Buryat shamanism photos by Arkady Zarubin. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en


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Michael Drake

Binaural Beats for the Shamanic Journey

Copyright © 2008 by Michael Drake

In early October 2008 I began having a recurring dream. In the dream I could hear an audible tone like the one I often hear when helping spirits are trying to communicate with me. That tone is usually a very high pitched ringing in one ear or the other. I have learned to just stop what I am doing and tune into the sound. I still my mind, go within, and open myself up like a hollow bone. I may not always understand what the message is, if any. Sometimes I think spirit helpers just like to talk like we humans do.

The tone in my dream was different than the one I typically experience as a ringing in the ear. It was a lower tone. I also saw text and heard a voice telling me that this tone was very important. I had similar versions of this dream several times over. The message was the same each time. It kept repeating to me the importance of this tone. This fundamental tone was necessary for me to remember and use in the cycle unfolding at this time on planet Earth. It was necessary for healing the heart chakra.

In 2008 the U.S. economy suffered the equivalent of a heart attack. Researchers say the decline of Wall Street and the mortgage crisis may take a heavy toll on your heart, especially if you are already at risk for cardiac problems. People are losing their jobs and homes. Companies are going bankrupt. We have collectively experienced fear and anxiety over the course of this "Great Recession." What is needed now is a healing and balancing of the collective heart.

As a drummer I work a lot with opening up the heart chakra in people. Drumming activates the heart chakra. It is very healing and transforming. There is often emotional release and a great sense of joy and bliss. I wondered if working with tones would affect the same healing.

Tone Healing

I began researching tone healing and found the pioneering work of Swiss mathematician and musicologist Hans Cousto (www.planetware.de/octave). In 1978 Hans Cousto discovered the natural law of the octave as the link between different kinds of periodically occurring natural phenomena such as the orbit of the planets, the weather, and musical tones. An octave describes a process with eight steps and seven intervals. Seven is a fundamental level of organization in the universe. The octave is a natural measure of the harmony of universal law and is the common denominator of astronomy, mathematics, music, and color.

Through the systematic application of the law of the octave it is possible to convert the whole solar system into sound. It is possible to listen to the relation of the vibrations of the planets and also to the structures of atoms and molecules. Hans Cousto established that the rotation of the earth around the sun has a base frequency of 136.10 Hz or C#. This astronomic actually causes the changing of the seasons; spring, summer, fall, and winter on the earth. According the Cousto, this tone is the primal frequency of existence, or OM. Research indicates that it relieves stress, opens blocked energy pathways, restores inner peace and balance, and activates the heart chakra.

There is little doubt in mind that 136.10 Hz or C# is the tone that I was hearing over and over in my dreams.

Binaural Beats Technology

My research led me next to a form of tone healing called binaural beats. Until recently, entering transcendent states of awareness has been attained typically by only a disciplined few, practicing ancient meditative disciplines. These methods do work, but they require long periods of isolation and practice before producing significant results. Now there is a new technology that can easily induce those profound states of deep meditation and heightened awareness.

Researcher H.W. Dove discovered that when two tones close in frequency are presented, one to each ear, the brain detects the difference between them as a third frequency. This pulsating binaural beat is actually created inside your head, not externally. This is because your brain creates the beating tone after figuring out the difference between the lower carrier tone and the higher offset tone. The two hemispheres of the brain entrain to this binaural beat rather than the audible tones. For example, a 90 Hz tone and 95 Hz tone will induce a 5 Hz theta brainwave cycle.

Theta activity reflects the dreamlike state between wakefulness and sleep. Binaural beats in the theta (4 to 8 Hz) range have been associated with meditation and shamanic states of consciousness. Theta increases creativity, enhances learning, reduces stress, and awakens intuition. Binaural beats in the alpha (8 to 12 Hz) range have been associated with relaxation and light trance states. Binaural beats in the beta frequencies (16 to 24 Hz) have been associated with reports of increased concentration or alertness and improved memory. Binaural beats in the delta (1 to 4 Hz) range have been used to help induce sleep.

