Meditate Like A Monk In 20 Minutes

Isochronic tones and binaural beats are two brain entrainment technologies that will let you meditate like a monk in 20 minutes. (Listen below.) Learn why having a meditation practice is about the healthiest thing you can do for your body and mind.

Joe "walks" his talk

Joe’s off in the clouds

This article is adapted from "BioHack #3" in the 12 Ageproof BioHacks course. When it's finished, I'll send it to you FREE. Please put your email address in that blue box to the right.

 

Scientists study it. Doctors recommend it.

Millions of Americans – many of whom don’t even own crystals – practice it every day. Why? Because meditation works…

Time Magazine

GIVEN THAT millions do it and doctors recommend it, you may be thinking that meditation offers some pretty big benefits, and might be worth trying. If you’re stressed, confused, heart-broken, injured, curious or simply seeking enlightenment, know that a meditation practice can help.

Whether a raw recruit or an experienced meditator, you can meditate like a monk in 20 minutes by getting the assistance of binaural beats or isochronic tones to achieve brain entrainment.

I’ll get to that in a few minutes.  First, let’s review what meditation is and why it’s so valuable.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • To become the Observer
  • The 46+ benefits of meditation
  • How meditation reduces the stress that shortens lifespan
  • How brainwaves are influenced by entrainment technologies
  • About Gerry’s Dharma lesson
  • How to meditate like a monk in 20 minutes

There are many definitions of meditation. This is one I’ve cobbled together:

Meditation is to train, calm, or empty the mind, often with the purpose to achieve an altered state, by focusing on a mantra, single object, visualization or one’s breath.

Given that definition, most of us are frequently in a state of meditation every time we study, read, or are in the “flow” without interruption. Recognizing how common meditation is to our daily experience demystifies it, which is good, because that makes it more approachable and doable.

Another way to look at meditation is through the lens of “mindfulness”. To be mindful is to be in the state of being steadily conscious or aware of something in a focused fashion. In effect, you become self-aware in that you cease going through life on autopilot.

You become “The Observer”.

 

The Observer

The Observer is that bit of conscience perspective that dispassionately watches you act out your life. It’s what watches you when you cry in a mirror. Yes, a surprising explanation perhaps, but think about it for a minute. Unless you were uncontrollably overwhelmed with grief, it would be hard to continue crying while watching yourself in the mirror.

Something else intrudes.

That “something else” we can think of as The Observer. It’s not something completely separate from us, but is the aspect that is dispassionate, aloof and non-judgmental. The Observer is detached from the tumult or issues at hand; in effect it places a mirror in front of us.

When we practice being present, or mindful of what we’re doing day to day, it’s The Observer that we’re consciously inviting to watch us act out our lives. Sometimes it challenges our knee-jerk reactions to things, particularly if they contradict how we “created our day”, as described in Create Your Day In 5 Minutes.

If the purpose of a meditation practice is to “empty the mind”, then it and mindfulness have much in common, in that both evoke The Observer. They also share the attributes of focus and steadiness, although to different degrees, because meditation is typically a deeper and more concentrated practice.

For instance, to be mindful of how fast you eat requires you to consciously separate yourself from the activity, and observe what you’re doing, but the focus and steadiness required is relatively brief as compared to meditation. A meditation practice necessitates a longer application of focus and steadiness. Ideally, in meditation you place your entire awareness on something — a thought, image, or emotion, for example — and you keep it there without interruption.

Of course, this ideal of emptying the mind to achieve a state of no thought is rarely achieved. When a beginner, the mind is unruly and will pull at the tether of focus and steadiness. This is often referred to as “monkey mind”, a mind that is persistently chattering and unsettled. Gradually, with time and practice, it begins to settle down and align with your intention — steady focus.

It’s important that you’re not dissuaded from continuing your meditation practice by the battering you will get from an incessantly chattering mind. It will defy your desire to quiet it. It’s also likely that the stories, concerns and situations that the chatter chatters about will make you squirm.

You either will not want to contemplate such discomforting thoughts, and/or feel compelled to jump up and escape them. Such are the challenges of being still, which is largely what this particular meditation technique is all about — cease thoughts, cease movement, cease judgement… call forth The Observer.

 

Be Still. Know God?

You might have seen the placard somewhere that says,

   Be Still. Know God.

