The Unconscious, the Present Moment, Brain Waves and Your Health. How are They Interconnected?
With more research on the mind and unconscious being done, we’ve come to know how much more of a crucial role the unconscious turns out to be. Not only is the significance of the unconscious strongly evident in discussions about free will and manifestation, but also in all kinds of psychological areas. We already know [for a while] that stress has a negative impact on our health, but now we are getting to know more and more about the role of the unconscious with regards to this as well. We shortly introduced this subject in the article on the Mind-Body Connection. In this article we want to go more in depth on this subject, introducing some of dr. Joe Dispenza’s teachings and research-conclusions. He was able to heal himself from a back injury combining different health benefiting habits, but using meditation and visualization as his main tools. After healing he committed himself to learning and researching how this was possible and what role the brain plays herein, to be able to help others too. He is internationally known and praised worldwide for his work.
Before we will discuss the role of our brain and Joe Dispenza’s findings regarding the (unconscious) mind, meditation, brain waves and our well-being, we will first take a closer look at what happens with our body when we experience stress caused by unconscious habits, ideas, or thoughts.
Research shows that our unconscious not only influences our personalities, but also our health and well-being. All of our basic physical functions such as breathing, our heart-rate, and the immune system are processes that happen unconsciously (through our autonomic nervous system) too. These processes are disrupted when we experience high levels of stress. Every time we react in a “flight or fight” way, our bodies release stress hormones. Because of these hormones, we can mobilize enormous amounts of energy to respond to threatening situations. We needed this in our far past when we had to run for a predator for example. Nowadays we are not chased by predators, but we experience the same stress-response from things like our job or a phone-call from our boss or family member that elicits a strong emotional reaction such as anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, sadness, or guilt. But now the same chemistry automatically stays switched on, because the external threat never seems to go away. This is also the case when we do not experience acute stress, but when we experience stress from repressed or unconscious negative emotions and feelings: it becomes chronic (stress). This is when our fight or flight response of the body becomes maladaptive instead of adaptive.
What makes it so difficult to change something about the programming of our unconscious* is that just an intention is not enough. “Our mind becomes our body”, as Joe Dispenza states in his book ‘Becoming Supernatural. How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon.’ Because of the continuous stress that our (unconscious) mind is experiencing, the body is programmed to have a certain chemical balance. The body has been so conditioned to the rush of chemicals, it becomes addicted to them and the body craves them. Unconsciously we will be drawn towards situations or people that can make us feel certain negative emotions, to give us our hormonal rush. In this way we continue to live in a state of continuous stress!
BRAIN WAVES AND THE PRESENT MOMENT
Healthy relationships, being aware of our unconscious habits and patterns, letting emotions out and meditation are mentioned as being helpful to reduce stress. But to re-program our unconscious we will need to reach a certain brain wave state during meditation (or hypnosis). So let’s see more about brain waves for a moment. Most of the time when we are awake and conscious, we are in the beta-range of brain wave frequencies. Beta is measured in low-range, medium-range, and high-range frequencies. We are in a low-range frequency state when we are conscious but relaxed. For example when we are reading in the park. Mid-range beta is a slightly more aroused state; for example when you meet new people and introduce yourself to everyone and try remembering their names. High-range beta is when you are experiencing high levels of stress and you display these frequencies when you exhibit any of the survival emotions including anger, anxiety, suffering, grief, frustration, or depression. During the day we are mostly in a beta frequency -state, but we might slip into the alpha brain wave state. This is when we are daydreaming or imagining. If beta brain waves indicate that you place most of your attention on the outer world, alpha brain waves indicate you’re placing your attention more on your inner world. Theta frequency brain waves take over when the body is drifting off to sleep. This frequency is also associated with deep states of meditation. When we have our deep restorative sleep is when we have the delta -frequency brain waves, although our brains can move into these frequencies also when we are in very deep meditation.
