Principles of Meditation & Entrainment

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by Ta-tsu-wa, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    The subject of what we might or what we should experience as a result of meditation and/or using Lifeflow entrainment has been raised in several discussions recently and in fact comes up quite regularly. The answers are here to be found but they’re scattered all over in different threads. I wanted to try to pull these answers together into one place so people can come and get a solid foundation regarding those things most commonly asked about.

    Not everyone is going to see things exactly the way I express them here, and will want to respond to provide their own take on the subject. I would ask that responses to the things I write here or discussions of the ideas not be posted in this thread. Let this one stand as is. Post any discussion in the companion thread titled “Responses to Meditation Questions”, found here:


    Comments Here

    Now, on with the show...
     
  2. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    To begin, let’s establish what is meant by the word “meditation”. The dictionary offers several different meanings such as to “think about” or “consider” a thing, etc. Our definition is very specific. Meditation is a particular state of consciousness having very unique attributes. This means meditation is a noun, not a verb. For the sake of convenience we may still speak of “meditating” but in fact this is inaccurate. What we really mean is that we are in the state of meditation. I won’t split hairs here and try to decide if there are multiple states of consciousness that can all be called meditation, or if there is only one. It suffices for our purposes to note that meditation is a state of consciousness possessing very specific and unique attributes.

    We may use the term “to meditate” as a convenience, but always keep in mind, what is really meant is that we enter into a state of meditation. It’s an important point to distinguish because if we get caught in the trap of regarding meditation "as a verb” it leads into all sorts of problems and misunderstandings. If a person incorrectly believes meditation is a verb, they generally also confuse whatever technique they use to arrive at a state of meditation as being meditation in and of itself.

    All techniques whether mantra, focus on the breath, contemplation of a koan, or any other, are simply the vehicles we use to take us into (hopefully) a meditative state. Put another way, the purpose of repeating a mantra is not to get proficient at repeating a mantra. The purpose is to take us to a meditative state where the mantra slips away and is no longer necessary.

    I was raised on a farm, and in my youth I dug enough fence post holes to last a dozen lifetimes. My father used to joke that he gave me that chore so that I’d have lots of practice and get good at digging fence post holes. From a pragmatic point of view, the purpose of digging all those post holes was really not so that I’d become a better post hole digger, but so that I could plant posts in them. Once you dig a post hole to the correct depth you don’t keep on digging, trying to make the hole fancier or more aesthetically pleasing. You stick a post in that sucker, tamp the earth back in around it so that the post is secure, and then move on to dig the next hole.

    Just so, when you reach a state of meditation you don’t “keep digging”, so to speak. The hole has been dug. All that digging has done what it was meant to do. Once your technique has gotten you into meditation, STOP DIGGING! You’re there. If you keep digging you will frustrate your ability to remain in meditation for any significant period of time. Only resume your chosen technique if and when you slip out of the meditative state. If you’re human then you WILL slip out of that state again and again. Don’t worry about that. That’s how the process works for all of us mere mortals.

    So we could state the first principles of meditation and entrainment as:

    Principle #1: “Meditation is a noun, not a verb.
    Principle #2: “Meditation is a state of consciousness, not the technique used to get to that state.”
    Principle #3: “Once meditation is achieved, drop your technique and leave it behind.”
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  3. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    Using entrainment with meditation is something new to many people. It carries its own set of misunderstandings that need to be cleared up.

    First, it’s important to know that just listening to Lifeflow or any other entrainment track is not in itself the state of meditation. It may help us reach the meditative state, but all on its own just hearing those entrainment sounds does not constitute being “in meditation”.

    In fact just having a particular range of brainwaves running through our grey matter is also not “meditation”. Brainwaves are not the cause of the meditative state. They are only an indicator that we might be in a meditative state. And then again we might be in some other state as well. Those exact same brainwave frequencies are present during many different activities and states of consciousness, not just during meditation. I produce high levels of Alpha brainwaves when I’m daydreaming, but daydreaming is not meditation. So while the presence of certain brainwaves might indicate we are in meditation, it does not necessarily mean that we are.

