Brainwaves and Consciousness: A Tutorial
The 100 billion human brain cells function in a ‘sea’ of electrical activity that can be detected by sensors placed on the scalp. Neuroscience considers brain cells which give off electrical signals in step with each other to be correlated or “coherent.” Coherent waves of electrical activity in the brain represent a key sign of integrated or coordinated functioning in a brain which performs millions of separate tasks every second. The synchronous activity arising from millions of brain cells is constantly fluctuating. This endogenous oscillation is thought to represent the ongoing neural processing corresponding to the structure and content of our changing mental states. These endogenous rhythms periodically summate, allowing the electrical activity to reach the surface of the scalp where it can then be recorded as brainwaves. Sensory experience represents a dynamic manipulation and phase resetting of the endogenous oscillations of the circuits within and between the thalamus and cerebral cortex. Integration of the vast diversity of brain activity supports our states of consciousness and the content of our conscious experience. The Transcendental Meditation technique, the TM-Sidhi program and Yogic Flying have been shown to greatly enhance brain integration. The progressive growth of global brain coherence closely correlates with the growth of human potential and well-being, reaching a state of total brain functioning in enlightenment.