The power of Aum –healing the brain with sound
"The universe exists solely of waves of motion ..
There exists nothing other than vibration."
~ Walter Russell.
"There is some evidence that perception and imagery may be pretty similar in the brain. If you can understand the relationship well enough between the brain recordings and sound, you could either synthesise the actual sound a person is thinking, or just write out the words with a type of interface device." ~ Robert Knight, professor of psychology & neuroscience.
“Our Entire Biological System, The Brain,
The Earth Itself, Work On The Same Frequencies.”
~ Nikola Tesla
‘Om’ or ‘Aum’ is the sacred sound held by many to be The continuously changing, the Original Sound - The first sound created by the Universe changing, ‘exhaling’ or expanding or what today we term ‘the audible stream’, all-encompassing and perpetual continuum, as detailed in the ancient Vedantic texts dating from roughly 4000 years ago or 2000 BC, referred to as the Veda’s, simply translated:
“In the beginning was the Creator with whom was the sound,
and the sound was the Absolute" ~ Rig Veda
This is the sound wave, Scientists, quantum physicists and astronomers listen to this daily for their work.
the bible of course, 2000 years later begins with:
"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Scientists now say our Sun is also emitting these waves and that the Sun literally generates the sound Aum…
"Have you ever wondered what the Sun would sound like if you could hear it? Our Sun lies 93,000,000 miles away, surrounded by the vacuum of space. Sound won't travel through space, of course. But with the right instrument, scientists can "hear" pulsations from the Sun. The entire Sun vibrates from a complex pattern of acoustical waves, much like a bell. If your eyes were sharp enough, you could see a bell's surface jiggle in complex patterns as the waves bounced around within it. Likewise, astronomers at Stanford University can record acoustical pressure waves in the Sun by carefully tracking movements on the Sun's surface. To do this, they use an instrument called a Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI), mounted on the SOHO spacecraft, circling the Sun 1,000,000 miles from Earth. The Sun's acoustical waves bounce from one side of the Sun to the other in about two hours, causing the Sun's surface to oscillate, or wiggle up and down. Because these sound waves travel underneath the Sun's surface, they are influenced by conditions inside the Sun. So scientists can use the oscillations to learn more about how the structure of the Sun's interior shapes its surface. The Sun's sound waves are normally at frequencies too low for the human ear to hear. To be able to hear them, the scientists sped up the waves 42,000 times -- and compressed 40 days of vibrations into a few seconds. What you'll be hearing are just a few dozen of the 10 million resonances echoing inside the Sun." ~ Sounds of the Sun | NASA | AUM ॐ| HD SOUND | Visual
You can listen to the Sun here
One can visualise this continuum as the sound way we are all familiar with… in multiple and infinite directions… so it’s useful to think here of a DNA Helix…
Sound waves moving in and back on themselves… Again – in multiple and infinite directions
Now if you have ever tried with intention to quieten your mind, to meditate or pray, even to consciously ‘relax’ you will know that human thoughts and emotions are much like this moving DNA, multiple and infinite, and very, very difficult to ‘still’ or calm, let alone direct.
What do we even mean by those terms?
We mean the regulation of our brain waves
We mean that our brains ‘fire’ in a pattern that most closely resembles that infinite sound wave,
When our brains are in a more predictable continuum,
When right and left brain are being used in a synchronous way,
When we are using our brains much like our computers and phones do with applications…
Allowing them to run in the background while we focus on one, single task… Rather than having them keep popping up and causing distraction and interference,
This is the experience of calm, the experience of peace
And most importantly – this is when our body and our brain’s - heal.
Simply put –
In Eastern traditions, we call this the state of Yoga, UNION,
It is this state that leads us on to experience ‘oneness’, interconnectedness –
it’s the practice of this state that we call meditation.
So because this is easier said than done, so very difficult for us, especially in the modern world, great Yogi’s gave us a few tried and tested tools…
The first is the sacred syllable Aum or Om,
‘Om’ or ‘Aum’ is integral to the practice this practice of Yoga, as well as, to the daily religious rites of both Hindus and Buddhists. It is the Aum that became the sacred word ‘Hum’ for Tibetans. Many believe it is Aum that is the root of the ‘Amin’ of Moslems and the ‘Amen’ of the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Jews and Christians.
This is because the Bija of Om or Aum is the articulated form of this infinite continuous vibration. The vibration itself is known as “spanda” or pulsation – in Western Terms – the Big BANG.
This vibration in itself is what we refer to as Shakti or moving energy, drawing on infinite unfathomable, Potential – what we may call the Divine.