    The next few principles then would be:

    Principle #4: “Just listening to an entrainment track does NOT mean you are in meditation.”
    Principle #5: “Just having certain brainwaves does NOT mean you are in meditation.”
    Principle #6: “Meditation requires the intent to be in meditation followed by taking appropriate actions.”
     
  4. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    It should be stated that if we are listening to Lifeflow AND we are intentionally seeking to enter into meditation, the chances are good that we will do exactly that rather than just being in a daydream or some other pleasant state. It’s no guarantee, but the combination of listening to entrainment while intending to enter meditation raises the odds that we will accomplish our meditative goal.

    Furthermore, if we are listening to Lifeflow and intending on reaching a state of meditation, AND our brainwaves are in that range targeted by the Lifeflow track, the odds are that the brainwaves truly indicate a state of meditation and not some other state of consciousness that happens to share the same brainwave range.

    The next principles could be:

    Principle #7: “Meditative intention plus entrainment increases chances of achieving the meditation state.”
    Principle #8: “Achieving targeted brainwaves during meditation practice denotes likely state of meditation.”
     
  5. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    Perhaps you’re wondering, “So what? Why is this important to understand?” It is common for people to try entrainment thinking it is going to produce meditation just because they listened to a track. Often they come away disappointed, feeling that nothing special happened. They decide entrainment isn’t what they were led to believe it was. Or they decide meditation is vastly overrated and for them at least, ineffectual. Their disappointment has more to do with not understanding the principles listed thus far than it does with the effectiveness of either meditation or entrainment.

    They came to the table with the idea that the entrainment track would “cause” them to be in meditation, which it doesn’t. Or they thought that having the specific brainwaves the entrainment program promotes would “cause” them to be in meditation. It doesn’t. If you really understand the principles above, you’ll understand why. If you don’t grasp why yet, read these principles again and consider what they really mean. The answer is there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  6. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    One might fairly ask, “If entrainment doesn’t cause meditation, then why bother with it?” To understand the role entrainment plays in meditation, think of a water pump. Most of you have lived in areas where you have access to city water. You turn the knob on the tap, water comes out, end of story. If you grew up like I did, on a farm with a local well, then you probably know that in order to get the water flowing from a well you must first “prime the pump”. (Those of you young enough to remember the days when cars all had carburetors rather than fuel injectors might also remember running out of gas and needing to prime the carburetor with a little gasoline. It’s the same principle.)

    In other words, you give the well a little taste of what it is you want from it, and then the well responds by delivering more of the same back to you. In the case of the water well, you pour a small amount of water down into the pump. This is known as “priming” the pump. Until you do this the pump does not produce the water you’re looking for. Once you prime the pump it sets up the conditions in which that pump can do its job and the water begins to flow.

    Entrainment is like priming the pump of meditation. It doesn’t “cause” meditation any more than pouring that little bit of water into the pump initially “causes” water to appear in the well. The water was already there. The conditions for the pump to do its job just needed to be set up. What entrainment does is to create the conditions and the internal environment typically associated with meditation. You could get to that point without entrainment, certainly, but the entrainment allows you to get there quicker, more consistently, and to remain there for longer periods of time than you would ordinarily be capable of doing on your own. That’s the benefit of entrainment.

    So the next principle might be stated as:

    Principle #9: “Entrainment primes the meditative pump, making the process quicker and more consistent.”
     
  7. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    After you fully understand the above principles, the next source of poor results to consider arises from faulty expectations and misunderstandings about what meditation and entrainment are, and what the experience of either one of them is like. Entrainment and meditation aren’t synonyms but the misunderstandings about them do have some overlapping areas. Some misunderstandings are common to both while some are unique to one or the other.

    One faulty expectation as it pertains to entrainment is that listening to an entrainment track is the same as meditating. If you’ve understood the principles so far as they’ve been laid out you understand why this idea is completely untrue. If the answer is not yet obvious to you, read the material covering these principles again and try to grasp their meaning.

    Another common misconception is that entrainment is going to force your brain into doing something beyond its native capabilities, or at least beyond what it is accustomed to doing. This mistaken belief is often the root that leads to posts on the forum that read something like, “When I meditate with Lifeflow my face gets flushed (or my hair vibrates or I develop x-ray vision, or any of the other things we so often see posted here). If I meditate without Lifeflow the face flushing doesn’t happen. Lifeflow must be causing it.”

