Scientists Listen to the Human Brain…and Hear Aum.
What is the proper musical frequency when singing Aum at the beginning of class? Listen to the brain.
He played his low E chord on his harmonium – and we chanted aaauuuummmum – again and again and again! I wished it could have gone on all night!
He also said (just paraphrasing his informal comments), that this E-chord is not a random choice, but that it’s also the sound that comes from within our minds when we meditate. Hmm, I wondered – cool thought indeed – but is he just making this up? I mean, what could he (or ancient yogis for that matter) know about what is really, actually happening in the brain?
It turns out that modern science can actually “listen” to the brain when it is meditating – by placing small electrodes on the scalp and measuring oscillations of neuro-electrical activity (electroencephalography or EEG). When EEG is used to “listen” to the brains of experienced meditators, they show an increase in the strength of a particular “note” or frequency – a so-called gamma wave, or gamma frequency of about 40Hz when they reach deep meditative states. According to wikipedia:
A gamma wave is a pattern of brain waves in humans with a frequency between 25 to 100 Hz, though 40 Hz is prototypical. … Experiments on Tibetan Buddhist monks have shown a correlation between transcendental mental states and gamma waves. A suggested explanation is based on the fact that the gamma is intrinsically localized. Neuroscientist Sean O’Nuallain suggests that this very existence of synchronized gamma indicates that something akin to a singularity – or, to be more prosaic, a conscious experience – is occurring.
OK, so modern science measures brain activity in deep meditators and finds that 40Hz is the vibration associated with deep meditative states. Girish says AUM is also the vibration of deep meditative states and is traditionally a low E-chord. Is he right? What’s the frequency of low E? Is it close to 40Hz?
41.2Hz! Pretty darn amazing!
photoart courtesy of g2b2m2m