It is from the sound AUM that the 52 letters, or ‘matrikas’, of the sanskrit alphabet are derived –
It is from the sanskrit language that all language is derived –
Sanskrit is an 'unspoken' but chanted language, it is the OLDEST language known to mankind. But as we enter the new age of African study, perhaps we will acknowledge the common threads (Khaya & Kaya - both mean home for e.g.)
Speech requires both sides of brain
Paris - Humans need both sides of their brain for speech, according to a study on Wednesday that could rewrite therapy for people verbally impaired by a stroke. A mainstream theory in neurology is that speech and language are "lateralised" skills - thus controlled by only one side of the brain, in this case the left. But the concept's weak point is that it has been mainly based on indirect, rather than direct, observation of how the brain operates.
Researchers at New York University seized a unique opportunity to get a clearer view. They worked with 16 volunteers who had electrodes implanted to map their brain activity - a technique called electrocorticogram that is used as a precursor for surgery for extreme epilepsy.
It is considered even more accurate than 3D scanning in determining when and where neurons are fired. The volunteers were asked to repeat nonsense words such as "pob" and "kig" in order to isolate brain areas activated for speech - the pronunciation of words. Because these words had no meaning, a different part of the brain was used to generate them than the area used for language - which entails understanding words and using them in sentences.
The scans revealed that speech is in fact "bilateralised" - meaning that areas in both hemispheres of the brain are harnessed in making words, said the study published in the British scientific journal Nature. The specific areas are the bilateral inferior frontal and the inferior parietal, superior temperal, premotor and somatosensory cortices.
"Our findings upend what has been universally accepted," associate professor Bijan Pesaran said in a press release. We can begin to develop new ways to aid those trying to regain the ability to speak after a stroke or injuries resulting in brain damage. With this greater understanding of the speech process, we can retool rehabilitation methods in ways that isolate speech recovery and don't involve language."
Why these original languages are so effective as practices for rehabilitation is because they involve these pure, ‘primary’ sounds that don't have ascribed 'meaning' - much like primary colours -
they can't be made up of other sound and require both hemispheres.
So what is vocalised during the repetition of mantra or original prayer, it’s very sound and intonation, it’s order and sequencing, is not random,not ineffectual and in is in it’s essence, it’s very vibration, as well as its meaning, a prescription. It can have a profound effect on others and, on our Selves.This is also why mantra and prayer, especially when using beads or a rosary (motor and neurological demand) have been advocated for thousands of years.. In most religious traditions - using root languages. In the words of Swami Venkatesananda:
“ It is Aum that vibrates within us, each in their own resonance,
that is our pure experience of the “I “,
or our “I”
The “I” is the measure with which
we measure all else.
If the weighing scale is not set properly,
It will only give us a wrong reading!
Know thy self!
What is amazing is that we do not need to create that song, that AUM, rather we ARE a sympathetic vibration! We do not chant AUM, we establish a clearer connection with that sound which exists, greater than our self, the Self. Much like a satellite dish, or radio, we tune ourselves into the frequency, Eternal Pranava derived from the root “to praise”, the all-pervasive sound vibration, manifesting in A – U – M.
The second is the practice of Hatha Yoga – Pranayama & yoga asana. Loosely translated HA THA is the practice of Unifying Sun and Moon, using movement within the breathing rhythm or pattern. Sun representing the Pituitary gland and moon the Pineal gland. This then encompasses the union of right and left brain and right and left sides of the body, including all the associated organs and systems.
Why is this important to the brain wave?
“you can’t play a symphony on a rickety old fiddle”
Yogis of old understood that Bija or seed sounds that comprise of all that is, the syllables we find inscribed on the petals of the Yogic Chakras, Chakra means wheel’, are the symphony of the body and mind.
They could actually see the Nadi (finer currents of life force) and the electrical currents of the human body and brain, in deep mediation they could literally hear their sound vibrations. In this drawing carbon- dated to be thousands of years old, they documented the currents, chakras and sounds, which when strung together along each pathway form a mantra. So each and every sound or word you utter is essentially causing the currents of your being, your ‘nadi & chakra petals to vibrate’ - to a greater or lesser extent.
This vibration is having a direct effect on the plexi of your physical body and brain (and vice-versa) This is also why when we apply the technology of Yoga to healing, we are so concerned with alignment, posture and spinal positioning……..
Especially for those who are mobility impaired, in bed, or in wheelchairs,
Especially when you’re trying to get back sensation after a spinal injury, brain function or when wanting to manage pain.