    No, it isn’t, at least not in the way the people who post these kinds of comments are thinking. Neither would any other entrainment product you could purchase for that matter. Part of the problem is the proliferation of utter nonsense about entrainment one can read all over the internet. There is one site in particular that comes to mind, and the contents of that site are often copied by other websites. It is a list of Hz frequencies with their corresponding (alleged) physical effects. The list runs on for many pages. I won’t bother with the link because you can Google it and find it for yourself if you feel the need for a good laugh, but here are some examples from this site:

    3.07 Associated with hara (3cm or 1.5 inch below navel, balance of pelvis)
    3.6 (a remedy for) anger & irritability
    3.84 Associated with ovaries (Effects=vitality, life at every level)
    4.11 Associated with kidneys (Effects=strength)
    4.6 Associated with spleen & blood (Effects=Emotional Impulse)
    5.35 Associated with lungs (Effects=Oxygen, Heat)
    6.26-6.6 Hemispheric desync, confusion, anxiety, low Reaction Time, depression insomnia
    6.88 Associated with collarbones (Effects=vitality, overall balance, stability)
    9.41 Pyramid frequency (outside)
    10.3 Associated With Nasal Passages (Effects=breathing, taste)

    These are just a few examples. This silly list literally goes on for pages and pages, and it is pure hogwash almost without exception. Unfortunately there are many people dealing with personal problems that read nonsense like this and want very badly for it to be true. Perhaps they don’t believe every word, but they believe or hope that at least some of it is accurate information. These hopes and beliefs contribute to the generation of false expectations, so that when listening to an entrainment frequency of 10.3Hz doesn’t clear up their stuffy sinuses they conclude entrainment doesn’t work. The digestion of such foolishness is an impediment to realizing the true value of entrainment.

    Michael posted a nice, short chart of the various brainwave ranges and the types of effects they generally have and what sorts of activities they may be able to enhance. There simply is nothing more detailed than what this chart contains about entrainment frequencies and what they are useful for. These elaborate lists to be found on the internet are nothing but the product of overactive imaginations.

    When people begin to believe these kinds of claims it is only half a step further for them to begin to attribute all of their own curious little experiences to entrainment. After all, they reason in the back of their minds, if 3.84Hz can cure an ovarian cyst, isn’t it just as reasonable that listening to a track at 8Hz might cause the room to appear to spin and change colors? There is an old saying that suggests that the more outrageous a claim is, the more people will be inclined to believe it. Don’t fall for outrageous, ridiculous claims. If you do you're heading for disappointment, guaranteed.

    The next principles could be stated as:

    Principle #10 “Micro-defining the role of brainwave frequencies is pure, unsubstantiated fantasy.”
    Principle #11 “Subscribing to such fantasies guarantees false expectations and disappointment.”
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  8. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    Another issue has to do with our need for reassurance. Put simply, we all want to feel validated in our experiences. We come to meditation and entrainment with the idea these practices are beyond our ordinary set of experiences. This is not entirely inaccurate. They are not beyond what is “normal” but for most of us they are outside of what is “typical”. Whether we consciously seek them or not, somewhere in the back of our minds we hold beliefs that because meditation and entrainment are beyond our usual set of experiences, then the evidence that they are having some sort of effect on us must also be outside of our normal range of experiences. And so we (not too surprisingly) begin to experience “symptoms” or “signs” of something that we do not ordinarily experience. Immediately we associate these with the entrainment or the meditation. We wonder if this is something real or imagined so we often start asking others if they have experienced the same or similar things. We seek validation that our practices are producing tangible effects on us.

    There are various reasons we seek this sort of validation. Many of us first try meditation to find relief from all sorts of different problems. Some seek relief from physical or emotional ailments; for solutions to personality shortcomings, such as a short temper or a tendency towards jealousy, etc. Some problems may be quite serious, even life threatening. Our search for relief may have been going on for a very long time without having found exactly what we were searching for.

    It cannot be any wonder then that we are almost desperate to find some sign, some indication that our practice of meditation aided by entrainment is having tangible, definable effects. We seize on these odd little experiences like flushing of the face or seeing spirals of color when our eyes are closed, hoping these are signs suggesting the elusive relief we’ve been after is finally within our grasp. We ask others to validate our experiences so that we can reassure ourselves we’re on the right track at last.