Those four words mean so much, even to the non-religious, if you can dissect them.

As you know, “Be” is a common word that means “to exist”, but what it conveys is less commonplace. To “be” demands your presence in the moment. You do not exist in the past or future, but right here, right now, the context for Ram Dass’ best-selling book, Be Here Now.

As mentioned earlier, to “be still” means not only to still your body, keeping it from squirming, rocking, twitching, but also to still your mind. A chattering mind is not still. A quiet mind is.

“Know” in this context is different than to “think” or “believe”. You know something by experiencing it, not learning or being told about it.

I’ll leave the “God” part to your interpretation. I’m not a religious person. You may or may not be. No matter; the point here is not to actually know the mind of some all-mighty being, but to create the inner space for whatever is in you that during most of your waking hours gets covered up by noise.

Perhaps you have the sense that, irrespective of religion or deities, there’s more to your mind than its attachment to ego, to personality, to whatever shamed you in your youth, or busted dreams in adulthood. There are windows to it. Could be you’ve looked through one during a lucid dream, or some hypnagogic state — that near-dream place between sleep and wakefulness.

The window opens, and you jump out into the unknown to learn what you must. Then it shuts, and you’re back to your self, clearly identified by what’s familiar — the ego-infused, personality-driven you.

With practice, becoming still via meditation opens that window so you may glean what else is you, but that’s not the full breadth and depth of its many benefits.

 

The Many Benefits of A Meditation Practice

The benefits of meditation are well documented and undeniable. They happen on a psychological, physical, emotional and spiritual level, which is to say that every part of your life can be improved through a meditation practice. If you lack the motivation to meditate, scan the following list and see if there’s anything there worthy of your effort.

Psychological Benefits of Meditation

Since meditation involves relaxing and focusing our minds, it makes sense that the most obvious benefits would be psychological, these among them:

  • Improved intelligence and memory
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Improved clarity
  • Improved problem solving abilities
  • Less depression
  • Less anxiety
  • Reduced irritability and moodiness
  • Less addictive behavior
  • More positive outlook
  • Greater happiness
Emotional Benefits of Meditation

To the extent that emotion follows thought, it also makes sense that just as there are several emotional benefits of meditation. People who meditate not only experience a reduction in stress, they also report emotional improvements such as:

  • Improved sense of positivity
  • Increased confidence
  • Deeper ability to give and receive love
  • Elimination of panic attacks
  • Greater sense of warmth and openness towards others
Physical Benefits of Meditation

From the psychological and emotional to the physical, the long list of how meditation benefits us continues with its improvement to our entire nervous system, yielding these physical improvements:

  • Reduced muscular tension
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Accelerated ability to recover from strenuous exercise
  • Decreased high blood pressure
  • Lowered cholesterol levels
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced strain related pain, such as headaches
  • Ability to sleep more deeply and restfully
  • Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing
  • Reduction of free radicals – organic molecules responsible for aging, tissue damage and possibly some diseases
  • Reduced levels of stress hormones such as cortisol
  • Increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation
Spiritual Benefits of Meditation

Finally, we get to the spiritual realm, perhaps the area most identified with meditation through its association with Yogic and Buddhist traditions. The experience that meditation practitioners point to that has spiritual resonance include:

  • A greater sense of purpose and meaning
  • A feeling of connection to others
  • An openness to love
  • Improved intuition and openness to higher guidance
  • A tendency to “let go” and go with the flow of life

Meditation need not have a spiritual dimension for you. Certainly, it can just be a mechanistic procedure to calm the mind with the attendant neurological benefits manifesting as improved physiological well being. However, if you choose to focus on the spiritual dimension of your life, it will undoubtedly flower through meditation.

Experienced meditators typically describe experiencing bliss, a connection to the wholeness of life, and deep inner peace. These have been my experiences as well, and as I write this, I find myself desiring to recommit to my meditation practice, which has waned a bit over the last few years.

 

Teleomeres, Stress and Meditation

Meditation has been actively practiced by millions of people worldwide for thousands of years, and it’s been extensively studied. In the past, the benefits of meditation were mostly anecdotal, but now we have the knowledge and techniques to get very scientific about it. In fact, we can now “see” how the brain frequencies react to meditation, and measure it’s effects on DNA, disease and various health biomarkers.

