Part of writing for BnB is circling back to make posts better. As I write this one, I know I’ll be circling back. Why? Because I have been looking into this brainwave thing for years. Also, when we say one type of wave is present, it doesn’t mean that the other types are not. It was fascinating to find 1 scientific research article that could account for a 12-step electrochemical mechanism that generated brainwaves and others showing how the vice versa is true: the brain waves can sweep through the brain like the wave encircles the crowd at a sports event. I even abandoned relating our workshop (The SQ Workshop) activities to brain waves. But it’s hard to ignore. In this post I did my best to speak to what brain waves are likely present during the polyvagal physiological states. Why did I go down this rocky road of often conflicting information? Because I ultimately want to experiment with delta brain waves and Havening Touch® and after-death communication, OBE induction, etc. Calendarly bookings are here.
BTV Communication (Beyond the Veil)
In navigating the tender landscapes of grief, trauma, and loss, the Beyond The Veil (BTV) communication method emerges as a gentle yet transformative approach. Accidentally witnessed* and later practiced and honed, BTV communication weaves together Havening Touch with imaginative practices, aiming to foster a potent space for individuals to connect with the ‘larger conscious field’ and possibly, beyond the veil.
At the heart of BTV communication is a tender acknowledgment of grief, as I like to say, as “love turned inside out.” Before delving into this core emotion, the process begins with depotentiating or softening the grip of other intense emotions like guilt and regret using Havening Techniques. Havening, known for its potential to induce a calming delta brain wave state, acts as a soothing preamble, preparing the emotional and neural terrain for the deeper dive ahead. (In the words I choose to use as a spiritual adventurer, I would say we are calling these emotions back to love… However, since grief = love, we don’t need to call that one back.)
Following this emotional softening, the journey ventures into the realms of grief, with a loving recognition of grief’s essence as a form of love. This stage engages the power of imagination, believed to induce a theta brain wave state, creating a conducive environment for BTV connection.
The method, used on a small sample size, has 87.5% success rate in facilitating BTV communication, hinting at its potential effectiveness. The integration of Havening Techniques for initial emotional depotentiation, coupled with imaginative practices for deeper exploration, offers a path to connection.
*Accidentally witnessed: While not too far into my case studies, I witnessed 2 clients connect with deceased loved ones. One came to me regarding eating habits and the other for inexplicable chronic pain. While using a Havening Touch protocol that involved imagination, the former client receive a visit and message from her mom, and the latter, from a deceased friend. In asking other Havening Touch practitioners about this, I found that MANY have witnessed this same phenonoma… also, “by accident.” I started to wonder “How can we promote this connection on purpose.”
I’ve come to view this also like peeling back an onion:
Once we depotentiate the outer layers of the onion, we get to grief as love, turned inside out. The client explores this with a process involving imagination.
This is not a specific order to follow — I help the client go in the order they wish. I am merely a facilitator. Grief is typically “wrapped” in a mixed bag of emotions. The emotional mix confuses and troubles us. The loss of a loved one can surface deep feelings of shame and guilt. Shame often stems from regrets over unresolved issues (including the resurfacing of past issues long “forgotten”), perceived failings in the relationship, feelings of responsibility for the death, anger, relief, or benefiting from the loss (inheritance). The order below is an example of peeling back the grief onion:
- Anger – Letting go of anger first can help open the heart and mind. Anger often overlays other emotions.
- Fear – Releasing fear and anxiety next can allow one to relax more deeply. Fear can cause tension that inhibits connection.
- Shame – Moving through shame to self-acceptance and self-compassion. Shame can block vulnerability.
- Frustration – Depotentiating frustration to cultivate patience and grace with the process. Frustration can disrupt presence.
- Confusion – Clarifying confusion to gain insight and direction for the journey ahead. Confusion can cloud intuition.
- Disappointment – Shifting from disappointment to understanding and gratitude for what is. Disappointment focuses on what’s missing.
- Helplessness – Transitioning from helplessness to empowerment and capability to move forward. Helplessness inhibits agency.
- Guilt/Regret – Finally releasing guilt and regret to make space for the fullness of grief and love.