    All of this is entirely understandable, even somewhat predictable. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes counter-productive. Such experiences, while having a certain feeling of solidity to them, are largely the product of our desires and expectations. Did your face get flushed? One look in the mirror confirms it did. Was this caused by the entrainment? No, it was not. It was the result of what was sought after and what was expected or even hoped for.

    Entrainment tracks guide our brainwaves into targeted ranges, but they are ranges we go through naturally many times every day. Lifeflow 10, for example, takes the brain to a 10Hz frequency. We experience this same frequency when closing our eyes and taking a deep breath, or when consciously relaxing physical tension in the body, or when we are find ourselves lost in a daydream, or when we view a beautiful sunset, or when we find ourselves caught up in an especially peaceful bit of music. If there was a cause-and-effect relationship between these 10Hz brainwaves and our face flushing, then our face should also flush when we enter that daydream, listen to that piece of music, watch that sunset, or close our eyes and relax. The same brainwave patterns are present during all those activities as they are while listening to LF-10. But these other activities don’t bring on the same face flushing.

    Why not? Because the flushing has nothing to do with the brainwaves or entrainment, and everything to do with the expectations we bring to the use of entrainment. We didn’t watch that sunset with any expectations of face flushing. We didn’t have any of those expectations while listening to that music. In short, there is a cause generating the effect, but the cause is our expectations, not the entrainment.

    When explaining this to others they frequently respond with something like, “But I had no expectation or even any idea that my face might experience flushing. I didn’t even know that was possible. Now every time I listen to a particular entrainment track that specific face flushing occurs. If it is a specific phenomena, and it only happens when I use one certain entrainment track, doesn’t that prove it is the entrainment causing it?”

    Short answer: No.

    Longer answer: We are creatures of conditioning, just like those infamous dogs of Pavlov. When we first use entrainment we may not have anything specific in mind that will happen, but we hold a general expectation that “something” should happen. As we begin the process of entrainment we are on high alert looking for any little indication that something is happening. Pretty soon we identify some feeling or twitch or unusual perception. The moment we focus on whatever it is, the act of focusing on it magnifies the thing. Since we were already viewing the situation with an expectation that it was the entrainment that was going to produce some sort of result, we automatically associate whatever our phenomenon is with entrainment. Afterwards we think about it some more. We examine every little nuance of the experience. We talk about it with others. We discuss it on forums like this one. We seek (and usually find) validation in the opinions of others.

    After fixation upon our phenomenon takes place, what started out as a random perception is now cemented into our experience of, and is conditionally associated with entrainment. We condition ourselves to relive the same experience associated with entrainment each time we use entrainment. It isn’t random any longer. It is explicit conditioning, and it repeats as predictably as the sunrise using entrainment as its new trigger.

    Some would argue, “But what I experienced is unpleasant. It isn’t something any intelligent person would want to experience. It makes no sense that I would want to experience it over and over again, or that I would go looking for it when it’s clearly something undesirable.”

    The thing about conditioning is, it doesn’t matter whether the conditioned response is pleasant or unpleasant, desirable or undesirable. The process of conditioning works just as well both ways. You went looking for any indication you were getting an effect by using entrainment and you happened to have an unpleasant experience that you focused on. To the mind it is irrelevant whether it was pleasant or unpleasant. One way works just as well as the other. But the fact remains; it was your general expectations that resulted in a specific situation of conditioning.

    This is not to say that entrainment cannot produce some physical effects, particularly negative ones. It is possible to induce epileptic seizures using entrainment, especially visual entrainment that employs flashing lights. That’s why people with seizure disorders are uniformly told to consult with their health care provider before using entrainment if they have a seizure disorder or some other serious medical condition.

    It is also possible that some people experience headaches which are almost always the result of the binaural waves. Fortunately Lifeflow can also be used without headphones, since it contains not only binaural waves but other forms as well. If you’re one of the people who suffer from headaches using entrainment, you can take off the headphones and use Lifeflow over open speakers. This usually solves the problem.