Telomeres

Have you read my article, Three Months To Longer Life? There we learned that telomeres are short DNA sequences on the end of chromosomes that prevent the loss of the genetic code during cell division. As cells divide, telomeres progressively shorten; thus measuring their length is a way of assessing biological aging.

Turns out, telomeres are prematurely shortened by stress and can be lengthened by meditation.

Back in 2009, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn won a Nobel Prize for her research showing how an enzyme called telomerase protects telomeres from prematurely shortening. Among those studied in her research were the chronically stressed, particularly caretakers of people with chronic, debilitating diseases, like Alzheimer’s.

In a BBC News article entitled, Depression ‘makes us biologically older’, author Michelle Roberts wrote:

Telomeres cap the end of our chromosomes which house our DNA. Their job is to stop any unwanted loss of this vital genetic code. As cells divide, the telomeres get shorter and shorter. Measuring their length is a way of assessing cellular ageing.

People who were or had been depressed had much shorter telomeres than those who had never experienced depression. This difference was apparent even after lifestyle differences, such as heavy drinking and smoking, were taken into account.

Furthermore, the most severely and chronically depressed patients had the shortest telomeres.”

Conventional medical tests give us our risk of particular conditions — high cholesterol warns of impending heart disease, for example, while high blood sugar predicts diabetes. Telomere length, by contrast, gives an overall reading of how healthy we are: our biological age.

Stay with me here. I want to establish how damaging stress and depression are to health and, ultimately, life span — given their impact on telomeres — so that you’ll see the great value that meditation offers as a potential solution.

Telomeres look like this:

Telomeres protect against chromosomal damage

Telomeres protect against chromosomal damage

(Source)

You can see that telomeres are the short DNA sequences on the end of chromosomes. To help maintain their length, telomeres must be nourished by a ribonucleoprotein enzyme called telomerase, which is disrupted by a steroid hormone called cortisol (the so-called “death hormone”) when an excess of it is activated by stress and depression.

To understand how pernicious is excessive cortisol and how it affects telomere length, and thus — potentially — lifespan, let’s take a minute to examine what it is and what it does.

Stress

Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal cortex, which is located on top of both kidneys, and is activated by stress. Your pituitary gland, located in the brain, determines how much cortisol is released in relation to what’s happening to you in the moment.

In a healthy, non-stressed individual, the benefits of cortisol include blood pressure management, reduced inflammation and a stronger immune system.

When under a physical or psychological stress evoked by some traumatic event, cortisol converts protein into fuel. Once your brain no longer perceives a situation as threatening, your cortisol level is supposed to return to normal. But under chronic stress conditions, or when depressed, high, damaging cortisol levels are maintained.

As enumerated by Dr. Brent Barlow, persistently high cortisol levels have these four negative effects on your health:

  • High cortisol decreases immunity. Cortisol is a corticosteroid and like prednisone, cortisone, and beclomethasone, it inhibits the actions of white blood cells. Initially, this usually leads to increased susceptibility to infections. Eventually, this may actually lead to long stretches of time without colds because the immune system is so weakened.
  • High cortisol increases abdominal fat deposition. For reasons still unknown, high levels of cortisol induce the body to lay down adipose tissue in the abdomen and upper back/neck. In fact, for those people affected it is next to impossible to lose abdominal fat without addressing stress.
  • High cortisol breaks down muscle, bone, and connective tissue. Cortisol is a gluconeogenic hormone. Gluconeogenesis is a process that creates sugar from existing tissue. Cortisol promotes the breakdown of muscle, bone, and connective tissue in order to increase blood sugar for the brain.
  • High cortisol inhibits thyroid hormone activation. The thyroid gland makes 2 major hormones; thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyroine (T3). It predominantly makes T4, which is actually an in-active hormone. T4 is carried in the bloodstream and eventually hits a receptor on or in a cell and becomes activate to T3. High cortisol inhibits this conversion and thus creates a form of hypothyroid.

And now, thanks to Nobel Laurete Dr. Blackburn’s research, we can add another, a fifth, perhaps the most pernicious negative health effect of all, a prematurely shortened lifespan:

  • High cortisol shortens telomeres, a major predictor of lifespan.  With each cell division, telomeres naturally shorten, but under sustained stress too much cortisol is produced and hinders the cell’s ability to use telomerase to preserve telomere length. People under chronic stress, such as long-term care givers, such as those with both elderly parents and children for which to care, can have shorter telomeres and therefore less active immune systems.
Meditation

The good news is that mediation reduces stress and depression, and can thereby have a salutary effect on telomerase and telomere length. Among many other scientists, UCLA’s Dr. Michael Irwin, UCSF’s Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Blackburn have conducted research indicating that meditation can improve telomerase activity and increase telomere length.

