As you probably know, excess Beta waves are often blamed for causing feelings of stress and all of the related problems that come with stress, and while this is true it’s only half of the picture.
Beta waves begin at about 14Hz and go up to 40Hz and are divided into low, mid, and high Beta ranges. The low and mid range Beta waves are in fact healthy and natural. It is really only when you get into the high ranges of Beta; about 26Hz and above that you experience an explosion of the stress response. These higher Beta frequencies seem to have a more pronounced effect on two sections of the human brain, the reptilian and the limbic sections.
Now, I’ll try to keep this interesting, however, there’s really only so much that can be done with a discussion of brain structures and their functions so please bear with me…
The reptilian portion of the brain is the oldest (earliest developed) and controls, as you might expect, our instinctual senses related to survival. Our “fight or flight” responses are hard wired into the reptilian brain and our feelings of aggression and urges for procreation also find their home in the reptilian brain.
The limbic portion of the brain is often referred to as our “emotional” brain. It is the seat of most of our feelings, particularly one section known as the amygdala. The amazing thing about the amygdala is that when a foetus is in gestation the amygdala grows, is fully developed and becomes completely functional long before birth. What’s been discovered is that it is processing and more importantly storing feelings and emotions we have, even pre-birth feelings and emotions, long before the parts of the brain that cover logical and rational thinking develop. This is the source of many of our emotional problems because we accumulate emotional pains and traumas before we are capable of comprehending them within any kind of rational context.
To make matters worse, the amygdala stores emotional memories in what is known as “a temporal” form, meaning that they’re sort of like an emotional hologram that sits outside of any reference to time. Stored emotions can be called up and will feel just as real 30 years later as they did at the moment they were first experienced.
This becomes especially problematic when emotional memories are triggered and called up into full activity that were stored before the parts of our brains developed that would have allowed them to have been put into some kind of rational context and framework. A classic example is the person who is prone to fits of sudden and (seemingly) inexplicable rage that they cannot control. The rage takes them suddenly, often for little or no apparent reason. Even they don’t understand (or even stop to wonder, usually) where this rage suddenly appeared from.
What is often happening is that these emotions were first experienced very early in life, possibly even during gestation, before birth, and something triggers them to re-emerge later on. Who can even say what the trigger is? But it happens. The rage gets triggered, the reptilian brain may even get involved, interpreting this rage as a response to danger and therefore activating its mechanisms for aggression or flight, etc. We all have these things buried in our brains. Some of us have more than others; some of us feel them much more intensely than others, but we’ve all got them, ticking away like time bombs, waiting for the right trigger event to come along and stir them back to life.
Eckhart Tolle refers to these buried parts of us as our “pain body”. He uses a very colorful, anthropomorphic way of discussing them, but essentially he is talking about these buried, negative emotions that take on almost a life of their own. They come up, they feed, and what they feed on are those feelings that seem most like their own nature, and when they’re done feeding they settle back down for awhile until its time for another feeding. If they can’t find any emotional nutrition handy that is similar to themselves they often cause us to act out in ways that will provoke these sorts of emotional responses in both ourselves as well as others.
Here’s a link to a 6 minute video where Eckhart Tolle speaks about the “pain body”.
Your Pain Body Is Very Seductive – Eckhart Tolle
Meditation cultivates the inner observer and as you consciously accept and observe the sensations that accompany negative and/or suppressed emotions you will begin to release them. You will experience much relief and peace as you gradually release more and more accumulated negative emotions.
Can you picture yourself feeling peaceful, fresh, full of energy, more positive and calm? What’s more, these benefits won’t just affect you. Everyone around you will begin to notice a more vibrant and happier you.