SESSION THREE: PAGE ONE
A FOOL PROOF STUDY METHOD
The discovery of the power and versatility of the brain/mind/body complex is truly one of the greatest breakthroughs humanity has made in recent years. We were not taught about this phenomenon when we were in school since most of these breakthroughs have only happened in the past 10-50 years. This often means we have very little appreciation for ourselves and the abilities of the vehicle we are walking around in.
The biofeedback machine and the surgery conducted at Cal Tech in the 1970's were part of the "Discovery Channel" of that time. The "Body/Brain Bulletin," published by Marilyn Ferguson, told us of people who were having great difficulty with seizures. They agreed to have the corpus callosum severed to keep the seizures from going from one side of the brain to the other rapidly. Now it became very clear which side of the brain did what. Through the use of electric probes (that did not create pain) scientists were able to discover very clearly that naming things happened in the left hemisphere, for example, but seeing them happened in the right hemisphere.
Along with hemispheric clarification there were other studies to clarify how the brain worked. A clever person by the name of C. Maxwell Cade , a British psychobiologist and biophysicist and Zen meditator, with the help of an electronic expert Geoffrey Blundell, figured out how to design an EEG that could measure eleven different frequencies. The frequency is the speed of the electrical undulations, measured in cycles per second (or hertz).The frequency determines the category the brain waves fall into: beta, alpha, theta, and delta. The combination of any of these frequencies determines the state of consciousness. The strength of the signal is called the amplitude, measured in micro voltages. The strength
of the signal is increased by anxiety and decreased by physical activity and deep breathing.
Beta is the fastest frequency. That occurs when you are conscious and focusing on the outside world or actively thinking. It has been called the card catalog, as in a library, the short term memory, and the mouth of the mind that takes in information to chew it but not digest it. This frequency is intentional, goal-oriented, and productive. It utilizes familiar patterns and is obsessed with the known. A large part of addictions is in the beta frequency or conscious mind.
Alpha brainwaves are the bridge between Beta and Theta, between an active state and the subconscious. It is a drowsy state one similar to the time just before you fall asleep and/or the time when you first wake up. It is when you are daydreaming, fantasizing, and visualizing. Without alpha you will not remember your dreams. The link to the subconscious is missing.
This can be remedied with practice visualizing anything: start with very familiar things.
Theta is the level of the subconscious. This is a layer between the conscious and the unconscious. Here memories, which help you dream, are stored. The symbols in these dreams are your special code to understand the meaning of the dreams. This can be an area where experiences that were traumatic are blocking your creativity. Alpha brainwaves help you bring this information to the surface to assist you in processing these events and, therefore, let them go so that you may have a productive and happy life.
Delta brainwaves are your own personal radar. When you know who is on the phone before picking it up, when you "guess" what other people are going to say before they say it, or you have a nagging feeling about something that is not quite clear, you are getting a "bleed though" from your unconscious. Usually these brainwaves are associated with deep sleep. If you have a problem with "bleed through" then you need to strengthen your boundaries and determine which feelings are yours and which ones are someone else's. Also these brainwaves can be of great assistance in what is called the "high performance mind."
Anna Wise studied with Dr Cade in Great Britain for several years and then came back to the United States to continue her research. Eventually she published many of her findings in the book called The High Performance Mind. There is a great deal to learn and practice in her book to the delight of the students in my classes. Try it, you'll like it J
A combination of these four states of awareness is the usual way we function. When a biofeedback
machine was used with the football players at University of Wisconsin to improve their visualization skills (alpha level), their games won jumped from 60% to 90% and there was a decrease in the number of injuries. Now we know we can do the same thing with relaxation, meditation and visualization practices without the machines.
What has all this got to do with studying? Everything! One of the early experiments regarding learning was to "wire up" students as they studied. If they were reading familiar topics, the EEG registered a relatively normal pattern. As soon as the information was new to the student, the pattern had high peaks in the EEG indicating surges of electricity The more peaks they had, the less the student remembered even though they may have understood the material. Understanding and remembering are two different functions.
These indications of what happens when you read helped develop a study method that works 100% of the time. Before reading the fine print, the brain needs to be introduced to new ideas which eliminates the high spikes of electricity in the brain which wipe out the memory of what was read. Backing up even further, the brain needs to be in a "frame of mind" or "mind set" for studying. This is a matter of choice. Being willing to learn in a setting that is conducive to study with time to do the work is really the optimum setting. It's setting the stage for a productive study session.
The first step of the study method is to introduce the brain to the main concepts of the material; This is primarily the right hemisphere functioning which sees the whole concept more easily than the left hemisphere. Read only the titles, subtitles, bold face print, any charts or graphs, pictures and under the pictures,in other words, anything that is not the fine print. Think about this information consciously, actively participating in the process. Do not skim. Now think about anything you may know about the subject. All this is introducing the brain to the main concept(s). With this information the student is less apt to forget what s/he is studying and there will not be surges of electricity wiping out most of the information. It also sets up the brain to remember what details go with which subtopic.
The brain functions far better when the body is relaxed. Deep breaths will do the job easily. Keep alert during study time with frequent breaks. Research proved that breaks every 20-40