    The next principles would read:

    Principle #12 “General expectations, not entrainment, lead to association with specific phenomena.”
    Principle #13 “Specific phenomena become conditioned responses linked to entrainment.”
    Principle #14 “Conditioned phenomena may be either pleasant or unpleasant, desirable or undesirable.”
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  9. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    Our brainwave states are natural. Guiding the brain into those states intentionally by using entrainment is just another way of experiencing those same natural states. Nothing “unnatural” is produced by the brain as a result of using entrainment. The only thing that is different is that when using entrainment we often go into the experience with either general expectations, or a well defined laundry list of specific expectations that we associate with entrainment. We have no such list going throughout our normal day when we’re not using entrainment.

    Other than that the experience of those brainwave states is no different. Once we achieve a particular brainwave state using entrainment there is one significant difference to the experience and that is that we are usually still at a high level of consciousness. We’re not (hopefully) zoned out as we are when daydreaming or unconscious as we are when we’re sleeping. We maintain awareness and therefore we get to consciously experience what those brainwave states feel like in some detail.

    The next few principles might be stated as:

    Principle #15: “Entrainment produces no brainwave state that is not produced naturally by the brain.”
    Principle #16: “Each of us experiences the full range of brainwaves naturally many times every day.”
    Principle #17: “Entrainment enables the conscious experience of normally unconscious brainwave states.”
     
  10. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    Whenever we become very relaxed and the usual chatter of the mind slows down a little bit, if we remain aware and do not slip into sleep or unconsciousness, we begin to perceive things that we had not noticed before. This is slightly different than the issue of “expectations” discussed previously, although a relationship to them can develop which will be discussed below. These have to do with the fact that in our typical state of consciousness our mind is racing so fast and so loud, and our body is so engaged with activity and physical tension, that we are unaware of some subtle perceptions that are there all the while, but which get buried beneath all the physical and mental noise.

    Initially these are not caused by expectations per se, but if we focus upon them, fret over them, fixate on them, discuss them with others, etc., they will quickly become yet another form of conditioned response, just like those discussed previously. They, too, will then take on the illusion of a “cause-and-effect” relationship.

    So the next principles say:

    Principle #18: “Mental/physical noise blocks perception of feelings and sensations that were always there.”
    Principle #19: “Relaxation and quiet allow us to perceive these buried phenomena.”
    Principle #20: “Buried phenomena may turn into conditioned experiences if we fixate attention on them.”
     
  11. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    A person might wonder what the problem with looking for validation is; why we shouldn’t seek to compare our experiences with those others have had. Shouldn’t there be some sort of indicators that our practice is producing an effect? There are indicators, but they are not the high profile, odd phenomena most frequently looked for, and they may not become apparent immediately. Some things do take a little time.

    Genuine indicators of progress fall into two general categories: Physical/Emotional, and Spiritual. Some people deny there is any such thing as “spiritual”. Atheists, secular humanists, etc., do not as a rule accept the concept of the existence of things “spiritual.” For them the benefits of meditation are largely physical and/or emotional in nature. It is not my intention to dispute or attempt to change their views here. What I can say is that they are free to skip over any mention of things spiritual and focus on the physical/emotional aspects. Meditation is a broad enough discipline to encompass all these areas of our existence.

    From a strictly physical/emotional viewpoint, the benefits of meditation include (but are not limited to) such things as greater resistance to stress; less physical illness and improved resilience when illness does occur; better quality of sleep and increased recovery during sleep; a generally magnified sense of well-being; a sharper, clearer mind; increased capacity for learning; improved functioning in daily life; more harmonious relationships; greater control over emotional states, and more.

    For those who accept that we are spiritual beings currently experiencing a physical existence, you get all of the above, plus; a deeper feeling of connection and oneness with all things; a heightened sense of relationship with the Divine, whether you believe in an anthropomorphic God or just an All-Inclusive Presence; more peace and confidence in the Divine and less reliance on dogmatic policies and practices (this is not to say that dogma and ritual do not have their proper time and place!); more freedom from the fear of death; greater hope for that which comes after this life; a greater appreciation for and sense of relationship to others, even when others act in ways that are not in our personal best interests, and much, much more.