Explore the Science
I’ve posted many times about Polyvagal Theory, and here’s the quick take: Based on Dr. Stephen Porges’s Polyvagal Theory, Deb Dana LCSW created the Polyvagal Ladder, and an ever-growing body of content around Polyvagal Theory — allowing us to befriend our nervous systems. Many of us (including Stephen Porges’s son Seth), combine the ladder with the colors, GREEN, YELLOW and RED. The silly of us (just me so far) turned this into a Feather-O-Meter with GREEN feather-mode, etc. (If teaching this to kids though, be sure to make it clear that all three states are helpful in different situations… Lest they assume that YELLOW and RED are bad.) In this post I thought it would be interesting to tie brainwave patterns to the GREEN/YELLOW/RED states.
The Polyvagal Ladder + GREEN/YELLOW/RED
The Feather-O-Meter… What Feather Mode is Your Biological Spacesuit in?
GREEN and What I Call SUPER GREEN
Hold up 2 peace signs? Notice the “V V” you are making. Why are you doing this? Well, because GREEN is the ventral vagal state: In this state, the parasympathetic nervous system is active, and you are calm, connected, and socially engaged.
The brain wave patterns associated with GREEN are likely to be in the alpha and theta ranges, which are associated with relaxation, creativity, and a calm alertness. We also see gamma waves because ventral vagal is characterized by a sense of calm and connectedness, and it allows for higher-level cognitive processing to occur. (We can learn and grow when we are in GREEN!)
All-in-all, GREEN is a state of receptivity and connection. We often talk about engaging with people who are, you know, alive.
Alas, we dare to wonder about receptivity and connection to those people (etc) who no longer are wearing their Earthling Suit as Violetta Donawa so cleverly puts it.
In her book The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation, she discusses the connection between ventral vagal activation and spirituality. Overall, Dana suggests that ventral vagal activation may play a key role in fostering spiritual experiences and that practices that promote this state can be beneficial for individuals seeking to cultivate their spirituality.
I like to use the term SUPER GREEN for the state where we are receptive and connecting to spirit, and/or having mystical experiences. Note in the image below how well spirit (the light) shines through the biological spacesuit.
Depending where we are on the Feather-O-Meter, we are obscuring spirit or we aren’t. You can think of it as tuning into spirit or not. Note how Theodore shows this in the background…
What Are Some Spiritual/Mystical Examples?
Mediumship has been linked with a decrease in beta brain waves and an increase in alpha and theta waves.
Trance mediumship is characterized by a decrease in beta brain waves, an increase in alpha and theta waves, and sometimes even delta waves.
For psychic ability, some studies suggest that it may be linked to increased alpha and theta brain waves. For example, Silva Ultramind is a specific waking psychic ability technique that aims to increase alpha and theta brain waves while decreasing beta waves.
Out-of-body experiences (OBEs) have been linked with a decrease in alpha brain waves and an increase in theta waves. (My Astral Academy teacher, Jade Shaw, has a free masterclass here.)
Nondual experiences (for example, via nondual meditation) are linked to alpha and theta as well. This free series by Michael Taft did the trick for me!
How Can I Take on the SUPER GREEN Physiology?
If you want to get to SUPER GREEN, well, get to GREEN and then try to experience (or activate) self-transcendent emotions. Self-transcendent emotions are emotions that involve a sense of connection to something larger than oneself, such as others, the natural world, or a higher power.
Here are 10 examples of self-transcendent emotions (or emotions that can be transcendent):
- Love: A feeling of connection, caring, and compassion for others.
- Compassion: Characterized by feelings of warmth, care, and concern for the well-being of others, and a willingness to take action to help them.
- Gratitude: A feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for the good things in one’s life.
- Awe: A sense of wonder and amazement in the face of something larger than oneself.
- Joy: A feeling of happiness and delight that comes from connecting with others or experiencing beauty.
- Serenity: A feeling of peace and calmness that comes from connecting with oneself or the natural world.
- Hope: A sense of optimism and positivity about the future.
- Humility: A sense of modesty and openness to learning from others.
- Transcendent pride: A feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from achieving something greater than oneself.
- Inspiration: A feeling of motivation and enthusiasm that comes from connecting with something meaningful or inspiring.