A pilot study of dementia caregivers, by Dr. Irwin and published in 2013, found that volunteers who did an ancient chanting meditation called Kirtan Kriya, 12 minutes a day for eight weeks, had significantly higher telomerase activity than a control group who listened to relaxing music.

Also published in 2013, a collaboration with Dr. Ornish found that men with low-risk prostate cancer who undertook comprehensive lifestyle changes, including meditation, kept their telomerase activity higher than similar men in a control group, and had slightly longer telomeres after five years.

In one of her studies on meditation, Dr. Blackburn and her colleagues sent participants to meditate at the Shambhala mountain retreat in northern Colorado. Those who completed a three-month course had 30% higher levels of telomerase than a similar group on a waiting list.

In a pilot study that evaluated the affect of meditation on depression and telomere length, Dr. Blackburn and several other researchers found that more than half of the participants who mediated for 12 minutes each day for eight weeks had a 50% improvement in depression levels, accompanied by an increase in telomerase activity suggesting improvement in stress-induced cellular aging.

Two things to note from this pilot study:

  1. Participants were people suffering from depression brought on by caring for dementia patients, a common population used in depression and telomere studies because of the clear causality between the stress brought on by care taking and telomere length.
  2. Although setting aside time for passive relaxation improved telomere length, the active meditation method was far more effective at increasing telomeres, as the graph below shows.

 Change in Telomerase Levels in Meditation and Relaxation Groups(Source)

You can see by the magnitude of the difference in telomere length between the pre and post meditation group far exceeds that group that listened to “relaxing music”. This happened by just meditating for 12 minutes a day, and without any special assist, such as brain entrainment technology.

 

Brainwaves and Entrainment

Learning to quickly achieve the meditative states of practiced monks is achievable using the technology of brain entrainment. Before you learn about “entrainment”, it’s helpful to know about the brainwaves produced by your brain.

Brainwave entrainment focuses on brainwave patterns of electrical signals made by the brain, which allow neurons (brain cells) to communicate with each other. An Electronencephalograhy (EEG) device can measure these electrical brain signals, or “brainwaves”.

EEG recordings show different types of brainwaves, each working on a different frequency. These frequencies are measurable in Hertz (hz), similarly to how a radio signal can be measured. The brain produces different brainwave frequencies depending upon its current activity.

Typically, the brain tends to operate between the frequencies of 12hz to 38hz, which are Beta frequencies associated with the alertness and physicality of typically daytime activities. As the brainwave frequencies get slower, the mental state and associated processes move further from what’s required to navigate the world at large, and toward the inner realms of heightened creativity and hypnagogic imagery.

The following chart is a modified version of one at Jeffrey Gignac, Super Mind Science, and is presented here to underscore that different brainwave frequencies correspond to specific metal states and active processes.

 

Brainwave Pattern Brainwave Cycles Per Second Mental State Associated Processes
  GAMMA 

 

30Hz to 60Hz or 40Hz to 99Hz, as there’s debate about where GAMMA Starts (30 Hz or 40Hz)Gamma Brainwave Frequency

 

