A guide to working with alpha brainwaves, space, and surrender.
Research into alpha brainwaves began in the 1960’s and has offered much insight into the mind. Alpha brainwaves represent a relaxed yet alert state of mind – it is simular to many meditation states.
Alpha brainwaves also cause coherence across the brain… coherence refers to when multiple diverse regions of the brain are firing in synchronicity, which results in greater presence and a tilting towards whole brain functioning. Alpha brainwaves also put the body into parasympathetic, which denotes a relaxed state where the body rests, digests, repairs, and takes in information well.
One final comment about alpha is that renders a more diffuse awareness. In contrast to the narrow field of awareness someone who is more stimulated or stressed will exhibit – more representative of sympathetic activity and beta brainwaves.
Researchers have found that subjects who learn to achieve alpha brainwaves on command find greater relaxation in their body… because they are relaxed, their brain is better able to take in their environment, even making colors and sounds increase in vividness. Individuals in alpha are better able at understanding their perspective of the whole, rather than being focused on the particular. For example, instead of becoming stressed by a current stressor, one is able to maintain ease and a connection to the big picture of one’s life which takes the focus away from the stress.
So how does one produce alpha?
Researchers have tried relaxing music, visual imagery, and other techniques which produced some results. But, the two most effective techniques seem to be space and surrender.
What do I mean by space?
Well, instead of focusing on an internal or external image or idea, become aware of the space in the room, or close your eyes and be aware of the space between your ears.
Seems logical to think about, if you want a more diffuse and big picture awareness, switch the habitual gaze from objects to the space between…switch from the particular thing, to the context and environment.
I’m certain you’ve experienced going into nature wherein there is a large open space and your bodymind effortlessly shift into ease and relaxation…. that’s the beauty of space and alpha at work.
This is very much in tune with many spiritual teachings which focus on the ‘void’ or emptiness, such as those found in Zen and other systems of Buddhism.
The second method is surrender. Surrendering is one of the most powerful acts a human can do. In order to experience something totally in your being, you must surrender to the experience. This may include something joyful like love, or it may mean surrendering to the fact that a loved one has passed.
Most people don’t live in a place of surrender all the time…subtle layers of resistance live in the bodymind…perhaps a resistance to going to a certain job, or living in a certain place, or being around certain people…all of these scenarios create resistance to surrendering to life as it is, and create a scenario where one wants life to be as they want it to be.
To surrender means accepting a situation totally.
How to get good at surrendering?
Breathwork and yoga are great practices.
Every exhale is an oppourunity to surrender and relax. You take around 26,000 breaths a day, each is an oppourunity to breath in and create ease. If you are resisting your job, that’s 8 hours of holding onto your exhale, and that pattern of holding is not so easy to simply surrender once work is over.
Thus, practices like breath, yoga, and meditation teach the art and science of surrender.
They teach how to create softness throughout the body. This softness creates resilience and strength to do the things you have to do, which may cause resistance, but you do them anyway.
History is full of inspiring individuals who surrender to situations without hardening. I think of Nelson Mandala being in prison without becoming rigid and un-loving.
Bonus: loving is a great way to surrender, for love sees the whole human, not in parts, and creates an openness throughout the body.
To wrap up, two great ways to achieve alpha brainwave is to visualize spaciousness and to surrender to what is.
Surrendering can be learned through the breath, yoga, and meditation.
Please note, that surrendering is a bit of a tricky affair at first. It is the effortful mind one often operates in that surrenders itself to the greater intelligence of the whole. So, despite surrendering being a conscious act, it is also a process of surrendering the ordinary part of you that is often in control. Thus, in order to surrender totally, one will need to let go of control, which is a courageous act of faith…because when one let’s go, there’s no telling what emotions and thoughts may arise. Therefore, it can be advantageous to practice surrendering in a safe space, such as with a breathworker, yoga teacher, meditation guide, therapist etc. They can both guide the process, and hold the space.
The gold at the end of the process is to let go, and live in a new way.
A way of trust.
Living in surrendering will see one’s life flower in the most unexpected way.
It’s an honour to guide people to this grace.
If you have any questions, or would like to book a session, visit linktr.ee/zkcoaching.ca