One of the great benefits of brainwave entrainment meditation is that it is one of the only things that has been shown to actually facilitate and speed up the process of moving stably into higher developmental levels.
I love it that we can now watch exactly what happens in the brain when someone is practicing meditation, depressed, or craving drugs, for example. All of our neural imaging devices―ways of seeing what’s actually going on chemically and energetically in the brain―are an incredibly rich resource to learn from. In the ‛Integral speak’ that we use a lot in my work, we’re talking here about the Upper-Right quadrant, which is the objective, physical body. But the other essential dimension is the interior aspect of what it feels like when one is in a state of deep meditation, or the experience of mindfulness from the inside out. We can look at the brains of a bunch of depressed people and say, “Wow, there are commonalities here. Certain areas aren’t firing, or certain areas are firing, and this is dominating…,” or whatever. But, it doesn’t tell us anything about what it’s like to be depressed. We won’t know that until we’ve been depressed ourselves, or we speak to others who are suffering from depression.
In the Profound Meditation Program, we’ve tried to honor both of those essential dimensions in our work. If you go to the website, and go to the science tab, there is all kinds of information on the science of the brain, on meditation, and on what the Profound Meditation Program is doing. If you’re interested, the website is an information-rich environment.
To me, the interior dimension is the most interesting:
- Are we feeling more connected to God, to the universe, or however you want to say that?
- Are we feeling deeper spiritually?
- Are we getting better at coping with stress?
- Are we dealing with our traumas from the past?
- Are we better able to deal with things that come up moment to moment?
- Are we being more creative?
- Do we have higher cognitive functioning? In other words, are we getting smarter over time as we do this practice?
These are the things that really interest me. The objective dimension is equally important, but I focus on the interior dimension, because my work over the years has been with people who are suffering and need healing.
In my case, I was suffering from extreme, life-threatening depression for a number of years. I started using brainwave entrainment technology on September 11th (9/11, interestingly enough), seven years ago. Since then, I’ve never actually scanned my brain; I’ve used some other neurofeedback devices to see what’s going on when I’m meditating, however, and that’s been really interesting. But the really valuable thing for me is that I’ve healed from my depression, and my spiritual life has stabilized, deepened, and matured.
I have always been a mystic―or at least I’ve felt like one ever since I had an awakening experience when I was eleven years old. Every experience is a spiritual experience, right, the whole world is spiritual. Everything has Buddha nature, as the Buddhists would say. But my waking up to it, as in, “Wow, there is a spiritual dimension!” happened in 1967. I had a series of these experiences throughout my life, but it wasn’t until I finally began to do this meditation on a daily basis that it changed from being just a state experience, in other words, something that comes and goes, to a permanent shift or stage experience. The state experiences of God, where I felt a presence of love and wisdom permeating everything, I’m it and always have been, that kind of unitive spiritual experience, were great, but then they would fade away, and I’d think, “That was wonderful, but now I’m still the same old me.”
In Integral theory, we talk about states, because learning to skillfully work with states is very useful to our spiritual development. However, we’re also looking for stage development. As the Sufis are wont to say, “We’re not looking for altered states, but we’re looking for altered traits.” We’re actually looking for transformation and higher stages of development, higher stages of morality, higher stages of understanding, and higher stages of concern.
Why am I talking about this in relation to the Profound Meditation Program? Because as I said at the beginning, brainwave entrainment meditation is one of the only things that has been shown to actually facilitate and speed up the process of moving stably into higher developmental levels, which is where the answers to our many, many challenging technological, ethnic, religious, and economic problems lie.
When we begin to think at a higher level, we can begin to prepare a future that will be viable for the human species. Our descendants, and other species too, are dependent on us getting our acts together, so we don’t poison and destroy their world. This takes our meditation practice from how it was perceived back in the 60s and 70s, when there was a lot of pooh-poohing of meditative practice for being a very narcissistic, staring-at-your-navel, checking-out-of-life type of practice, when you should be involved and doing things, to an evolutionary imperative, where if enough of us show up at these higher levels, we effect the tipping point, and can start resolving the many challenges that are meeting us. Meditation is one of the ways that gets us there.
Adapted from iAwake Technologies’ free, weekly teleconference call on August 22, 2012.