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Last 200 years have changed whole life. The communication technology is so much advanced, the world is just a 'point & click' away. Yet, man has remained all the same - craving for love and affection, aspiring to achieve a goal, trying to understand the world around him. The world is fun, challenging and at times horribly frightening. The other side of life produces stress, anxiety, worry and several psychosomatic disorders. Body and mind can tolerate these to some extent but after saturation point, they tend to go out of order. The perpetual stimulations of senses from out side world causes over dose of Beta state (activity state) of consciousness, in the brain. Brain has difficulty in switching to relaxed mode of Theta, Delta or even Alpha states. Meditation increases brain's capacity to produce these waves which restore health benefits. Normally, meditation refers to concentration exercises to harness mental faculties or to relaxation exercises that give a 'break' from anxiety and tensions. Devoted Christians conduct 'prayer' meetings. In Hindu act of worship, dhyana is done after invoking God. At the tend of pooja, a silent prayer (prarthana) is rendered. In Hindi, 'dhyan do' means 'pay attention'.
The pitfalls in concentration...
Theta waves are associated with subconscious mind - the layer between conscious and unconscious mind. All the memories, emotions, expressions, aspirations and suppressed desires are held in this state. Activating Theta waves may also bring up suppressed memories, deep and painful experiences to the attention of conscious mind. They can give deep insight to the personality as well as cause mental problems. It is like taking laxative once in a while to clean the body. If persistently "devils" creep from subconscious to conscious level, one should suspend his psycho venture and seek help from a qualified psychiatrist. One should not resort to this method of giving life to the "zombies" from the past to surface in conscious kingdom. Everybody is a blend of Jekyll and Hyde. The more one tries to understand his Hyde-side, he will become one! One should not try to take laxative every night, in his over enthusiasm to be super clean!
The success in life depends on the ability to follow a well chosen subject and to exclude others. Right choice of subject is important. Suppose the concentration exercises are done with a negative mentality of violence, hatred and worry etc., they lead to further mental weakness. As such, one should have a proper creative aim before embarking concentration exercises. Trataka (gazing a lit candle) could be strenuous to some and they can gaze at a fixed object in the eye level. A Buddhism inspired cult guru advocates 'empting' the mind to find peace. It would be a daily routine to 'remember what should be emptied'. This will never give real peace, but the other method of filling the mind with certain constructive thought is productive and leads to peace and happiness.
The brain waves:
There are four states in brain waves measured by EEG. Beta (14-30Hz), Alpha (8-13Hz,) Theta (4-7Hz) and Delta (less than 4Hz). Beta waves dominate in the waking state, Alpha in relaxation, Theta in mild meditation and Delta in deep meditation as well as in deep sleep. Alpha waves reduce unwanted stress level, Theta waves accelerate learning and healing process. Delta waves produce large quantities of healing and growth hormones. It does not mean that all the brain cells produce the above waves simultaneously. Some will be producing Alpha, some Beta etc., at the same time. The ability or otherwise to enter and maintain certain favorable frequencies by most of the brain cells determine the level of health. Meditation gives long term health benefits. Dr. Herbert Benson, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School said, "All I have done is to put a biological explanation on techniques that people have been utilizing for thousands of years." Binaural Beats can also induce Theta state. Human ear can recognize sounds between 20 to 20000 Hz. If the difference in wave lengths between the two speakers is kept at a level lower than 20Hz, though the ears can not hear, the brain perceives the difference and responds by producing Theta waves. Mantras are useful in this respect.