BEAUTY & THE BRAIN

A beautiful mind is one that is aware and in tune with the rhythms of the earth, literally, the theta waves that pulsate beneath our feet. Neurobiologists are aware that the brain attunes to waves and this affects how we perceive the world around us. It can be as simple as pausing to place our awareness on the beauty all around.

 

We are so much more than our anatomy but it can be helpful to know a little about how the brain functions so that you can be aware of how to cultivate a beautiful mind...

 

Electromagnetic waves are measured in units of frequency known as hertz. The brain attunes to higher state beta waves (average 30 hertz) when we are stressed and the sympathetic nervous system is triggered.

A lower beta wave state (average 15 hertz) is when we are engaged in thinking, talking and interacting. This arouses our pre-frontal cortex which gives us our ability for higher level thinking, rational thinking, planning, our personality, preferences and social skills.

The amygdala controls our fight or flight release of cortisol, epinephrine and nor-epinephrine. If we live in this state we experience more rage, anger and less stable brain patterns that are capable of perceiving beauty. Instead we look for what is potential danger and when there is no danger we still look for what is wrong over what is beautiful and good. 

 

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed." 

- Albert Einstein

 

The hippocampus is our learning and memory centre. Deep sleep repairs the hippocampus whereas prolonged states of stress accelerate brain ageing, literally shrinking the hippocampus and inhibiting creative flow state. In flow state the brain is attuned to alpha brainwaves (average 10 hertz) which is in the parasympathetic nervous system state of rest, repair and digest. 

Theta wave state (average 5 hertz) is the baseline state of people with autism, that is, an intrinsic state of creativity, intuition and imagination. The earth has her own heartbeat, literally, a calming theta rhythm. Our bodies attune to that when we are in nature, especially barefoot. This bio-feedback, when we connect to the natural world, stabilises the brain.

 

“The more one’s consciousness is elevated, the more one feels the connectedness of things.”

 - Neuroscientist and bio-psychologist - Tal Dotan Ben-Soussanis

 

Gamma wave state (40+ hertz) is that of a monk or someone who is habituated to experiencing deep meditation. Accessing information or arousal beyond cognitive thought of beta waves and into the realm of clarity, connectedness and universal awareness. This higher frequency gives us access to higher levels of perception, notice though, that it is accessed in a deep state of calm stillness. 

 

“When we feel love, we can’t feel fear or anxiety.” 
- Neurobiologist Dr. Kristen Willeumier

 

Love is what we feel when we remember to attune to nature and connect with animal friends. A key message is to put your attention on the beautiful. Cultivate more time in nature and with animals, because experiencing a sense of awe, wonder and beauty is the best way to retrain your brain.

The earth and everything alive exudes love and beauty, we only need to pause and notice. If you find it difficult to pause you could start by introducing regular meditation into your life so that you body-mind becomes accustomed to be aware of the beautiful above the dross of everyday life. 

We have created a meditation podcast so that you can tune out of the beta wave state and into the alpha waves state. The more you do the more chances you have of accessing theta and potentially even the gamma wave states of awareness. Click on the link to our newest Ground of Being meditation.

 

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And Heaven in a Wild Flower 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour 
- Auguries of Innocence by William Blake 

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