It was only later that I learned about brainwave patterns and their role in creativity.
How can you harness brainwaves to enhance creativity of all kinds? Here’s the short course on the four categories of brainwaves: Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta.
Beta is the everyday, mundane task brainwave. It's good at logic and organization. Most people in our culture spend almost all their waking hours with Beta as their predominant brainwave. Beta is your internal critic, your worrywart, your procrastinator. It’s also your internal editor. Beta can be your friend or your enemy. You have to learn when to listen, and when to tune out.
Alpha is detached awareness. It's kind of a floaty, zoned-out, daydreaming consciousness, known as "The Bridge to the Subconscious." Alpha is the brush that paints the images that rise from your subconscious. It helps athletic performance. Some people refer to an Alpha state as being “The Zone.” Nature sounds help produce an Alpha state.
Theta brainwaves are produced by the subconscious mind, and are present in dreaming sleep. Theta brainwaves unlock the creativity of the subconscious mind. Theta will also unlock deeply stored "baggage," both good and bad, which is probably where the "tortured artist" stereotype comes from. If you reach a state where your brain is producing only Theta waves, you’ll experience an immense feeling of wellbeing. When you come down into Beta, you probably won’t remember the time in Theta. But the messages from your subconscious will rise into Alpha and then Beta eventually. You want to keep the channel open as much as possible.
Delta brainwaves come from the unconscious mind. Strong Delta brain activity is common in healers, psychics, mystics, and people who are very sensitive to the moods of those around them. For those of us who are less enlightened, we experience Delta during sleep. The body does most of its healing work in Delta, and the mind does most of its dreaming. This brainwave length is connected to what psychologist Carl Jung called "the collective consciousness."
Combine the Four
The highest levels of creativity come when all four brainwave patterns are present at once. When you are in this state of awakened consciousness, you are thinking and meditating simultaneously - brainstorming, creating, visualizing, and evaluating, all at the same time. Everything comes together beautifully and you know you’re doing your best work. It's a great place for a writer to be. There are many books and audio courses that contain meditation exercises designed to strengthen the links between the four levels of consciousness. One I book I highly recommend is Awakening the Mind, by Anna Wise (ISBN 1585421456, Tarcher/Putnam 2002).
PS: Check out the latest offering from my murky subconscious: A Little Light Magic, a Jersey Shore romance. (Leisure Books, May 26) http://www.joynash.com/