Alpha-Theta meditation is a highly desirable skill to master, unleashing the hidden potentials that lie within us all. While almost all meditators are familiar with the relaxed state associated with the Alpha brainwave, and many have heard about the deeper Theta brainwave associated with unconscious levels of the mind, not everyone realizes that a particular combination of these two frequencies can confer special benefits.
Alpha-Theta Meditation Defined
Alpha-Theta meditation targets the brainwave frequencies at the border of Alpha (7 – 13Hz) and Theta (3.5 – 7Hz) brainwaves. This is particularly interesting territory, for not only does it yield a combination of benefits from both ranges, it also corresponds to the resonant frequency of the Earth and the ionosphere, which is approximately 7.5Hz. To experience Alpha-Theta is to “come home” to the dynamic field in which life evolved.
The Most Inventive Combination of Brainwaves?
Alpha brainwaves occur when we turn our attention inward, away from the details and problems of everyday physical reality. While Alpha waves can appear with our eyes open and fixed on a single spot, for most of us they occur more readily with eyes closed – a literal tuning out of the external world. In Alpha, we are either starting to fall asleep or, if meditating, beginning a journey towards the creativity and greater intelligence that can seldom be heard above the cacophony of waking thoughts.
Theta brainwaves occur during dreaming sleep. This is a time when the central nervous system deliberately switches itself off from the rest of the body to prevent us from acting out our dreams and unintentionally harming ourselves. (Sleepwalking and narcolepsy occur when this natural, protective function misfires; specifically, they are disorders of the Reticular Activating System in the brainstem.) We all know how incredibly creative the dream state is – and how it is also fraught with emotional complexity. Freed from the burden of managing a complex organism in a dangerous physical environment, the brain in Theta is the wellspring of human creative powers.
Alpha-Theta meditation seeks to access the creative and emotional power of Theta while retaining the conscious awareness of an introspective Alpha session. Thomas Edison had a particular way of doing this. He would take a nap clasping ball bearings in his hands. When he fell asleep, the relaxation of his hands caused the bearings to fall noisily onto carefully positioned metal plates, waking him up again. He would immediately write down the ideas that came to him in the brief “twilight zone” between the dreaming and waking states.
Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, of the Center for Neuroacoustic Research, explains this more poetically:
This is the balance point between the Mental and Emotional bodies. It is the place where our mental belief systems and our emotional states feed one another. It is where we have the possibility of having non-attached emotional awareness at a physical level. When the King and Queen reign hand in hand in true partnership, the whole realm flowers and blossoms in harmony.
Edison’s method of exploring the Alpha-Theta boundary, while effective for him, might be a little erratic for the rest of us. What we need is a way to access this magnificent mental state reliably and, preferably, whenever it suits us. Fortunately, recent advances in audio technology make it possible for us to simply don a set of headphones, sit back, and gain access to all this inner world has to offer – no ball bearings required!