A Spectrum of States

Spectrum: Definition: A spectrum is a condition that is not limited to a specific set of values but can vary, without gaps, across a continuum. The word was first used scientifically in optics to describe the rainbow of colours in visible light after passing through a prism. wikipedia

We have many spectrums in life. Two of which for example would be light as stated above and the Spectrum of Autism which is a specific set of variable behaviours across the continuum of ‘perceived normality’.

Consciousness is on a spectrum. We have various levels and states of consciousness. It is known now that we are always in one state or another there is no real, stark awake and aware state; it is all a spectrum consciousness that we move along via oscillating waves.

As with any oscillating wave they are made up of amplitude and frequency modes, our brain waves operate in KHz

Frequency band


Brain states


>35 Hz



12–35 Hz

Anxiety dominant, active, external attention, relaxed


8–12 Hz

Very relaxed, passive attention


4–8 Hz

Deeply relaxed, inward focused


0.5–4 Hz



As shown the oscillation frequency changes show different activity in the brain. Gamma: Concentration, problem solving is in the high frequencies however Beta is a myriad of activity and at its peak anxiety dominated; here you would have stage fright or butterflies, paying attention to external stimulus. An example of this might be when we are going somewhere for the first time and we are ‘mapping’ our journey, thinking of the possibility of being lost or late or both, so we make a point of noting places and signs. Once we have been there however we relax more, we are still paying attention but we are comfortable as we recognise the route

Alpha is almost cruise control, here you will find the sometimes elusive ‘zone’ this is the state of being in flow. A resourceful state for creativity, a space of deep knowing and being at the same time. Connection. So connected are we in this state that we can do some insightful work seemingly without effort. We are calm, Zen like and we are at a peak learning capacity as we passively absorb information.

Theta; this is the state of being both inside and outside of the recognised trance state. Here we are almost but not quite in sleep mode, we drift just above the Delta wave and here we have some very interesting things that can happen. Meditative, entranced, deeply relaxed we can be inwardly focussed.

The saying that ‘where the mind goes the energy flows’ is absolutely correct, even physiologically speaking. While dominating the activity of the brain there are brief burst of activity known as ‘sleep spindles’. A peppering of these higher frequency bursts of brain waves may be important for learning and memory (Fogel & Smith 2011; Poe, Walsh, & Bjorness, 2010)

It is this oscillation amplitude and frequency that is the focus of Binaural Beats. This idea of stimulating and accessing the Theta state is not new; our Ancestors were doing it from very early times and still today using a percussive sound wave for example a drum, rattle, a Didgeridoo. Though the didgeridoo is a wind instrument it has a percussive wave that will ‘hit’ some people (as will the drum) reverberating through the chest cavity.

The people who knew how to make this happen an epoch or so ago, they were Shamans. The word comes from the Tunguska/Evenki people of Siberia and my favourite explanation of it is ‘the one with eyes to see in the dark’. The Dark; those recesses in the mind that are as the depths of Oceans. Today we can access those deep recesses and take a peek behind the curtain.

The rhythmic element is key to attuning the brainwaves to the external soundwaves. In order to reach Theta, the beats of a drum or shake of the rattle has to emulate the natural oscillation of our brainwaves. There is also of course the modern equivalent, Binaural Beats. These are an external dial if you like, that we can operate to change our brainwaves and allow us to access Theta at will.

In this state we have what might be linked to lucid dreaming. It’s called an ecstatic state from the Greek ‘Ekstasis’ which of course is the root of the word ecstasy, and means ‘to stand outside or to transcend oneself’.

Within this particular oscillation is another state, an accessible state; a state which in and of itself provides a rich and deeply resourceful cornucopia of connection to collective consciousness. This is the state that Einstein could well have been accessing when he ‘dreamed his theory of relativity’. It is known that he would purposefully access a different state within which he would allow his thoughts to coalesce, settle and to become clear.

The high frequency sleep spindles firing off as active waves inside the Theta wave could well be the dendrites sparking information at the synapses at deeper levels, which I would posit would be a split second of inspirational information.

We also know this as an altered state of being. As is Delta – sleep, more levels, spectrums within spectrums of consciousness. Here we dream, and then we go to the deepest state of sleep and we lose all awareness, or at least most of ourselves do. One part of us is all ways conscious. This part keeps us breathing among many other things.

Writers and other creative people are often asked how they come up with their ideas, the concepts of their work. Some will say it just happened, others may say they dreamt it, a few like Aldous Huxley seek the state of being where it comes from; some have utilised hallucinogenic drugs to do so, either not having knowledge of or caring to use the natural way.

All were looking, seeking through the spectrum of states for the ultimate connection. As a Hypnotherapist I see and experience these states and help others to induce them in themselves to heal.

By utilising those ancient techniques, I also help people access the Theta state; where they can find inspirations, answers, resources and relaxation. A Shamanic trance state is a natural state we all have the ability to find; maddeningly it can be quicksilver in its way. We have to record the information Dreams disappear from our awareness with the morning light, melting like fog in the Sun.

However when we know how to access our states of awareness and to actively find within them that which we seek. That is a prize beyond measure.

Dreams are there. Dreams are a necessary part of our wellbeing. The capability of accessing states of relaxation and getting into that zone purposefully… ask yourself, what could you do to make your life better by being able to do that?

There are upcoming taster events for beginners and the more experienced journeyers. These tasters lead into a series of monthly Circles to deepen your practice if you wish.

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