“The ability of the brain to enter and maintain certain frequencies while sleeping may determine the level of health a person experiences”
~ Jean Charles Genet, Director of The National Center for Integrative Medicine and The National Research Center for Chronic Fatigue
Does just any movement work?
No, if it did it would be simple…. We put people onto machines for hours and they regain health.
No, the movement must be with awareness, with a directed mind, with the stilling of the brave waves… this is why for yogi’s, the breath is the ideal object of meditation, and the ideal tool to still the mind. This is why Hatha Yoga includes Pranayama, the term used for breathing practices. Actually, it means, the harnessing of the Life Forces. Something you really need when you are healing. Not only is oxygen a prerequisite for brain ‘firing’ but for those who practice the yogic traditions, there are many more subtle currents science is only beginning to discover, and these are only available through natural breathing and metabolism. This explains why a person doesn’t retain good health and our ability to sustain their lives, on a respirator, is limited. They are being fed only the 30% or so of known gases that make up the air we breathe.
“Brain metabolism is directly related to body metabolism. One facet of the human body that the EEG (will monitor is that of brain metabolism. Such gross metabolic dysfunction as liver or kidney failure are easily seen with the EEG. Epilepsy is also seen as resulting in a metabolic dysfunction within the brain. Because of these and other important factions, the EEG was incorporated into the medical systems of Western society. The EEG is also a good reflection of how well oxygen is metabolized in the blood. Your body needs oxygen in order to convert food resources into energy. Any deviation in oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output changes the EEG reading. Both hyperventilation and hyporventilation cause the EEGH pattern to slow down. The amount of sugar, as a food resource, also affects the EEG.”
In Sanskrit we don’t have a word for ‘posture’, rather a better translation for ‘Asana’ would be seat of meditation, since the most direct translation is ‘seat’. The difference in a wheelchair, a Lazy Boy or a yoga mat and a Yogic Asana, being the awareness – the state of ease and Union.
Also many people develop digestive problems because these current accumulate energy and heat or an obstructed the flow, numbness and cold, to organs. This results in problems like swelling, constipation or inflammation, bloating etc - when sitting in hunched over or posturally compromised positions.
Moving within your breathing rhythm - is a medicine in itself.
Is a pain killer.
Your body IS truly your INSTRUMENT
On which to play your own individual
SONG OF THE UNIVERSE.
The 3rd is Japa Mantra and Raja Yoga …
Or you can think of japa as the science of sound - the repetition of specific sounds, in a specific order and rhythm. In Yogic traditions, we repeat these sacred Bija Sounds, in a particular order, with intention, around a goal, or for a specific physiological effect.
Most religious traditions have this practice, think of the Muslim Religion were the Koran is perceived to be sacred in of itself – because it is the direct word of Allah and so it is repeated many times daily. Sometimes we repeat in Silence (Mouna) like the Carmelite Nuns who take a vow to only repeat prayer with each breath and never speak or when we are a little lower down the ladder J the vocalisation and silent repetition.
You’ve probably heard people great each other and wave goodbye using the term “Hari Om’
'Hari' represents the manifest universe and all Life. 'Om' or ‘Aum” represents the unmanifest and absolute reality. By the word 'reality', I mean total existence.
You may even use the word God. Reality, existence, God, Brahman, the absolute, the Divine are all synonymous terms pointing to one being, but they do not really define it. This reality has two stages. One is the absolute, the other is manifest. This gross universe, the millions of suns, moons and stars, space, that which is beyond it and beyond this little earth, as far as we can go, are all manifestations of that reality, not a creation of reality. There is a difference between the process of creation and manifestation. You take cotton and make yarn from it, and then a shirt. The cotton has become the shirt, it has not created the shirt. The cotton has transformed itself into a shirt. In the same way, there is a great invisible force. In effect each letter became a mantra and the language of the Vedas, Sanskrit, corresponds profoundly to the nature of things. Thus the Vedas come to represent reality itself. The seed syllable Aum represents the underlying unity of reality. Hari Om is to create the vibration harmony of all that is within and without, around ourselves, those with us and all who exist” ~ Swami Satyananda
Now in this day and age we have a new trend created by science and business, it’s called ‘binaural beats’, the short cut to producing Aplha waves, available for download – at a cost – of course. The advertising claims to make it easy for even absolute beginners to access the Alpha state within a few minutes of trying out binaural beats or isochronic tones for the first time. All you do is choose an appropriate program sit down somewhere comfortable, pop some headphones in, and start to slow your breathing down by taking some deep breaths in time to synthetic sounds or beats. Because brainwave entertainment works without any conscious effort on your part, you'll find yourself drifting into a peaceful, calm and relaxed state within just a few minutes. It's delightfully simple and fun and beneficial” they go on to launch ‘Binaural Beats Meditations’ in multiple combinations…….