    In all of the above it should be obvious that these benefits are cumulative in nature, meaning that their presence is felt to an ever greater degree as time passes. A person may feel some changes immediately, but such changes deepen greatly and expand over time.

    As one person on the forum noted, the main Project Meditation site speaks about “waves of relaxation”, etc., upon listening to Lifeflow. It’s important to keep in mind; a person’s own experiences will be somewhat relative to their starting point. If you are a person who is completely stressed out, burned out, hanging on the ragged edge, experiencing total adrenal fatigue, and you’ve been at that point for awhile, then to you even a small degree of mental quiet and physical relaxation that entrainment and meditation bring will feel like a tsunami of relief.

    On the other hand, if you’re a person who generally has their life together, and who is somewhat successful in your current coping strategies, even if they’re not perfect, then a little bit of additional quiet and relaxation may not seem so dramatic to you as it does to that burned out person. It will feel good, but the degree of difference between that and your normal way of life will not seem so extreme to you as it will to the burned out person. It is a relative experience.

    You might suppose the burned out person gets the better deal because they experience such a dramatic shift. To be fair, that person probably has a lot farther to travel than you do before they begin experiencing those much deeper changes that meditation brings. Count yourself fortunate you’re beginning your journey with a bit of a head start.

    The next principles might read:

    Principle #21: “Indicators that entrainment/meditation is having an effect are long term and often subtle.”
    Principle #22: “The intensity of one’s initial experiences is largely relative to their beginning state.”
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  12. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    Even a person with good coping strategies should experience some measure of increased peace and well being early on when beginning to use entrainment in conjunction with meditation. If you truly feel no difference whatsoever this indicates something is not quite as it should be. One or more of the following problems is probably true:

    1. You are using an entrainment product that is not well designed and is not assisting you with your meditative practice. Since this web community focuses on the use of Lifeflow it would be fair to point out that it has shown itself to be highly effective by literally thousands of users registered here on the forum. Its technical attributes have proven themselves over time. There are, of course, other products on the market which are also effective. We can safely say that Lifeflow has demonstrated that it works. Failure to experience its benefits are not due to defects in design or technical specifications.

    2. You are already far beyond the need for using an entrainment product as a meditation aid. Those who sincerely believe this to be the case would not have come searching for a meditation site such as Project Meditation to help them learn and practice meditation. They would probably also not bother with using an entrainment aid; hence this entire discussion would be irrelevant to them. The fact that you are here, reading this, seeking to use entrainment to aid in meditation suggests you are not one of these folks whose development is so advanced that entrainment is of no use to you.

    3. You are using the entrainment improperly and/or misunderstand the purpose of entrainment and/or are focusing your attention on the distracting phenomena rather than on the big picture, OR,

    4. Your chosen technique for entering meditation is either not a correct technique for you, or else you may not be employing it correctly.

    Point #3 can easily be the case if you are still subscribing to the false idea that just listening to an entrainment track is meditation all by itself. Some unscrupulous marketing copy of various entrainment products uses phrases such as; “Our meditation CD meditates you...” which is of course, complete nonsense. I was asked recently to review one marketing ad which claimed, “With our meditation CDs you don’t need to know how to meditate...” This is worse than nonsense, it’s hogwash. That’s like saying, “If you use our wonderful plates and silverware you don’t even need to know how to cook.” If you believe that you’re unlikely to get many takers on your dinner invitations.

    If you’re going to enter a state of meditation a technique of some sort must be employed that takes you there. (Note – I am fully aware of references to “spontaneous enlightenment experiences”, but these are an entirely different category of phenomena than what is being discussed here and are outside the scope of this discussion. Perhaps another time.)

    Meditation, as has been said previously, is a special state of consciousness. Among its characteristics, meditation increases and expands awareness, whereas simple relaxation in fact diffuses awareness. You could use entrainment merely to relax, but that state of consciousness would be something qualitatively very different than meditation.

    Also, it is critical to note that just because you have an entrainment track playing does not mean you can “go on about your daily business” as some claim, and have that entrainment track produce the effect you’re targeting.