Inspiration, higher learning, focus, compassion, empathy and decisiveness under stress, sensory organization processing and integration, and enhanced self-awareness and insight are hallmarks of GAMMA. GAMMA frequencies are found naturally in higher amounts in long-term practitioners of various forms of meditation. Believed to havestrong impact on social consciousness and right and wrong, and to enhance the ability to achieve goals. Improves clarity of thought and believed to improve intuition.
  BETA 13Hz to 30Hz or 12Hz to 39HzBeta Brainwave Frequencies Alertness, concentration, cognition, sensory motor awareness. BETA is a wide-awake state of focus, alertness, analytical thinking and complex mental processing. Can be used to enhance the absorption and processing of new information.     Usually associated with peak mental and physical performance. Higher levels associated with stress, anxiety, disease and the “fight or flight” response,
  ALPHA  8Hz to 12HzAlpha Brainwave Frequencies Pre-sleep, pre-waking drowsiness, positive thinking, creative problem solving, stress reduction, enhanced creativity. Beginning point to accessing the unconscious mind. Bridges the consciousness with the unconscious mind, Better access to resources involved in creativity. Can be a source of motivation and inspiration. Associated with fast learning
  THETA   4Hz to 7.5HzTheta Brainwave Frequencies Hypnagogic imagery, trance state, dream state (REM), Increased production of catecholamines (important for learning and memory), increased creativity, increased retention of learned material. Believed to increase inner wisdom, enhanced intuition, reduce stress and transformational help for limiting beliefs. May negatively affect attention disorders such ADD and ADHD.
  DELTA 0.6 Hz to 3.5 HzDelta Brainwave Frequencies Deep sleep, no dreams, loss of body awareness. Physical healing (human growth hormone released) and recuperation. May positively improve symptoms of PTSD. Believed to help with inner growth and wisdom, recovery from trauma, access to the unconscious and “collective conscious” mind.
  SUB DELTA 0.1 HZ to 0.5Hz Unclear Healing effect on the limbic system, healing. Believed to be the source of deep inner wisdom peace and divine knowledge.

 

Brain entrainment is a profoundly useful technology. It can quickly facilitate in a novice the brainwaves (typically alpha and theta) that would normally take an experienced meditator many months of practice to achieve.

The images below show, respectively, a person’s brain response when listening to alpha wave entrainment after six minutes, and Delta/Theta entrainment for an unspecified time period.

 

brainwave entrainment(Source)

In the picture above, the red flaring between eight and 12 Hz indicates an Alpha-dominant brain wave experience associated with the starting point of access to the unconscious mind. This state of mind is commonly experienced just before falling to sleep and waking up. Note that it took just six minutes to achieve the Alpha state when using brainwave entrainment technology.

 

delta-theta response stimulus graph (Source)

The above picture shows the brain mainly producing brain waves in the Theta/Delta range. No time frame was provided. With these specific brain wave frequencies comes the “mental state” and “associated processes” described in the table above.

In the next section, we’ll learn how to meditate by first examining proper position and alignment, so that your body has the best chance to remain still, and then introduce the Binaural beat and Isochromatic tones brainwave entrainment technologies.

 

Meditation Prep

In my view, the most important thing to know about your meditation practice is that there’s no single way to meditate. This is liberating and gives you permission to try it your way. If you could still your mind, be focused and produce alpha or theta brainwaves while standing on your head, then that’s your meditation.

The Mayo Clinic lists several meditation techniques, which include those that involve deep breathing, body scanning, mantra repetition and walking meditation. If any of these methods make you feel good and relaxed, then keep at it; however, the greatest benefits are derived from actually changing your brainwave patterns. Alpha-predominant is good; theta, better.

Recall, I said that your mediation practice should be focused and steady; that you need to be still in both body and mind. To achieve this, your position and alignment need to accommodating.

Position and Alignment

Seated Meditation Alignment

Arrange your body like this:

  • Sit upright with spine elongated so that you appear dignified.
  • Make sure that your spine and head are in alignment.
  • Relax your hands in your in lap, beside you, or on your knees
  • If in a chair, position your legs and feet so they do not require muscular control to maintain the position.
  • If crossing your legs, unless you can maintain the posture comfortably for the length of your meditation, put a cushion under your butt so that it’s angled, band your knees are lower than your hips to reduce lower back stress.
  • Eyes can be shut, or partially open staring at one point on the floor in front of you.

{See this post for an illustrated guide of proper sitting meditation position and alignment.}

If you can not get comfortable in a seated position, lay down, as long as you will not fall asleep. Then adjust yourself like this:

  • Lift your head and settle it back on the floor such that your chin is slanted a bit toward your chest.
  • Hug one knee to your chest for a few breaths, then return the leg to the floor, and repeat with the other leg.
  • Position your legs straight out, about 30 inches apart (76 centimeters), and let your feet turn out if comfortable.
  • Place your palms to ceiling, hands about 18 inches (46 centimeters) from your side.
Rhythmic Breathing

What you don’t do is inhale mainly into your belly, or into your chest. Instead, you fill up your entire trunk area, front and back, simultaneously with each breath.

