Hemi-Sync: Sound and Consciousness
We each have a brain, and it is a very complex device. The speed of information processing is staggering, and it is highly efficient in providing you with a seamless experience of your inner and outer worlds. But the brain operates like a muscle in that it grows stronger with practice. Mental exercises can strengthen the brain in different ways, and building solid practices which exercise different brain regions leads to overall mind and body wellbeing.
Unfortunately for many of us, a busy lifestyle means that we often give little consideration to our mental fitness. We can end up investing much thought-time ruminating over past events or probing potential futures which can generate uncertainty and stress. Few consider finding sanctuary in the calm island of the present - a place where the mind is not only at peace but also at its most coherent, efficient and productive.
Advances in our understanding of how the brain works and, specifically, how particular brainwave functioning supports specific mental and emotional states mean that it is now possible to take EEG data and create specific patterns which guide the brain into beneficial states of consciousness. This technology is not new, of course. If you consider music, we know that sound produced by instruments or vocal chords can make you feel a huge range of emotions, from deep melancholia to spiritual ecstasy. Similarly, the sounds of nature can evoke a deep sense of peace, a flourish of creativity or divine inspiration.
Ancient civilisations knew this and used a variety of instruments ranging from drums, harps, flutes, and pipes combined with singing or chanting in locations which promoted sensory immersion and deprivation - such as drumming beats in dark caves. It was clear that reducing the input from the external environment into a focused and immersive state created the conditions for expanded, beneficial states of consciousness.
The Monroe Institute and Hemi-Sync Technology
The Monroe Institute have simplified the natural process of guiding the brain into desired states of consciousness using a non-invasive, binaural beat audio technology called Hemi-Sync. The audio-guidance process works quite simply by sending different tones to each ear by stereo headphones. The two hemispheres of the brain then act in unison to “hear” a third signal – the difference between the two tones. This is not an actual sound but an electrical signal that can only be perceived by both brain hemispheres working together. The result is a focused, whole-brained state known as hemispheric synchronisation, or Hemi-Sync. Specific combinations of the sound technology work with the natural rhythms of the brain to guide individuals quickly and easily into deep relaxation or sleep to expanded states of mindfulness or “extraordinary” states. Since the sounds are synthesised, Hemi-Sync can be combined with music, verbal guidance or subtle sound effects to strengthen its effectiveness.
Hemispheric synchronisation does occur naturally in daily life but typically only for random, short periods. ‘Intention’ is the key word when listening to the technology. A passive listener may drift gently into a state of profound relaxation or deep sleep, whereas someone with a stronger purpose may find themselves exploring areas of consciousness far removed from the physical system.
The technology itself was developed by consciousness pioneer, Robert Monroe and his research team. Monroe was a former broadcasting executive who in 1958 began to undergo spontaneous out of body experiences that drastically altered his life. He soon learned to explore locales beyond conventional concepts of time and space and he documented these experiences in his books: Journeys Out of the Body, Far Journeys and Ultimate Journey.
Monroe formed a research group which began investigating methods and techniques of accelerated learning in the late 1950s. That investigation led to remarkable discoveries dealing with the very nature of human consciousness, and an audio-guidance technology that allows users to access specific states of consciousness.
In the early 1970s, The Monroe Institute evolved from the original research group and began conducting seminars to teach methods for inducing the out of body state and ways to navigate the wheel of consciousness. These seminars were held at various sites in the United States and abroad until a permanent facility was built in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in 1979. Since then, the Institute has further expanded its global presence, offering residential programs, weekend workshops, and educational materials to encourage the evolution and growth of consciousness through personal experience. Participants develop new approaches to ways of thinking and being, and a changed perspective from which life itself takes on new significance and purpose. With these profound programs, workshops, and educational materials comes the realisation that you are far more than your physical body.
My personal journey into the exploration of consciousness began at an early age. This wasn’t deliberate - answers to some of life’s biggest questions arrived before I had a chance to ask them! My early out of body and lucid dreaming experiences left me with the knowledge that there is much more going on than what we can perceive through our physical senses.
As I progressed through school and university, I became increasingly interested in understanding different aspects of mind and consciousness, which resulted in obtaining a BSc in Psychology. Whilst the degree itself didn’t really answer any of my questions, it was during my time at university that I was involved in many personal experiments involving hypnosis and Hemi-Sync. As in childhood, my experiences took off – I had many OBEs and lucid dreams, and have kept a detailed journal ever since.
After being introduced to Bob Monroe's tools and research, I became very interested in the simplicity of using non-invasive technology to explore and expand human potential. After wonderful experiences on courses I decided to become an Outreach trainer with the Monroe Institute to help as many people as possible to experience more of their total selves, whilst enjoying this great opportunity for personal growth.
Hemi-Sync can assist individuals in achieving and sustaining this highly productive, coherent, brainwave state. With pressure removed from holding a particular state of consciousness, the mind is free to expand and explore depending on its intended goals. As a residential facilitator, I’m dedicated to bringing more weekend and residential experiential programs to the UK and Ireland, and am involved in helping to build an explorer community through the The Monroe Institute local chapter network.
Luigi Sciambarella is an Outreach and Residential Trainer for the world-renowned Monroe Institute, established by consciousness pioneer, Robert Monroe. Luigi is involved in experimental research to develop new applications for the Institute’s sound technology. For more info see www.monroeinstituteuk.org
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