    Take, for example, a person who plays the LF-10 track over open speakers on their stereo. Then, with the track playing in the background, they invite a bunch of friends over to watch the final game of the World Cup, complete with chips, dip, pretzels, beer and pizza. The group is loud and boisterous, cheering on their favorite team, jeering at the referees, complaining about bad calls, laughing at some of the terrible acting of the players as they writhe in agony on the ground in an attempt to get the referee to call a foul on another player, and then as soon as the call is made they spring to their feet and trot off, all memory of the agony of a moment before completely forgotten. Does anyone honestly believe for an instant that with all of this going on, that Lifeflow track playing in the background all this time will have put any of the people gathered together there into an Alpha state of brainwave activity?

    This is an extreme example, naturally, but the idea holds true even in situations that are not as extreme. This ties in very closely with Point #4 above. If you are practicing a meditation technique, but you’re not really paying attention to what you’re doing, or perhaps you are performing the technique wrong, and you just allow your mind to drift off to wherever it takes you, it should come as no surprise that the entrainment track is not helping you achieve a state of meditation. That’s because in fact you aren’t really trying to enter meditation or because you’re specifically engaging in activities that prevent you from getting there.

    The act of entering meditation must adhere to the following four guidelines:

    1. Efforts to enter meditation must be consistent and intentional.
    2. There must be a technique employed to get there and that technique must be technically sound.
    3. It must also be appropriate to the individual. And finally,
    4. It must be practiced correctly, and to the exclusion of all other activities at that moment.

    If any of these things are not true, having an entrainment track playing is not going to put you into meditation. It might relax you (depending on what activity you are engaged in,) but it won’t place you into meditation.

    The next principles might read:

    Principle #23: “Most everyone should feel at least a small effect from using entrainment with meditation.”
    Principle #24: “Anyone feeling no effect is experiencing one or more of the 4 problems listed above.”
    Principle #25: “The successfully enter meditation all of the 4 guidelines above must be met.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  13. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    What does it mean to say that a person needs to be using a technique that is appropriate for that person?

    Each of us is unique, and what works well for me might be totally useless to you. Generically speaking, there are three types of meditation techniques. There are techniques that take your awareness outwards, techniques that take your awareness inwards, and techniques that do a little of both. People with exceptionally busy minds tend to do better with techniques that take awareness outwards since their minds naturally head that direction anyway. People with more contemplative natures tend to do better with techniques that take you inwards. The combination techniques are a “maybe” for just about anyone, but are usually best used when a person has some experience with meditation under their belt.

    The mantra technique as taught by Michael at Project Meditation is an excellent example of an outward technique. Since the vast majority of people have somewhat active minds, this mantra technique is a good bet for most of us. Even mantra techniques have some differences. Some require rigid concentration while others are more relaxed, such as Michael’s technique. There are some that use chanting which is helpful for a person whose mind is hyperactive. The exact technique that will be right for you is something you have to discover for yourself.

    There is no universal way to pinpoint which technique is best for you with 100% accuracy. You may need to try out several until you find the one that really resonates with you. One way is to do a bit of research on a variety of techniques. Usually you will find one or more of them seem to “draw” you to them. Pick one of those techniques as your starting point.

    What you should avoid doing is “technique surfing”. Don’t try one for a few days and then switch to another. Decide which one you want to try first and stick with it for at least a few months. Give it a chance to start working. How will you know if it’s working? You’ll begin to experience some of those long term changes mentioned earlier.

    There are two things you cannot afford to do. Don’t switch back and forth between techniques. That’s like getting several dozen different books, reading only the first page of each chapter in every book, then wondering why the material you’ve just read doesn’t seem to form a consistent whole.

    The other thing you cannot afford to do is evaluate whether or not a technique is having an effect based upon having (or not having) any of those superficial, irrelevant, distracting phenomena discussed above, like face flushing, seeing light swirls, having sensations of this, that or the other thing, etc. Those kinds of phenomena will just lead you down the wrong path and steer you away from the true benefits of meditation. If you’ve already fallen into the trap of this sort of conditioning, using something like the Release Technique, the Sedona Method, or even EFT can be helpful in breaking established conditioned associations.