The meditative state of the theta brain waves brings us in the present moment. The state of being in the present moment is important when we want to change something in the “programmed” unconscious. When we are in the present moment, we no longer are connected to our “programmed past”; our habits, our thoughts, and feelings. We all experience getting distracted by thoughts or feelings when we start meditating; we want to stay in our physical world identity. But every time we are getting aware of this we have to be disciplined to go back to the present moment. The present moment is when we are getting beyond our physical world identity and unfolding into the quantum-field. We reach a state where we are “no one”, “nowhere”, and “nobody”, but also in a state where all possibilities exist. At this moment we are “freeing” our bodies from the negative emotions and all of the other unconscious programming. This has an important effect on our body, which will surrender eventually too, because of some important changes which happen in our brain during this process (we discuss this further in the next paragraph).
Magical about being in “the present moment” during this meditative state is that at this moment negative emotions will make place for positive emotions. So, for example, we can go from feeling angry or frustrated to feeling love and compassion. Because all memories and people where the negative emotions have been attached to, don’t exist in the present moment, the energy from the emotions is returning to us. To understand this process better we need to know that emotions are energy in motion and we need to understand that we draw back energy from the quantum field around us. Joe Dispenza explains this in a more elaborated way in his book, and there are countless writers who go more in depth on this subject. We would like to recommend Gregg Braden regarding this subject as well. When we continue this process on a regular basis we will create new habits and new chemical balances, because being in the meditative state and the present moment changes our brain.
What happens in our brain when we get into the meditative state and the present moment? As stated above, we can not enter the present moment or quantum-field as a physical world identity, a “somebody”, so we have to enter as only awareness or consciousness**. To make this happen we have to break our chemical addiction (at least temporarily). Instead of putting our attention on things in the material world, we are putting our attention on energy or possibility (residing in the quantum). Of course, such an experience creates some pretty significant changes in our brain. The first is that the neocortex - the seat of our conscious mind, slows down. Living by the hormones of stress causes our brain waves to fire in a very disordered, incoherent pattern. This in turn means that our bodies can not work efficiently. Various neurological networks assigned to each one of the things we are focusing our attention on are being activated. This changes when we slip into the present moment and our neocortex slows down. Because our attention is focused now on energy and information (from the quantum) our brain begins to change. Different compartments that were once subdivided now start to unify and move towards a coherent whole-brain state. Different neural communities reach out and form bigger communities. They synchronize, organize, and integrate. Therefore our biology becomes more whole and unified. Another change that happens when we slow down our mind (and stay in the present moment) is that our consciousness moves out of the neocortex and into the midbrain (the limbic brain) and there it connects with the autonomic nervous system, the body’s subconscious operating system. This is the part of the nervous system that is in charge of all our processes that keep us alive and are believed by scientists to happen unconsciously like: digesting food, secreting hormones, keeping our heart beating, regulating body temperating, and keeping up our immune system. When we are in the present moment the autonomic nervous system is able to step in and begins to heal the body because our consciousness (which now is in the state of the present moment) merges with its consciousness.
As Joe Dispenza explains in his teachings and his book, meditation and visualization can help us greatly in healing our bodies from stress and diseases. By getting our attention off of our daily lives and stress, and bringing our brain into the meditative state of theta brain waves and the present moment, we are able to temporarily break chemical addictions and are letting the brain creating new chemical balances and habits. In the present moment without all other distractions the brain can unify its different compartments, letting different neural communities reach out and form bigger communities, and move towards a coherent whole-brain state. When our brain is coherent, we are coherent. Our autonomic nervous system will function in a more coherent and right way. Our body’s consciousness knows how to heal itself, and our minds can support this process.
- Programming of the unconscious happens for a large part in our childhood. Feelings and emotions will be associated with experiences and embedded in a certain way in the unconscious, without understanding “rationally” what happened.
** Consciousness at its simplest is sentience or awareness of internal or external existence. Despite centuries of analysis, researches, philosophers and psychologist still do not have a clear, complete definition.
Explore more about Brainwaves & the Unconscious here