You can begin with the Tactical Breathing (4x4x4), as described in Create Your Day In 5 Minutes, but once you’ve established this Ujjay rhythm, you may remove your focus from it, unless your intention is to keep your entire focus on your breath.

Steady Focus

It can be on nothing. It can be on one thing. It can be a “movie” that plays within your mind’s eye. Whatever you’re doing or not doing during your meditation practice, the one common attribute is steady focus. You want to focus with as little interruption as possible for a set amount of time, so that you can achieve an altered state of mind distinctive from what’s normal for you.

You may want to systematically focus on, and “breathe into” different parts of your body (a common relaxation technique). You might have drawn a symbol or a colorful drawing representing something you want to experience in your life, and you bring that static image into your mind and focus unrelentingly on it. Or perhaps it’s a series of scenes, like a movie, that you’ve already created and review it when meditating. The main thing is that you keep your focus on whatever was your intention, and not let stray thoughts or the “monkey mind” disrupt your practice.

There is one exception to the rule about “steady focus”.

If your meditation is designed to place you in a space of receptivity, then you can allow bursts of intuition or ideas to appear, and you can explore them. Ensure, however, that they truly are what you seek, not random thoughts about where you put your keys, or what Sally or John really thinks of you — of course, unless that was your intent to begin with.

Gerry’s Dharma Lesson

I’ll share with you a story about my friend, Gerry, which I wrote about in, Be Here Now: Gerry’s Dharma Lesson.

He and I were walking back to the car after having attended a lecture about Zen meditation practice at the Green Gulch Zen Center in Marin County, California. The Eucalyptus tress were still dripping from the rain, and the dark dirt path was muddy. Everything was silent, until Gerry said, “I wasn’t present too much during the lecture, but was off in the weeds with Marlene.”

I nodded knowingly, because he appeared distracted, and I knew of his struggles to come to terms with being jettisoned by a woman he truly loved.

“Funny that at a Dharma lecture about being present — like to ‘be here now’ — you weren’t,” I said.  He looked at me sheepishly.  “The thing is,” I continued, “that’s par for the course… it’s the very thing every mind needs to deal with when trying to be present.  Past and future and everything contained in them compete for our attention like a crying baby.”

“Yeah, that email Marlene sent last night just pulled me back into it all…didn’t think I’d ever hear from her again,” he said.

“Did you want to be distracted by thoughts of her?”

“No”.

“If you had a way to tune her out, would you do it?”

“Yes.”

“What’s helpful, then, is to choose a technique designed to keep you present when there are distractions acting out like crying babies inside your head.”

“What do you mean… what kind of technique?”

“Well, here’s one thing that I do, and I’ll apply it to your situation.  Marlene comes into your consciousness and pushes the poor Abbot out.  You rather listen to the Abbot, but Marlene is insistent. Here’s what you do: Face Marlene and tell her that there will be plenty of time for her later.  Pick her up in your arms and carry her to a place that you know she will like.  Hug her goodbye and tell her again that you’ll be together soon.  And then turn around and enter the present moment.  If she returns, don’t get upset; simply do it again.”

“That’s really cool”, Gerry said.  “I think that might work.”

I smiled at him and simply said, “It’s worth trying.

 

How To Meditate Like A Monk

At this point you’ve learned that…

  • Being mindful is to to watch yourself and observe what’s you’re doing;
  • A meditation practice can consist of many techniques, but has steady focus at its core;
  • You can derive many health benefits from meditation, not the least is reducing stress and potentially increasing lifespan; and
  • Brainwave entrainment technologies that can assist you in getting your brain to produce brainwave frequencies representative of deep meditative states.

In this section, I’ll describe what Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones, and their value to you, and then present examples for you to experience.

Brainwave Entrainment — Binaural and Isochronic

Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones are among a number of different brainwave entrainment technologies capable of entraining the brain, such as Harmonic Box X, Monaural Beats and White Noise. They are used alone, or in combination with each other, and with other sounds, such as music, or the sound of the ocean.

The Binaural Beats technology is ubiquitous, and Isochronic Tones, although less well-known, is powerful, so these will be the two reviewed here.

Binaural Beat Wave Pattern

Binaural Beats are created by generating two different frequencies, one sent to each ear. The tones are mixed together ‘inside’ your head by your brain, resulting in a pulse also called a ‘beat’. For example, if one ear receives a signal of 100hz while the other receives 105hz, the brain cancels out the difference between the frequencies, resulting in a beating tone of 5hz, a low level theta frequency.

