Delta=Sleep?

Resolving apparently conflicting information is important to me. An area of much conflict is the matter of delta entrainment. Some sources say delta entrainment can be done, others say it cannot. Some place significance on heightened delta activity in monks during meditation, others do not. Probably the only thing that is not in dispute is that we tend to produce the most delta activity when asleep.

The trick to delta meditation, it seems, is to remain awake whilst mostly asleep. I’m not quite convinced this state actually exists. Mind awake/body asleep – no argument here, it seems to be a perfectly normal and not particularly uncommon experience. Some part of mind awake, rest of mind and body asleep – doesn’t quite make sense. If I am conscious enough to verify that I’m conscious, then I’m conscious enough to not be asleep.

The upshot of all this is that I’ve never noted any significant delta activity in EEG recording taken while I’ve been awake, irrespective of the amount or type of entrainment stimulus. Conversely, I have only noted significant delta activity when I have been asleep, or when there is a period of time in a meditation/contemplation session that cannot be adequately accounted for.

There is apparently no problem at all in getting to sleep and remaining asleep in all manner of postures. It would be interesting to explore the range of functions the body could be trained to deal with whilst asleep, handled by sub-conscious processes without the necessity of awareness. It leaves me wondering what aspect of self might remain to have an observer viewpoint when fully “asleep”.

My impression is that we fool ourselves a little when we recall our delta experiences. More likely to be of value are the transition states as consciousness returns, often with the opportunity to grasp otherwise inaccessible fragments of our subconscious universe. Ability to carry information between states seems to improve with practice. In many ways I see the gaps in perception, the existence of quite distinct modes of cognition, as corresponding to the Veil and the Abyss of the Qabalah. An ability to dip freely into the dream world and bring back concepts intact certainly fits the role of the Magister Templi.

Somewhat related is the question of whether open-eye or closed-eye is best. Well, I’ve not seen any significant entrainment to any frequency below about 10Hz with open-eye glasses of any type. Closed-eye, I’ve seen meaningful responses across the entire spectrum of interest (gamma to delta (allowing sleep as above)). Open-eye induces significant activity from about 10Hz up. As I love to jump to conclusions, this suggests to me the act of opening and closing the eyes switches the brain between alert and relaxed modes. Trying to relax (or sleep) with eyes open is contrary to our design. The eyelids-relaxed-mostly-closed-somewhat-open state advocated by some meditators seems to be functionally equivalent to eyes-closed, but difficult to maintain with flashing glasses, as any movement of the eyelid causes substantial changes in brightness, and any eyelid fluttering tends to show up as 10Hz activity on the EEG, with a corresponding increase in external awareness.

I’d be really interested to hear from anyone who can provide a compelling account of awake delta. There might even be a copy of NP2 Home for anyone who can offer a repeatable technique.

Cheers,
Craig

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