Professor Matthew Arndt
15 October 2015
Mind the Noise
When trying to meditate in class, I always think of the one thing I find most obnoxious: The “guide” on that boom box and how he keeps blathering on and on about this and that. It truly distracts from the purpose of meditation, at least in my case, in that he uses words. I prefer a somewhat more natural anchor: white noise. The white noises I prefer are these things known as Binaural Beats, and they are truly a wonderful thing. Not only can they prove to be an easier anchor to focus on, they can affect all aspects of well-being: The physical, the mental, and to a much more unnoticeable extent, the spiritual.
This first bit is more opinion-based than the rest, in the aspect of binaural beats being an anchor. For those like me with short attention spans, focusing on the recorded words of a hippie or my breathing just doesn’t cut it, because it’s something that I’m used to. When binaural beats come into play, it’s pervasive, and in a good way. My ears are large, and my hearing is sharp, so when nothing but white noise is there, there is nothing left for me to focus on except the noise itself. There is the aspect of binaural beats that is quite odd: The frequency and specific types of sounds can stimulate the brain to put you in any sort of mood that you desire to be in: Happy, sad, sleepy, motivated, and whatever else you can think of.
On to the more physical side of things, starting with how binaural beats work on the brain. It starts with two different noise of different frequencies are introduced to the ears, one frequency per ear. This in turn leads to the process of entrainment, or the guiding, of the brain’s own frequency (Plos One, 2012). So what does this have to do with meditation? Say you listen to a binaural beat with a meditative vibe; the frequency of those sounds would not only be taken in through your ears, it would in a way reverberate throughout the mind, causing your mind to give off brain waves of a similar frequency. This would result in a more productive meditation, as all one has to do is listen.
What benefits can be seen from using binaural beats in tandem with meditation, particularly one’s health? Dr. Vincent Giampapa of the Longevity Institute International tested the effects certain alpha wave frequencies could have on the brain chemistry of hormones. What he found that there was an overall increase of melatonin and DHEA (preceding hormone to estrogen/androgen) by as much as 90% (Mendoza, 2013). This makes for some well-rested and aroused patients, and hey, when you’re horny, you’re happy.
Let’s move on from the physiological aspects of binaural benefits, and on to the more psychological aspects. Living in today’s society is quite the strenuous thing; and as a result, the mind can fall into many various ills, especially when we don’t have time to give the brain a proper “workout”. This is what meditation is at the most basic level, but can be expounded upon, and enhanced. For instance, at the Center Pointe research institute, there is this device known as the Holosync that can be programmed to give off all sorts of binaural beats, and has been proven to alter the mind and mood of patients so much as to stimulate the moods of hunger, pain, rage, and of course, euphoria (Center Pointe, 2015).
The euphoria inducing frequencies are where binaural beats tend to get a bad rap, becoming known as “the latest drug craze”. But binaural beats are nothing new. Throughout time immemorial cultures all over the world have used rhythmic beats for religious practices, though only in recent centuries has there been any research on the concept of sound affecting thought. If one thinks of music as a concept, it seems obvious that sound can not only affect thought, but emotion as well. This is why you see in today’s world the concept of hymns being common practice in church, or some rhythmic chanting and dance in a Native American ritual (Binaural Brains, 2015). With all that historic background, there has to be some truth that humanity has always known about sound encouraging belief.
Where do I, the author, fit in to this? Simply stated, binaural beats has changed my life. I start with a morning routine of waking up, getting on the floor, closing my eyes and listening to some gamma waves on my iHome. Being that gamma waves are the unicorn of brain waves, it has allowed me to live my life to the fullest. That’s just the day time though. Each night, before I go to bed, I put on a playlist of alpha, delta, and theta waves, allowing me a more restful, more peaceful night.
So dear reader, we’ve gone through the basic aspects of how binaural beats can affect meditation, and what’s more, daily life: The physical, the mental, and the spiritual. True, meditation is where one can start, but it needs some company to take it the whole way, being that there is more than one sense you can take away, or give enhancement to. I now have a personal request: In my works cited page, you’ll find a link to a sample album. Listen to one of the longer tracks during your next meditation, and you will not only thank me, but thank yourself for taking the time to listen to a humble student.
-Center Pointe (2015). Centerpointe.com Scientific Research Validates Holosync’s Benefits Web. Retrieved from http://www.centerpointe.com/articles/articles-research October 14 2015
-Goodin P., Ciorciari J. Baker K., Carrey A.M., Harper M., Kaufman J. (April 2012). Plos One A High-Density EEG Investigation into Steady State Binaural Beat Stimulation Web. Retrieved from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0034789 October 14 2015
-Meddows, R. (2012). Google Play Music Higher Brain Function & Increased Retention, Better Memory Guided Meditation Hypnosis Binaural Beats Web. Retrieved from https://play.google.com/music/preview/ October 14 2015
-Binaural Brains (2015). Binaural Brains The History of Binaural Beats Web. Retrieved from www.binauralbrains.com October 14 2015
-Mendoza M. (2013) Zenlama Understanding the Benefits of Brainwaves and Binaural Beats – The Ultimate Quick Start Guide Web. Retrieved from http://www.zenlama.com October 14 2015
Any assignment worth doing often comes with the seemingly insurmountable struggle. In this particular case, the main problem I ran into with this piece was finding credible sources for research, and biting my tongue. Often, the pieces I enjoy writing are subjective and opinionated, but with a research paper you just can’t do that without receiving an F. For the parts where my sarcasm leaked through, I made sure to keep it family-friendly. As for credible sources, it’s hard to find something factual when it comes to something holistic and poorly researched in the first place.
Moving from struggles to risks is something that is hard to differentiate. But anything worth doing ought to carry some risk. Being a health course, the only risk I would’ve taken would be to not show up. That is something rather easy to do in my case, since lecture was held in the morning, and I don’t do mornings very well. Was there a risk to this sample assignment, aside from not writing it in the first place? The answer is no since this paper, comparatively speaking, was fairly easy to write in the first place.
The lack of challenge and failure in this assignment is something that correlates to my overall experience with this course as a whole. I wish I could’ve learned something besides basic concepts of meditation methods. I myself am not for meditation as I have a short attention span, and am rather tense most of the time. If I learned anything, it is that people will do the strangest things to relax.