Or you can buy various patented and copyrighted ‘brainwave technology therapies” sold by the Medical Industry.
Luckily for you reading this….you have your own coded software, your own app – and it’s free
And always on and active
And has been for thousands of years – it’s called the life science of Yoga.
it also works on a much deeper level than the modern quick equivalent .
you can download our brave guided Yogic breathing practice free here
Above is an ancient depiction of the physiological and neurological resonance of the Gayatri Mantra :
Bhuva Svah Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat
Because this mantra has a profound resonance neurologically, women in India chant this while pregnant to their unborn child to encourage intelligence and intellect, students chant it before exams etc. At brave we use it with a mala as part of our therapy for those in Recovery from Head Injury, stroke and brain surgery –
In the yogic tradition, Japa is said to be the easiest way to train the brain and mind to meditate. Because the repetition of the specific syllables will create the desired brain wave patterns that are a prerequisite to experiencing the state of ‘stillness’ we call the state of meditation.
Have you ever wondered why the rosaries or prayer beads of many ancient traditions, including Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain and even Catholic, typical Yogic beads called a Mala, and are always strung with 108 beads?
If you've ever practiced Japa Mantra or been initiated into the use of a mantra you've probably been told to chant your mantra at least 108 times a day, not for a number of minutes or a set time.
In Japan the Zen temple bells ring 108 times to bring in the New Year. Obviously this number is significant. But why not a more rounded number like 100? The early Vedic sages were renowned mathematicians and in fact invented our number system. 108 was definitely the number of choice for this simple reason: 108 represents the whole of existence.
Here are just some interesting reasons why:
We have 51 major intersections of nerves/arteries/veins up and down the spine & therefore 51 lotus petals for the corresponding Nadi of the 6 Shat Chakra depicted in drawings of the Yogi... plus A U M is 54 ... japa up and down the spine would be a complete cycle of 108
The number 9 represents wholeness and 108 when added together equals 9. 1+0+8 = 9. Interestingly, if you multiply 9 times ANY number, the answer is always 9 when you add the numbers together. Try it! 1x9=9. 2x9=18. 1+8=9. 285x9=2565 2+5+6+5=18 1+8=9. 8543x9=76887 7+6+8+8+7=36 3+6=9 The logic behind this is that 9 represents wholeness or God and God times anything is always God since God is all there is!
The 9 planets travelling through the 12 signs constitutes the whole of existence. 9 x 12 = 108
The 27 nakshatras or lunar constellations each have 4 padas or parts. The 27 nakshatras are also spread over the 4 elements - fire, earth, air, water. This also constitutes the whole of existence. 27 x 4 = 108
Consider the powers of 1, 2, and 3 in math: 1 to 1st power = 1; 2 to 2nd power = 4 (2x2); 3 to 3rd power = 27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27 = 108. The logic behind this is that 1 represents 1 dimensional reality, 2 represents 2 dimensional reality, 3 represents 3 dimensional reality. When you mulitply their powers together then you encompass the whole of existence.
The universe is made up of 108 elements according to ancient texts. The current periodic table claims a few more than 108.
The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the earth (give or take a few miles).
The average distance from the earth to the Sun is equivalent to 108 Sun's in a row (give or take a few).
The average distance from the earth to the Moon is equivalent to 108 Moon's in a row (give or take a few miles).
Amma chanting sacred mantras over water.
“Amma Says “ Modern science has ushered in myriad technological advancements. But modern life has ushered in an age of tension, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, excessive aggression and various addictions. All these diseases arise from our inability to cope with our day to-day lives in a positive way. Studies show that meditation relieves such afflictions, reducing the body's production of stress hormones and relieving physical tension; it also stabilizes blood pressure. Meditation's deep relaxing effect soothes and rejuvenates the body and mind in a way that even deep sleep or rest cannot. As Amma says, "Meditation helps to free the mind from restlessness and tension. You don't have to believe in God in order to meditate. You can focus your mind on any part of the body or on any point. You can also imagine that you are merging with infinity, just as a river merges into the ocean.”
