Shifting from alpha to theta waves in meditation

I sat this morning, and toward the end of the 30 minutes, I felt a definite shift. You regular readers know I’m interested in brain waves. I think this was a shift from alpha to theta!

(One of my desires for 2011 is that between selling my house soon and starting at AOMA in July, I can acquaint myself with my brain wave states using a neurofeedback machine. I’d like to be able to relate my subjective experience to objective feedback and write about it.)

It’s important to be clear that even though I’m writing about shifting brain wave states, a shift is not just mental (i.e., experienced inside my brain). Shifts occur in my energetic body-mind. Brain wave biofeedback uses electrodes on one’s head, and perhaps that is the best place on the body to place electrodes to get a good reading, but shifts affect the entire body-mind-energy system.

It was like this: I began sitting. Immediately I gave my physical body more attention. (Before, monkey mind — and my feet — were wandering through the house with the loose intention of sitting before breakfast, and my feet found their way to my meditation corner.)

The attention to my physical body began to trigger little blossomings in my energy body. (Over the course of this year, I’ve become habituated to sitting. Like Pavlov’s dog, sit me down on a zafu, and certain things happen.)

I check in with my whole body, noticing stiffness in part of my back. It begins to relax. I breath prana into it for deeper relaxation.

I tell myself:

Let my whole body embrace my breath. Let me make it welcome. Let me receive it fully and let it go fully.

Pause, then big spontaneous inhalation, with my breath being fully and completely welcomed and embraced. Ah.

I think:

Hmm, maybe I should blog about this sometime.

Then for a while, I focus my attention on the energy field around my head. Just noticing my halo! Crown chakra, third eye chakra, throat chakra all open and clear.

I direct my attention to my heart center. This morning it feels quiet and open.

I begin remembering bits of Peg Syverson’s dharma talk at Appamada Zendo yesterday about the nature of wanting.

Our energy field expands to include that which we desire. We become attached; the attachment becomes part of who we are.

From wanting, suffering may (or may not) arise.

There is nothing wrong or bad about wanting!

I evaluate my own thoughts and think:

Hmm. Wanting and attachment. Mental note to self: explore this in a future blog post! But first, listen to Peg’s dharma talk again online.

That Peg is so brilliant.

And then:

Oh, thinking mind! Come back to the present, to my body.

Now where was I? Ah, yes, my belly.

Attention moves to belly. Mmm. Feel pleasant sensations between ribs and pelvis. Feel nice round heavy juicy energy in second chakra. Mmmm. Feel my tailbone, sitz bones, flesh, the root chakra area open and expand, heavy against the zafu.

I think:

I used to not experience much root chakra energy. It has returned in full force. I feel happy about this.

Now I merge awareness of my head, chest, and belly centers together to experience whole body awareness.

Ah. There it is. Deep inhale, deep exhale. I’m there.

Attention moves within the field of my whole body. News of difference moves it. A pain (contraction) here, a blossoming (expansion) there, neutral awareness of my wholeness.

This goes on for some time. I feel pleasantly relaxed and alert and centered.

Then I notice the shift.

It’s as if my body and mind have become heavier. My mind has definitely calmed. My body feels more still as well. It’s as if my vibrations are oscillating more slowly and congruently.

I feel more passive, more surrendered to the moment. I experience less of a need to be on top of things, to be in control, to do anything, really. It’s as if my ego has stepped away.

I don’t feel tired, but this is similar to feeling pleasantly fatigued. No effort. Quiet heavy bliss.

Then the timer chimes and I come out of it. I think:

Hmm. Maybe it takes 25 minutes to reach this state. I’m going to set my timer for longer and find out.

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About Mary Ann Reynolds

Blogging about body, mind, heart, spirit, and well-being at The Well: bodymindheartspirit. Offering bodywork and changework, specializing in Ashiatsu barefoot massage and craniosacral therapy. Also a former Truth Be Told board member now serving as a volunteer editor for the Truth Be Told Community blog, serving women behind and beyond bars.
This entry was posted in body, brain, breathing, sitting. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Shifting from alpha to theta waves in meditation

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have found that Wayne Dyer’s “ahhhh meditation” or “meditation for manifestation”
    has helped me to get into a theta wave brain state.

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