The lower of the two tones is called the ‘carrier’ and the higher one, the ‘offset’. The beat you hear is actually created inside your head, not externally. This is because your brain creates the beat after working out the differences from each ear.

In order for Binaural Beats to work, you always have to listen to them through stereo headphones, enabling each ear to receive a different frequency. Without headphones, it would be hard to detect the Binaural Beat audio, because your ears will be able to hear both frequencies at once, thereby nullifying the effect.

Here’s how typical Binaural Beats would look in your brain:

 

binaural beats in the brain

Isochronic Tones are formed in a very different way than binaural beats. Instead of two different tones being combined together, just a single tone is used, and its volume (or amplitude) is modulated into a rhythmic pulse that’s capable of inducing brain entrainment by turning the tone on and off at regular intervals, referred to as “Amplitude Entrainment”.

Isochronic Tones are significantly more obvious and stronger than Binaural Beats, resulting in more powerful entrainment effect than Binaural Beats. But that doesn’t mean that one is better than the other for you, because different people respond differently to these sounds.

Here’s how typical Isochronic Tones would look in your brain: Isochronic tones

Either Binaural Beats or Isochronic Tones can be mixed with music, nature sounds, ringing bells, white noise, or any other pleasing sound, which can enhance the user experience and make the beats more pleasant and relaxing to to listen to.

Which nicely leads us (finally!) to you getting to experience brain entrainment. YouTube is loaded with a surprising array of sound and visual-based meditation enhancers, including brain entrainment, and there are a few websites that offer samples of their entrainment products as well.

My recommendation is to first discover if these technologies are useful to you by meditating with those offered for free. If you find them worthwhile, buy a track or two. If you really want to engage in a progressive practice, I suggest you use a system that gradually takes you on a journey to become an adept meditator.

Courtesy of SoundCloud, take a listen (through headphones) of an Isochronic Tones and Binaural Beats soundtrack:

Isochronic Tones

 

Binaural Beats


 

If you want to take the plunge, go learn about Holosync Technology! (affiliate link)  I did a fairly extensive review of it in the article, Why Holosync Technology Will Give You These 10 Benefits of Meditation and More!

Warning: You get inundated with emails if you sign-up, so unless you like that, learn what you need to and then unsubscribe.

 

Your Takeaway

If you’re still reading, you’re definitely primed to begin a mediation practice.  Here are a few things to remember:

  • A prequel to mediation is to be mindful — be aware of how you react to things, and of the thoughts that pop up in your head.
  • Stress will slowly kill you, prematurely, through the effect of cortisol on immune function, hormones, telomerase and telomeres.
  • In the beginning, don’t make your meditation session open-ended; set a time limit that you can easily do.
  • It’s better to sit with an erect spine, but if that’s challenging, just get comfortable, but don’t fall asleep.
  • If troubling, or distracting thoughts arise, acknowledge them and then visualize setting them in a box. Let them know that you’ll get them attention later.
  • If using binaural beats or isohcronic tones, wear stereo headphones and focus on the sounds, your breath, a symbol, or prescribed visualization.

 

Further Reading

Create Your Day in 5 Minutes with Biohack #1
How To Build A Better Life With Morning Habits
How Meditation Posture and Intention Manifest Your Goals
How You Can Control Your Brainwave Frequencies, The Keys To Happiness
Why Holosync Technology Will Quickly Give You These 10 Benefits of Meditation and More! (Listen)

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Joe Garma
 

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 8 comments
spicy - June 27, 2015

Thank you very much for all you give

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Joe Garma - June 27, 2015

You’re making me blush.

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Max - February 17, 2017

Very interesting information hungry to learn more

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Mónica - January 29, 2018

Muy útil. Muchas gracias!

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Joe Garma - January 29, 2018

Monica, alegra oírlo.

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Antonio - August 29, 2018

Joe, very professional your article!

Detailed, complete, with links to important topics, a paper.

Thank you very much!!

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Joe Garma - August 30, 2018

Glad you liked it, Antonio. Try out one of those binaural beat videos on youtube. If nothing else, very relaxing.

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Antonio - September 6, 2018

Thanks, very thanks for your excelent product!

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