Theta Brainwaves and Insight

For thousands of years humans have been aware of the enormous creative values of the theta state. Budzynski notes that “Shamanistic and other primitive ceremonies often included procedures designed to produce these states. It was believed (and still is in certain cultures) that the dreamlike images elicited in the twilight state allowed the dreamer to foretell events, instruct as to healing procedures, and give important information.”

The eighteenth-century mystic Emanuel Swedenborg wrote in detail about his own theta experiences and described ways of inducing them. The visionary chemist Friedrich Kekule vividly described his state of “reverie” in which he suddenly saw a mental image of atoms forming a chain, and of snakes biting their tails, which led to his discovery that organic compounds occur in closed rings—described as “the most brilliant piece of prediction to be found in the whole range of organic chemistry.” There are countless stories of such moments of inspiration and creativity occurring when the thinker is nodding off to sleep, wandering lonely as a cloud, or gazing into the fire. All of them speak of the drowsiness, the relaxation, the vivid imagery appearing unexpectedly that mark these as examples of the theta state.

One of the most powerful effects of the brain machines we will explore in this book is their capacity to put us into this beneficial, productive brain-wave state virtually at will.

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