Carrier tones used on binaural recordings also influence consciousness. Most binaural beat recordings place little importance on the choice of carrier tones. However, the appropriate carrier tones will not only induce a desired state of consciousness, but also activate a particular chakra. Chakras are vibratory energy centers located along the center of the human body. Each vortex of energy is associated with a particular function of consciousness. They are the interface among the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of one's being. According to Hans Cousto the tones of the seven charkas are:

1. Root Chakra - 194.18 Hz = G; dynamic, vitalizing

2. Navel Chakra - 210.42 Hz = G#; supports erotic communication

3. Solar Plexus Chakra - 126.22 Hz = B; multidimensional, transcendental

4. Heart Chakra - 136.10 Hz = C#; relaxing, soothing, balancing

5. Throat Chakra - 141.27 Hz = C#; supports intelligent communication

6. Brow Chakra - 221.23 Hz = A; balance between intellect and intuition

7. Crown Chakra - 172.06 Hz = F; supports cosmic unity and clarity of spirit

Binaural beats can activate chakras and induce profoundly deep altered states within minutes. All you need is an audio player and a pair of stereo headphones. The sound technology does the rest.

Binaural Beats Recordings

My research into tone healing and binaural beats technology culminated in two digital recordings to support the listener in making shamanic journeys: Shamanic Consciousness: Synthesized Binaural Beats Journey and Binaural Beats for the Shamanic Journey. Carrier tones for the journeys on my Binaural Beats for the Shamanic Journey CD are 136.10 Hz (C#) and 172.06 Hz (F). According to Swiss scientist Hans Cousto, 136.10 Hz corresponds to OM, the primal sound from which the universe constantly emanates. This tone activates the heart chakra, relieves stress, opens blocked energy pathways, and restores inner peace and balance. The heart chakra is located in the center of the chest between the two nipples. Green in color, it influences the heart and is associated with emotions, self-esteem, compassion, and affection. Opening this chakra while journeying may release symbols and images of grief and loss states that tend to block it. Memories associated with self-esteem and abandonment may also arise.

172.06 Hz corresponds to Kung, the fundamental tone in ancient China for attuning to Tao, the unknowable force that guides the universe and everything in it. This tone opens the crown chakra and supports cheerfulness, clarity of spirit, and cosmic unity on the highest levels. The seventh or crown chakra is located at the top of the head. The Hopi call this energy center kopavi, meaning "the open door" through which higher spiritual knowledge is received. The crown chakra is associated with the pineal gland, the color violet, full enlightenment, and union with the cosmos. Activating this chakra facilitates a state of unity consciousness. One's sense of being a separate individual gives way to an experience of union, not only with other individuals, but also with the entire universe. The benefits of attaining this state of unity consciousness include relaxation, healing, more energy, better memory, greater mental clarity, enhanced creativity, and communion with the resonating web of life. Feelings of peacefulness, timelessness, and spiritual well-being are common, along with a oneness of feeling and purpose with the totality of a dynamic, interrelated universe.

Beginning the Journey

The shamanic journey is a time-honored method of inner consultation. It is a way of communicating with your inner self and retrieving information. Your inner self is in constant communication with all aspects of your environment, seen and unseen. You need only journey within to find answers to your questions.

Begin your journey by sitting in a dimly lit space and wearing headphones. Reflect for a moment on the purpose of your journey, and then begin listening to my CD. Focus your attention on the tones, then close your eyes and feel yourself being carried away by the sound. It will take a few minutes for brain waves to synchronize with the binaural beat. Once you enter a trance state, you may experience a change in body temperature, feel energy flowing through your body, or find yourself twitching or rocking. It is not uncommon to hear sounds or voices. You may see colorful patterns, symbolic images, or dreamlike visions. The key is to observe whatever happens without trying to analyze the experience.

Each journey on my CD ends with a Tibetan cymbal callback and has a binaural beat of 4.5 Hz, the theta rhythm associated with the deepest states of shamanic consciousness. 30 minute journeys are split into two tracks for your convenience. You can select the first track for a 30 minute journey or the second track for a 15 minute journey. Tracks 1-2 Theta OM. Tracks 3-4 Theta Kung. Headphones required. Step-by-step instructions for making shamanic journeys are explained in my book, The Shamanic Drum.

Listen to a sample from Binaural Beats for the Shamanic Journey

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