In the same way that exercising develops our bodies, makse us feel better, and improves our physical health, exercising the brain brings about the same great results. (Very good for cushioning against aging, too.) How do you "exercise" your brain? With stimulation! Stimulating the brain "exercises" it, makes us feel better, brings better emotional, mental and physical health, and increases intellectual functioning.
It was noted in early EEG studies that people who were good at meditating were able to bring their brains into lower wave patterns, moving from beta (the usual adult state - associated with concentration, arousal, alertness and cognition, and, if too high, anxiety); then alpha (deep relaxation); then theta (dreaming sleep also associated with increased creativity, what's called "superlearning", integrative experiences, and increased memory); and then there is delta, where generally you're asleep.
According to scientists, as we slow the brain wave patterns from beta to alpha to theta to delta, there is a corresponding increase in balance between the
two hemispheres of the brain, which is called "brain synchronization." Brain waves shift from the usual asymmetrical patterns, with one hemisphere dominant over the other, to a to a balanced state of whole-brain integration, with the same brain wave frequency throughout. Dr. Lester Fehmi, director of the Princeton Biofeedback Research Institute feels that hemispheric synchronization represents "the maximum efficiency of information transport through the whole brain". Aren't we always talking about "whole brain functioning"? This allows you to become less "self-conscious" and function more "intuitively."
This makes learning easier, among other things.
Says Thompson "This [integration] creates a state of coherence in the brain...an internal physiological environment for learning which involves the whole brain." The linear, sequential style of problem solving preferred by the left hemisphere is brought into balance with the global intuitive style of the right hemisphere and limbic system. This allows us to have greater access to internal and external knowledge, and provides optimal conditions for expanding intuition in problem-solving. One of the by-products of hemispheric synchronication
appears to be a highly focused state of attending. This means the "mind chatter" is reduced, and you can pay attention with great focus, which is criticial for efficient learning land effective functioning.
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