The Reticular Activating System (RAS)

The RAS is a network of nerve fibers that originates in the medulla oblongata (brain stem area) and proceeds up through the midbrain into the neocortex, the place where thought is processed. The task of the RAS is to detect new and novel stimuli. When something new or different is perceived in the environment, the RAS alerts the brain to possible danger by causing an ''arousal state.'' If a stimulus, such as a sound, is repetitive in nature, the RAS calms the brain and causes it to enter various peaceful states, depending upon the nature of the stimulus.

Brain State — Associated Mental State

0.5 – 4HZ Delta  Sleep. Some people with highly developed nervous systems, i.e. experienced meditators report that they sometimes experience Delta as a state in which their mind is awake while their body is asleep.

4 – 8HZ Theta  Internal Awareness. In this state, the person is not aware of the external environment but is rather internally attentive to mental imagery such as visions, dreams, etc. Experiences in this state of consciousness are generally perceived as being ýrealţ and thus have an immediate effect upon the neurophysiology of the body/mind.

8 – 12HZ Alpha  Relaxed Awareness. In this state, awareness is directed both outward and inward. It is characterized by a ýrelaxed attentionţ to the external environment and for this reason it is the ideal state for accelerated learning.

12 – 16HZ Beta  Alert Awareness. In this state, awareness is directed to the external environment.

4 – 12HZ Theta/Alpha  The Magic Window. It is in this range of brain activity that transformational healing can take place. The states of Alpha and Theta loosen our control, allowing a greater fluidity of perception which creates the possibility for new and novel understandings and ways of being. In addition, these states create a spontaneous decrease in blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and muscle tension. A side effect of this state is also a decrease in stress hormones. I call this the Magic Window because it is in this state that seemingly miraculous feats of healing and integration can occur. Sound tools, especially those with a history of use by indigenous and ancient peoples, have the ability, when used properly, to create this healing state of mind.

Quit this window to return to magazine.