Here are a couple photos from The SQ Workshop Workbook:
More on Brainwaves and Physiological States: A Look at YELLOW and YELLOW-GREEN
YELLOW is the Sympathetic State: In this state, the sympathetic nervous system is active, and the person is alert, aroused, and ready for action. In this case, our ever well-intentioned biological space suit becomes quite suit-focused. Why? So we can live to see another day!
(The above photo is a decent conceptualization of YELLOW and RED: The suitstuff snaps into action for life-preservation purposes.)
A Splash of YELLOW with your GREEN? (Safe and some juice of mobilization)
The brain wave patterns associated with this state, and the YELLOW-GREEN state are likely to be in the beta range, which is associated with active thinking, problem-solving, and high-level alertness. When humans have beta brain waves, they may engage in activities that require focus and mental effort. These activities may include:
- Working on a complex project or problem-solving task.
- Engaging in creative activities such as painting, writing, or composing music.
- Participating in a lively conversation or debate.
- Playing sports or engaging in physical activity that requires coordination and attention.
- Studying for an exam or reading a challenging book.
- Engaging in activities that require high levels of attention, such as driving or operating machinery.
- Engaging in tasks that require quick decision-making, such as playing a fast-paced video game or participating in a timed quiz.
- Participating in public speaking or presenting in front of an audience.
The Brainwave Pattern Associated with Trauma Encodings
When conditions for traumatic encodings or stress-induced structural plasticity to occur, we see really fast gamma waves (greater that 100Hz). The specific polyvagal state that an individual is in during traumatic encoding may vary depending on the nature of the trauma and the individual’s subjective experience of the event. However, traumatic encoding is often associated with a shift toward the dorsal vagal state (RED), which is characterized by immobilization, dissociation, and disconnection.
Brainwaves Associated with IADC: Induced After-Death Communication… And Why My Current Focus is on Delta Waves
RED is the dorsal vagal State: In this state, the parasympathetic nervous system is highly active, and the person is immobilized and disconnected. The brain wave patterns associated with this state (and the blended GREEN-RED state) are likely to be in the delta range, which is associated with deep sleep and unconsciousness.
One study conducted by Dr. Allan Botkin and Dr. R. Craig Hogan reported that delta waves were present in some participants who underwent a specific therapy called Induced After-Death Communication (IADC), which involves inducing a state of deep relaxation through eye movements, often evoking (90% success rate according to this book) communication with deceased loved ones. The authors hypothesized that delta waves may be associated with the deep relaxation and altered states of consciousness experienced during the therapy.
Also, a study published in the journal Explore found that participants who reported having spiritual experiences during meditation had significantly increased delta wave activity compared to those who did not report such experiences.
Additionally, another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that practitioners of Qigong, a traditional Chinese practice that involves meditation, movement, and breathing exercises, had increased delta wave activity during meditation compared to their baseline levels.
Then there was a study published in The Journal Consciousness and Cognition which found that experienced meditators who engaged in non-dual meditation, a practice aimed at achieving a sense of oneness or unity, had increased delta activity in the fronto-parietal regions of the brain. The study also found that increased delta activity was associated with feelings of oneness and transcendence.
Another study published in The Journal Frontiers in Psychology examined the effects of Sahaja Yoga meditation (a practice that focuses on achieving a state of thoughtless awareness and self-realization) on brain waves. The study found that practitioners had increased delta activity in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain associated with self-awareness and decision-making.
If you are looking to connect increase delta waves, you can try:
Yoga Nidra: This is a type of guided meditation that involves deep relaxation and visualization techniques. Practitioners are guided through a series of visualizations and body scans, which can promote a state of deep relaxation and calm.
Transcendental Meditation: This is a mantra-based meditation technique that involves silently repeating a specific phrase or word. The repetition of the mantra can promote relaxation and reduce stress, which may promote the production of delta waves.
Delta Brainwave Entrainment: This is a type of meditation that involves listening to a recording that is designed to promote the production of delta waves. These recordings typically use binaural beats or other sound frequencies to promote deep relaxation and promote delta wave production.
Havening Techniques: This is a psychosensory practice developed by Dr. Ronald Ruden that involves the use of touch and attention to create delta waves in the brain.
