Eric: There’s a Canadian trainer by the name of Thomas Hawes who has developed a concept he calls zone minutes; he has found among the athletes he has worked with, that the more minutes they accrue of being in the zone—of being in that place where they’re totally relaxed and totally connected to everything that’s happening around them, but totally free of all tension, all resistance—the more time they spend in this state, the more they are able to respond instantly, precisely, and effortlessly.
A further effect of accruing zone minutes is that the more athletes accrue these minutes over time, the more they build up to a critical mass where all of a sudden, when they’re in a competition, they’ll just start doing things they never dreamed they could do; it just comes out of nowhere… because they’ve been building up these zone minutes. Hawes is a trainer who happens to use brainwave entrainment with his athletes, and he has found that using brainwave entrainment with them, in his estimation, results in the accrual of a lot more zone minutes than otherwise.
Shawn: When I think about zone minutes and start envisioning that state, what comes up for me is how so much of the time people are thinking, “What do I need to think; what do I need to do?” In the zone there is the absence of thoughts, not the presence of thoughts. So often people think of focus as this squint-contracted-brow sort of thing, but actually focus is less the presence of something on your mind than the absence of everything else.
Eric: Exactly. There is a neurofeedback pioneer, also in Canada, Dr. Lester Fehmi, who has written a book about this whole thing, called The Open-Focus Brain. It describes just what we are talking about, how in our society, for whatever reasons, we tend to gravitate towards that narrow focus. I’m not saying there’s not some benefit to that, but the most accurate focus, the most sustainable focus, the most effortless focus that he talks about is a diffused kind of focus. It’s where you start to become very aware of the spaciousness around you and within you. In fact, Fehmi has come up with a method where you just start visualizing space. It’s that simple. When you do, your brain starts to create synchronous alpha brain waves.
Technically, the zone state would be a combination of three different brain waves: high beta/gamma, alpha, and theta. When they’re all balanced—that’s your zone state. With the alpha state, we find a lot of dopamine release, dopamine being paramount in facilitating attention and focus. But there is also a serotonin release, and it’s part of what makes us feel good.
When you have that balance of dopamine and serotonin going through a properly trained brain, it can turn on and off the natural pharmacy in the brain, very naturally and spontaneously. Rather than trying to ingest Zen, you really become Zen through the training of your mind.
Shawn: I like this distinction; rather than trying to ingest, one can manifest Zen, right?
Eric: Absolutely. One of the things we do try to differentiate in our work is that we do not say that the Profound Meditation Program, the NeuroStrength program that we’re going to be presenting, or brainwave entrainment in general creates the Zen state. What we’re doing with these precise brainwave states is creating some very coherent states that trigger the optimal use of your natural neurotransmitters and hormones so that it’s easier for you to enter into a meditative state while you’re meditating, regardless of what your tradition is.
Shawn: Okay, I’ve got to interrupt you for just a second, Eric.
Shawn: Did you say NeuroStrength?
Eric: Yes, sir.
Shawn: Are you working on it?
Eric: Yes, sir.
Shawn: That’s cool. I’m excited. Tell me about what NeuroStrength is.
Eric: NeuroStrength is basically three tracks with what we consider a very sophisticated, cutting-edge combination of audio entrainment and subtle energetic entrainment. You listen to the tracks through simple headphones or ear buds.
- The first track will get you right into the zone stage; it’s 15 minutes long.
- The second track is a 30-minute track that you can put on repeat—this is what you listen to while you work out. It will give you a ton of energy. It works with your brain waves and your subtle energetic field to get you into a super-focused state; a high energetic state in order to maintain a very high intensity workout for extended periods of time.
- The third track is a cool down track. This track has specific brainwave patterns in it, which are designed to trigger the release of endorphins and therefore speed up the recovery process.
The short-term effect and benefit of listening to NeuroStrength is that it will make your workouts more focused. If you’re going into a workout feeling a little bit under the weather, not at your best, it’s going to help you get into the zone so you can work at your best. It’s also going to help you naturally emit the hormones and neurotransmitters that support recovery.
The long-term effect of listening to these tracks is that they will actually train your brain and nervous system, over time, to become super focused, super energetic, and super relaxed, and to be able to move from a highly focused, energetic state to a highly relaxed state and back again, effortlessly. The more you listen, the more you can access that skill, even when you’re not using it.
Shawn: Totally awesome, Eric.
Learn more about NeuroStrength
To learn more about Open Focus, please click here. Eric Thompson learned about Thomas Hawes’ concept of Zone Minutes from the work of David Siever.
While Shawn Phillips is well known as the author of the bestseller Strength for Life, as an entrepreneur, and as a renowned expert in the area of performance training and nutrition (Full Strength), Shawn is better known by his family, close friends, and associates as a focused, hard-working man with a kind heart and an intense passion for helping people live extraordinary lives.
Eric Thompson is a co-founder of iAwake Technologies, LLC and was its Chief Technology Officer. Although no longer with iAwake Technologies, his contributions have been immense. Eric is also an inventor, researcher, and producer, and is considered one of the world’s foremost brainwave entrainment experts. In addition, Eric is a pioneer in the development of biofield entrainment technology, which digitally captures and transmits life-enhancing and beneficial subtle energies to the human biofield via any digital medium, including pictures, audio, and film. By combining this emerging technology with an unconventional, innovative, and original approach to audio brainwave entrainment, Eric strives to make profound spiritual development and emotional freedom more easily accessible to all. He writes and speaks on the intersection between neuroscience, psychology, subtle energy, and spirituality.