    So the final principles could be:

    Principle #26: “We’re all unique, and no single meditation technique works equally well for everyone.”
    Principle #27: “Pick one technique and stick with it for at least several months; don’t technique surf.”
    Principle #28: “Assess your progress based on long term changes, not short term, oddball phenomena.”
    Principle #29: “Use appropriate techniques to break any existing conditioned associations.”
     
  14. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    The final suggestion I have to offer is that you make your practice a regular, consistent habit. You don’t have to be perfect but you do need consistency. Like any other skill, entering meditation will develop in direct proportion to the consistency of your practice. Missing a session occasionally is not going to derail all your progress. But frequently skipping or blowing insincerely through practice is not going to produce any noteworthy results. There isn’t any hard and fast rule from frequency of practice that always applies to everyone, but most of us will instinctively know whether or not we’re giving our practice the time and effort it requires.
     
  15. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

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    The Principles

    Here are all the principles grouped together into one place:

    Principle #1: “Meditation is a noun, not a verb.
    Principle #2: “Meditation is a state of consciousness, not the technique used to get to that state.”
    Principle #3: “Once meditation is achieved, drop your technique and leave it behind.”
    Principle #4: “Just listening to an entrainment track does NOT mean you are in meditation.”
    Principle #5: “Just having certain brainwaves does NOT mean you are in meditation.”
    Principle #6: “Meditation requires the intent to be in meditation followed by taking appropriate actions.”
    Principle #7: “Meditative intention plus entrainment increases chances of achieving the meditation state.”
    Principle #8: “Achieving targeted brainwaves during meditation practice denotes likely state of meditation.”
    Principle #9: “Entrainment primes the meditative pump, making the process quicker and more consistent.”
    Principle #10 “Micro-defining the role of brainwave frequencies is pure, unsubstantiated fantasy.”
    Principle #11 “Subscribing to such fantasies guarantees false expectations and disappointment.”
    Principle #12 “General expectations, not entrainment, lead to association with specific phenomena.”
    Principle #13 “Specific phenomena become conditioned responses linked to entrainment.”
    Principle #14 “Conditioned phenomena may be either pleasant or unpleasant, desirable or undesirable.”
    Principle #15: “Entrainment produces no brainwave state that is not produced naturally by the brain.”
    Principle #16: “Each of us experiences the full range of brainwaves naturally many times every day.”
    Principle #17: “Entrainment enables the conscious experience of normally unconscious brainwave states.”
    Principle #18: “Mental/physical noise blocks perception of feelings and sensations that were always there.”
    Principle #19: “Relaxation and quiet allow us to perceive these buried phenomena.”
    Principle #20: “Buried phenomena may turn into conditioned experiences if we fixate attention on them.”
    Principle #21: “Indicators that entrainment/meditation is having an effect are long term and often subtle.”
    Principle #22: “The intensity of one’s initial experiences is largely relative to their beginning state.”
    Principle #23: “Most everyone should feel at least a small effect from using entrainment with meditation.”
    Principle #24: “Anyone feeling no effect is experiencing one or more of the 4 problems listed above.”
    Principle #25: “The successfully enter meditation all of the 4 guidelines above must be met.
    Principle #26: “We’re all unique, and no single meditation technique works equally well for everyone.”
    Principle #27: “Pick one technique and stick with it for at least several months; don’t technique surf.”
    Principle #28: “Assess your progress based on long term changes, not short term, oddball phenomena.”
    Principle #29: “Use appropriate techniques to break any existing conditioned associations.”

    If you don't understand what some of these things mean, take the time to read the book above in the previous posts to get the background on each principle.
     
  16. KeithP

    KeithP Member

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    A first class piece of work. Thank you very much Ta-Tsu-Wa for taking the time and trouble to produce this valuable information for us all.
    All best wishes,
    Keith
     
    Lesbott likes this.
  17. oneflewover

    oneflewover Member

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    Magnificent !

    Thank you Ta-tsu-wa :)
     
  18. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    Awesome ! :cool:

    Going to read it through thoroughly.
     
  19. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    *nod* to that Edwin, it's certainly something that needs reading several times.

    Thanks Ta-tsu-wa.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  20. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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    Thankyou Ta-Tsu-Wa for your time and effort - hopefully this will help many people understand and benefit greatly from LifeFlow and meditation. I wish you much peace and joy :) :) :)
     

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