As you saw at the start of this post, I’ve taken to draw this as a dial, verses a ladder, with the idea that we can enter those non-typical states from either end of the dial, shown by numbers 2 and 3 below. These states are also associated with hyperplasticity — changing the brain’s defaults quicker than the blink of an eye.
By “non-typical states” I mean that most people do not enter these states in their normal day-to-day adventures. Throughout a typical day, we are moving from GREEN to YELLOW to RED. Sometimes in our lives, there are atypical moments. Sometimes I label these as WTF! moments of the Feather-O-Meter.
(these are all described in the text below the image)
Number 1 above is an earthly-suit-focuses response. By this I mean: Your biological spacesuit is going to change based on the experience, in the interest of helping you in the future. This is a trauma encoding (see the EMLI video above for more specifics). Due to the 100Hz+ gamma waves, the brain enters a hyperplastic state and we see traumatic encodings (SISP, stress-induced structural plasticities can also be encoded).
SIDE NOTE: Havening Techniques® creates a safe haven to activate these encodings and then uses specific means to UN-encode them (see the first video that I embedded in this post).
Numbers 2 and 3 above are “Leaving the biological spacesuit” adventures… Basically: This earthly spacesuit is no longer needed… for example, number 2 in the cartoon depicts actual death (note the “Just Kidding!” in the lower right of my drawing to signify a near death experience, an NDE). Here the hyperplastic state seems to lead to a reset for a lot of NDErs. In IFS they would call this a spontaneous unburdening meaning that parts of us that took on “extreme roles” (a.k.a. burdens) spontaneously drop their burdens and take on (go back to) a more productive role within the system. In neuroscience we would say that the brain became hyperplastic and was changed. Is it the surge of gamma waves or something else in play? Some studies have suggested that NDEs may trigger a reset of the NMDA receptor system, which may contribute to the profound and lasting changes in perception and worldview reported by some individuals who have had NDEs. Some theories suggest that the surge in gamma waves may be related to the release of endogenous DMT.
Number 3 in the cartoon: Oneness experiences, also known as mystical experiences or peak experiences, are characterized by a profound sense of unity, interconnectedness, and transcendence of the self. They may be triggered by a variety of factors, such as meditation, self-transcendent emotions, psychedelic substances, or spontaneous events. Some studies have reported that mystical experiences are associated with increases in alpha brain waves, which are typically present when the brain is relaxed and not processing external stimuli. Other studies have reported increases in theta and gamma brain waves, which are associated with meditation, deep concentration, and higher states of consciousness. Some studies have reported increases in delta brain waves during meditation and other contemplative practices, which may be associated with deep states of relaxation and concentration (and this would map more to some dorsal vagal, RED juice being in the mix). I have personally experienced a reset as a result of my first nondual experience during a nondual mediation. Not sure why, but I can tell you that some of the super-glued encodings in my brain, disappeared. Was it the healing powers of delta waves that caused the hyperplasticity? Was it the gamma waves that caused the hyperplasticity? One way or another I was 100% different after my first successful nondual experience via nondual meditation.
The Potential Role of Theta Waves in BTV Communication
When we start to imagine, theta waves increase. These theta waves, oscillating between 4 to 8 Hz, have been associated with states of deep relaxation, meditation, and the intersection between conscious and unconscious realms. Studies have showcased a dominance of theta and delta waves during profound meditative states, particularly at the boundary between consciousness and unconsciousness, a zone often believed to host imaginative and spiritual experiences12. In fact, many pose that imagination is the gateway to spiritual connection. Theta waves have indeed been associated with enhanced imaginative and creative states. For example, studies have shown individuals trained to synchronize their brain activity to theta patterns exhibit improved memory performance, possibly hinting at a mechanism that harmonizes the mind, potentially augmenting imaginative faculties3. Theta waves are recognized for coordinating neural activity in service of cognition, which could provide a conducive neurological environment for individuals to transcend typical cognitive boundaries, delve into imaginative realms, or even connect with a larger conscious field4.
Looking for Answers… Volunteers Too!
Contact me if you would like to join me in experimenting with Havening Touch and spiritual connection. I have seen this happen 2x already without trying to induce connection. My peers (actually whatever word that is like “peers” but signifies seniority) have also seen this happen as well! I would like to try to play with protocols to bring this on, on purpose! Calendarly bookings are here.