying the mind, adopting a certain breathing rhythm, concentrating on a Zen 'koan' (a kind of spiritual riddle), staring at a tarot card, etc., are all techniques you can use to enter the alpha state.

It seems, then, that alpha waves form the grid on which all paranormal phenomena appear.

Does that mean that persons who produce an unusually high percentage of alpha waves are special? Not at all. In fact, the opposite is true: "Generally speaking, persons who produce a preponderance of alpha waves in their EEG readings are rather listless, uninteresting, unimaginative and ordinary," claims Barbara Brown, a bio-feedback specialist. Although this seems to contradict what we just said, it doesn't, the reason being that such people are not able to prolong alpha activity by making a conscious effort - a weak, distracted mind cannot control the type of brain waves it produces.

What is the alpha state? Theories abound, but the one that seems most plausible to us reads as follows: Electrodes attached to the skull read only neo-cortex activity. We know very little about activity in the deeper parts of the brain, because they are only accessible through some type of neural surgery. It is probable that alpha waves are a signal of reduced activity in the neo-cortex, and increased activity in the rhinencephalon and other more primitive parts of the brain.

Since paranormal faculties like ESP seem to be centered in these areas, it is not surprising that stimulating alpha wave activity, no matter how it is done, will awaken these latent abilities.

One criticism aimed at the stimulation of alpha activity through bio-feedback is that it does not induce a state of relaxation, as manufacturers of various bio-feedback devices claim. In fact, the opposite is true: relaxation stimulates alpha activity. So why use a machine? Teaching people to relax using a method like autogenic training, sophrology or mind control, should be more than adequate. This has actually been proven by testing bio-feedback devices on skilled yogis - results are always exceptionally positive.

The best we can say about bio-feedback devices is that they may serve to reassure persons who would otherwise be skeptical about their ability to enter the alpha state. People who do use them, however, also make use of one or another of the techniques mentioned above. It is as if the machine helps them rediscover the benefits of spiritual practices like meditation or yoga, acting as a bridge between two worlds, that of our modern, technological society, and the world of the ancient sages, with their highly developed understanding of inner processes and the subconscious mind.

We could say that inducing the alpha state is like opening a door and entering the realm of the subconscious. We should also mention that biofeedback devices are much less harmful than other, more controversial methods of alpha induction. As Dr. Brown states, "... substances like marijuana, LSD, heroine, alcohol and other drugs can also be used to increase alpha activity."

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