Sleeping or Meditating?

For a start, let me make it clear that, in a healthy brain, there is always some activity in all bands. EEG measures an average potential over a large number of neurons as a variance from the average using a floating reference. There is so much wrong with basic EEG that I barely know where to start, so I won’t.

It is generally agreed that expert meditators exhibit heightened delta during meditation. It is also universally agreed that delta dominates during sleep. The chicken-or-the-egg always applies when such information is applied to AVS – I still have no idea whether sleep/meditation happens when delta increases, or increasing delta causes sleep/meditation. Either way, and it matters little as it seems AVS assists anyway, the relationship between meditative and somnolent delta is something that can be exploited.

Usually I sleep and meditate lying down comfortably. As with most people, sleep is not an unusual outcome in both cases – usually I put this down to the body needing sleep more than the mind needs meditation at the time. More effective for meditation is a posture (asana) that precludes sleep, or requires a particular discipline in order to sleep.

One of my favorites is the Dragon asana, but this can even be done standing up (make sure there’s plenty of soft space to fall). The idea is to train the body to follow the last command issued and allow the mind to go off and do other things – this is an extension of the mind awake/body asleep experience many have, except that the body is required to “stay” in an unstable position. Falling over suggests a failed attempt.

The next trick is to teach the body to continue intoning a chant or mantra while the mind goes elsewhere – aiming for controlled vocalization during sleep.

Eventually it is possible to leave the body alone, appearing to be fully conscious for extended periods while the mind does whatever it wants to do at the time – sleep or meditate or play mental tiddly-winks.

It’s also important to remember that delta is a very messy band – lots of movement related functions and electrical connection noise will show up here, so stillness and good EEG connections are essential if delta is to be correctly monitored. Delta is the most difficult band to entrain, some (including myself) arguing that it doesn’t entrain but is assisted by AVS by other, unidentified, mechanisms.

These are among the many techniques I have accomplished and then stopped, along with the vast amount of information I have acquired and then forgotten. Nothing really matters and repeating a function, or cluttering the mind with processed data, is almost never useful. Once a thing can be done satisfactorily, once a thing is understood, it is rarely worth spending more time on – better to move onto something new. “Excellence” is grossly over-rated. Of course, “making a living” requires that much pointlessness be tolerated.

Cheers,
Craig

 

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