Elsewhere on this site, we have highlighted a central tension between practitioners of meditation and the scientific community. While the process of brainwave entrainment proceeds from, and has been verified by, scientific research, those who wish to explore inner reality often do so in the hope of connecting with universal, spiritual realms that make conventional scientists uncomfortable, to say the least. But in the case of the Schumann Resonance (SR), scientists who worry about mankind’s pollution of the planet with unnatural electromagnetic radiation have come to realize that certain frequencies are essential to psycho-biological well-being. And this concern has led them to suggest brainwave entrainment techniques as a preventive measure. For once, meditation and science are close to agreement: certain frequencies are special, and we must experience them to survive.
What Is The Schumann Resonance?
In a nutshell, the Schumann Resonance is an extremely-low-frequency (ELF) wave circling the entire earth’s atmosphere as a result of electrical storm activity. Electrical storms occur because there is a huge (200,000 volt) electrical tension between the lower boundary of the ionosphere (which is positively charged) and the earth’s surface (which is negatively charged). At any given time, there are lightning strikes occurring at various locations on earth, discharging this electrical tension. The tremendous energy released by each strike creates radio waves capable of passing through the earth and circumnavigating it, with the “cavity” between the earth’s surface and ionosphere acting as a wave-guide.
This phenomenon was first observed by the electrical pioneer Nikola Tesla, perhaps most famous for winning the “war of currents” against Thomas Edison and establishing alternating current (AC) as the principal means of transmitting electricity. Always wanting to go further, Tesla sought means to transmit electricity without wires, and conducted revolutionary experiments in his lab at Colorado Springs, including the creation of artificial lightning bolts discharging millions of volts. Having transmitted radio waves from Pikes Peak to Paris, Tesla experimented with extremely-low-frequency (ELF) standing waves, and received patents for their transmission. During this time, Tesla calculated the resonant frequency of the ionospheric cavity at 8Hz, which was almost exactly right.
So why don’t we speak of a Tesla Resonance? Whether fairly or not, these special frequencies were named after the German physics professor, W.O. Schumann, who developed a more formal theory of standing waves in the electromagnetic cavity in the 1950s. Seeing this cavity as a gigantic ball condensor – with the earth as a negatively-charged ball inside the positively-charged ionosphere – Schumann challenged his students to calculate the resonant frequency that would occur in the cavity. He estimated around 10Hz. Truly accurate measurement was not possible until the work of Balser and Wagner in the early 1960s.
The primary Schumann Resonance occurs at 7.83Hz, with higher resonances at 6.5 Hz intervals (due to the earth’s spherical geometry) occurring at 14.3, 20.8, 27.3, 33.8, and on to the eighth overtone at 59.9Hz. These numbers are not fixed, and vary routinely by 0.5Hz either way. Radio enthusiasts know that the solar wind presses the ionosphere closer to the earth during the day but pulls it further away at night, greatly affecting the distances that radio waves will travel and hence signal reception. This daily movement also impinges on the waveguide for the Schumann Resonance, but there are many other factors at play, including the 11-year sunspot cycle and the changing location of lightning strikes across the planet’s surface as the seasons unfold. Global temperature is also relevant, and climate scientists are considering using Schumann Resonances to accurately measure climate change.
The Importance of Schumann Resonances for Life
The evolution of life on earth took place in an electromagnetic environment with reasonably well-defined resonant frequencies – a pulse of the planet. Electrical oscillators within the body are attuned to these conditions. Is it mere coincidence, then, that the brains of mammals – from which humans evolved – exhibit electrical patterns very close to the prime Schumann Resonance? Schumann’s successor at the Technical University of Munich, Herbert Konig, saw the connection between the Schumann Resonance and human brainwaves on the Alpha-Theta boundary.
Research on the importance of this natural cycle to biological processes has not received nearly enough attention. As one might expect in our upside-down world, the military studied Schumann Resonances quite extensively because they use ELF transmissions to communicate with the far-flung submarine fleet. Far less attention has been paid to the health effects of deprivation from SR exposure. One study at the Max Planck Institute constructed an underground capsule, shielded from all electromagnetic radiation, and explored the effect on students who lived in the capsule for four weeks. Their circadian rhythms diverged (as one might expect), and they experienced emotional distress and headaches. Brief exposure to 7.83Hz upon release relieved their symptoms. Similar problems befell the first cosmonauts in space, so spacecraft were fitted with devices to emit Schumann Resonances.
Today, some scientists worry that pollution of the electromagnetic spectrum with all manner of devices, particularly mobile telephones, is obfuscating the natural frequencies essential to life. Climate change could be causing the prime Schumann Resonance to rise, with unknowable biological effects. In what might be referred to as the “speculative community,” it is thought that the higher resonance will lead to an evolution in human consciousness as our brains gravitate toward a higher operating frequency. To us, that sounds implausibly fast on evolutionary timescales and, besides, constitutes a recipe for permanent hyper-vigilance, aggression, and mental and social collapse.
But there is more to worry about. The United States’ work on the High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), based in Alaska but with sub-stations across the globe, is tampering with the very fabric of the ionosphere in a potentially very dangerous way. HAARP is part of the military’s “Vision 2020″ program, designed to assure “full spectrum dominance.” The main antenna array, near Gakona, AK, directs a 3.6 Megawatt high-frequency signal (2.8 – 10 MHz) into the ionosphere, creating Very-Low Frequency (VLF) and ELF waves in the ionosphere. Frequencies as low as 0.1Hz have been generated, which corresponds to the sub-Delta region of brainwaves known as Epsilon. The project is supposed to value openness in the spirit of scientific inquiry, but the involvement of the military raises doubts that just won’t go away. It is suspected that one of HAARP’s goals, beyond ELF communication, is weather modification, which no doubt seems important to geophysical warriors but carries grave risks of unintended consequences. Among other side-effects, man-made ELF waves produce electron precipitation from the magnetosphere, giving rise to secondary ionization, X-rays, and potentially disrupting brainwaves in the biosphere. The physicist Daniel Winter worries that HAARP is contaminating the earth’s geomagnetic “information bloodstream.” Defenders of HAARP retort that its ionospheric “heating” is as inconsequential as an immersion heater in the Yukon River, and dismiss the project’s opponents as scientific illiterates. While some of the conspiracy theories swirling around HAARP are patently ridiculous, its proponents seem disturbingly blase about the butterfly effect in chaos theory. Interfering with the earth’s protective layer at points of instability sounds to us like the ultimate expression of human hubris, a sin of planetary scope.
Exposure to Schumann Resonances is essential for our health and well-being. They bind us to the geomagnetic web of life on earth. As man continues his seemingly relentless assault on the natural world, we may need to resort to more benign technologies to ensure adequate exposure to the prime Schumann Resonance around which life evolved. Meditation with brainwave entrainment techniques targeting 7.83Hz can do this for us.
Consider again the astounding nature of the Schumann Resonance: a wave with a length equal to the circumference of the earth, connecting all life and matter on this remarkable ball in the sky we are privileged to call home. Grounding us to the earth like no other frequency, the Schumann Resonance is our umbilical cord to Mother Nature. We cut it at our own risk.