I was talking with my friend Ingrid (who is also my cardiologist) the other day and I casually mentioned something about hemispheric synchronization.I was surprised that she had no idea what I meant, and I explained it as best I could.

This got me to thinking. How widespread is this concept? I’ve been using it since the mid 1980s and have employed various electronic devices to assist me. There used to be a loft on Broadway in Soho where you could go for an hour and plug into light and sound machines that could take you away while you relaxed on comfortable couches—like a cyberspace opium den. I thought it had worked its way into the mainstream, but maybe not as much as I had thought.

What is hemispheric synchronization? Here’s the nickel version (forgive me brain scientists for oversimplification):

Most people know that our cerebrums have two hemispheres. The left hemisphere largely controls the right side of the body. It’s the logical, talkative side. The right hemisphere largely controls the left side of the body, and it helps us in seeing patterns, the Big Picture. It is mute. Sign and Design. The two sides don’t generally communicate well with each other.The left side literally does not know what the right side is thinking (and vice versa). Most information passes between via a fissure called the copus callosum, the largest white-matter structure in the brain.

I have plugged into brainwave mappers that show real time activity and you can see that our normal thinking state is a confusion of frequencies. Many people believe that thoughts “just arise” and they have no control over these random energy outbursts. I don’t think that is true.

If we can get our hemispheres to resonate with each other, something cool happens. Where our thoughts may have been a bunch of bumper cars at the amusement park, they now start to exhibit coherence. They don’t collide as often and can be directed in meaningful ways. It is as if a higher consciousness is directing our brain activity, using it as a tool rather than identifying with it directly. Like a well-tuned orchestra, we find ourselves functioning at a higher level, since we don’t spend as much energy fighting ourselves. Without as much mental noise, we can be calmer and happier.

Binaural Beats

One of the easiest ways bring about this resonance is through the use of binaural beats. Simply put, one tone is heard by one ear and a slightly different tone is heard through the other. The brain taps its toe to the differential. For example: If I hear a tone 440 cycles per second in my right ear (using headphones) and a different tone 450 cps in my left ear, my brain will eventually entrain to the 10 cps difference. When that happens both lobes will start dancing together in an alpha wave state (approx. 7-13 cps). Alpha states are relaxed, receptive, alert. (We like to do our t’ai chi in an alpha state). Beta (14-33) is characteristic of the alert waking state (anxious and apprehensive in its non-coherent form). Theta (4-7) is associated with meditation, dreaming, creative inspiration. Delta (0-4) is deep, deep meditation or dreamless sleep. Some say it is the key to profound healing of body and mind, release of anti-aging hormones and melatonin, and access to spiritual insights. (Ken Wilber does a great demo on YouTube where he uses meditation to synchronize his brain wave at delta. An EEG shows his brain activity while he describes the significance of left and right activity. Ken Wilber Controls Brainwaves

The Good News!

Used to be you’d have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a device to generate binaural beats. Now you can download apps from ITunes for a coupla bucks. I just picked up Tesla Audio Science’s “100 Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones” from the ITunes Store. Lots of ambient tracks. Go crazy. Try em all.

There are tons of CDs that use this technology.I have just ordered a Gamma wave MP3 from noted sound therapist Dr. Jeffrey Thompson.Gammas have been recorded by Buddhist monks in meditation (with Dalai Lama approval).Also in ayahuasca sessions.I’ll keep you posted about that one.