And Western Science agrees with Amma :)
“Meditation appears to produce changes in brain activity. It also can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress...there are many types of meditation that can result in physiological benefits, such as guided meditation." ~ Research published in 2013 by Harvard Medical School
Now in the yogic science of life every mantra and sound has a yantra…
a physical manifestation of that sound. Today we know that when sound filmed in liquid it creates harmonic geometric patterns, this was already known to 12th century architects when they designed of Gothic cathedrals using sacred geometry to enhance the buildings’ sonic effects, to help alter the state of consciousness in those who used them for prayer. As the expression of number in space, geometry is inextricably linked to sound - The laws of the former govern the mathematical intervals that make up the notes in the western music scale. We call these “ diatonic ratios” — possibly why the ancient Egyptians referred to geometry as frozen music.
‘the word is literally mightier than the sword’
So can I sit quietly and repeat any word and cause an effect – of course! But remember the Bija sounds, are pure, primary sounds derived from the sound of our own body in a harmonious rhythm, so while repeating ‘love’ may be helpful, it’s not quite as specific on a physiological level.
In the 1960’s scientists began to experiment with iron filings and sonoscopes, today we use tonoscopes:
“Utilizing a tonoscope which is a device that transforms sounds into their visual representations on a screen. Dr Jenny found that when “OM” was correctly intoned into a tonoscope, a circle appeared which is then filled in with concentric squares and triangles, finally producing, as the last traces of the ‘M’ disappear from the screen, the core structure of the Sri Chakra.”
Now imagine the power you have just waiting to be unleashed within each breath… Or even better, why not set aside some time today
And every day to
a simple brave meditation practice – on AUM
you can replace Aum with Amen, Ahmin, Ah Hum, SoHum.
1. Set aside a small place within your home you can use solely for your practice
2. Try to have a little wash before you begin, you'll feel more present and will be less likely to sleep :)
3. Take a few minutes before the start of your practice to just sit still and center yourself.
4. Place an image, a candle, flower, anything that represents for you, the Divine.
5. If you practice a specific religious tradition, you can also include your special items from your religious practice e.g. a rosary, image, holy book etc or you can include items special to you, especially from Mother Nature
6. Incense, aroma therapy oils or a scented candle are helpful when you sit for your practice to help you to 'clear' the day, your mind, the space around you and to prepare you for your practice ahead.
7. a candle or small steady light is also useful - it will help you focus your attention and “hold” the presence of the Divine for a little longer
8. You can do this practice lying or sitting. Make sure you are aligned, both sides as similar as possible, and if you are lying try to have your upper body higher than lower. If you are sitting, including in a wheelchair, always sit on something A FEW INCHES HIGH to ensure your pelvis is tilted a little backward, your spine is aligned, and YOU AREN'T 'SITTING ON YOUR Sacred SACRUM' and that you have your face turned towards your special place.
9. Consciously choose now, to soften your body, heart and mind. Tension obstructs sound.
10. Set your intention for your practice ahead.
11. Focus all your attention, in this moment, on your natural breathing rhythm - it's cool inhalation and warm exhalation.
12. Visualize that all stress and negativity leaves you in the form of your exhalation and that you are being filled with divine light and energy as you inhale.
Continue on with this for a few minutes,
13. Begin to vocalise the sound AUM. Be sure to allow 3 distinctive notes : Ah Uuu and Mmm. If possible try to allow each sound to be the same length and quality
14. as your mind begins to quieten, you can literally ‘quieten’ the sound until it’s a whisper and then, just repeating AUM, mentally….in your ‘mind’s eye’. The minute you become distracted – simply raise the volume again until you ‘drown out the thought’.
15. You can develop this by directing the AUM sound to any area of your body that has pain or needs to heal…or by visualising that as you inhale you draw a wave of healing light up your body from the tips of your toes to the crown of your head and as you exhale, the sound of Aum flows from the top of your head down your body to your toes, washing away the pain, tensions and DIS eASE.
Continue on with this practice for a few minutes,
16. Always finish by visualising the wave of light filling your heart. Watch as it shines...pure heartlight from you - out towards all living things, each and every being in the entire universe - interconnected - in Union. If you like you can ask for the blessing and protection of the Divine, in whichever form you choose.
17. Finish with mantra, San Kalpa or a short prayer or simple affirmation
"Doctors in London have used sound waves to successfully operate deep inside the brain. The team at St Mary's hospital, Paddington, used MRI guided focused ultrasound to destroy tissue causing mistimed electrical signals to be sent to muscles." Prof Wladyslaw Gedroyc, consultant radiologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust,