The human brain is unique: Our remarkable cognitive capacity has allowed us to invent the wheel, build the pyramids and land on the moon. In fact, scientists sometimes refer to the human brain as the “crowning achievement of evolution.”
According to the scientists’ reviews, man only incorporates less than 10% of his brain capacity. This shows how awesome a human can be, if it’s utilized more. Although man only uses less than 10% of his brain’s ability, we can witness the created human cultures that are really extraordinary. And as we continue to evolve, we will need to utilize our brains even more, to overcome the challenges of tomorrow.
Man has as many as 1 trillion of brain cells. Compare with a bee which has only 7000 cells. With only 7000 brain cells, a bee is able to do incredible things such as establishing the very high precision house of honey, hexagonal in shape, which allows for the maximum amount of honey to be stored with minimum amount of materials.
Many of our mathematicians are astonished by the bee’s capability. So, if we compare the 1 trillion human brain cells with the bee’s 7000 brain cells, a Man with 1 trillion brain cells shall accordingly be able to develop his brain’s capability more awesome. Do you know that 1 brain cell of a man has a power capable to beat the most sophisticated computer?!
Neurons and synapses form the wiring of the brain
The brain processes information by forming networks of specialized nerve cells, called neurons, which communicate with one another using electrical and chemical signals. These messages are the physical basis of learning and memory. A neuron consists of a cell body and the branch-like structures that extend from it. Messages are passed between neurons at connections called synapses. The neurons do not actually touch, however. Communication between neurons involves complex electrical and chemical processes, but its basics can be outlined simply.
In the first three years, a child’s brain has up to twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood.
Take a look at brain development in children. Between conception and age three, a child’s brain undergoes an impressive amount of change. At birth, it already has about all of the neurons it will ever have. It doubles in size in the first year, and by age three it has reached 80 percent of its adult volume.
Even more importantly, synapses are formed at a faster rate during these years than at any other time. In fact, the brain creates many more of them than it needs: at age two or three, the brain has up to twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood. These surplus connections are gradually eliminated throughout childhood and adolescence, a process sometimes referred to as blooming and pruning.
The organization of a child’s brain is affected by early experiences
Why would the brain create more synapses than it needs, only to discard the extras? The answer lies in the interplay of genetic and environmental factors in brain development.
The early stages of development are strongly affected by genetic factors; for example, genes direct newly formed neurons to their correct locations in the brain and play a role in how they interact. However, although they arrange the basic wiring of the brain, genes do not design the brain completely.1
Instead, genes allow the brain to fine-tune itself according to the input it receives from the environment. A child’s senses report to the brain about her environment and experiences, and this input stimulates neural activity. Speech sounds, for example, stimulate activity in language-related brain regions. If the amount of input increases (if more speech is heard) synapses between neurons in that area will be activated more often.
Repeated use strengthens a synapse. Synapses that are rarely used remain weak and are more likely to be eliminated in the pruning process. Synapse strength contributes to the connectivity and efficiency of the networks that support learning, memory, and other cognitive abilities.Therefore, a child’s experiences not only determine what information enters her brain, but also influence how her brain processes information.
Genes provide a blueprint for the brain, but a child’s environment and experiences carry out the construction.
The excess of synapses produced by a child’s brain in the first three years makes the brain especially responsive to external input. During this period, the brain can “capture” experience more efficiently than it will be able to later, when the pruning of synapses is underway. The brain’s ability to shape itself – called plasticity – lets humans adapt more readily and more quickly than we could if genes alone determined our wiring.The process of blooming and pruning, far from being wasteful, is actually an efficient way for the brain to achieve optimal development.
The development of the brain begins in the first few weeks after conception. Most of the structural features of the brain appear during the embryonic period (about the first 8 weeks after fertilization); these structures then continue to grow and develop during the fetal period (the remainder of gestation).
The first key event of brain development is the formation of the neural tube. About two weeks after conception, the neural plate, a layer of specialized cells in the embryo, begins to slowly fold over into itself, eventually forming a tube-shaped structure. The tube gradually closes as the edges of the plate fuse together; this process is usually complete by four weeks after conception. The neural tube continues to change, eventually becoming the brain and spinal cord.
About seven weeks after conception the first neurons and synapses begin to develop in the spinal cord. These early neural connections allow the fetus to make its first movements, which can be detected by ultrasound and MRI even though in most cases the mother cannot feel them. These movements, in turn, provide the brain with sensory input that spurs on its development. More coordinated movements develop over the next several weeks.
Early in the second trimester, gyri and sulci begin to appear on the brain’s surface; by the end of this trimester, this process is almost complete. The cerebral cortex is growing in thickness and complexity and synapse formation in this area is beginning.
Myelin begins to appear on the axons of some neurons during the second trimester. This process – called myelination – continues through adolescence. Myelination allows for faster processing of information: for the brain to achieve the same level of efficiency without myelination, the spinal cord would have to be three yards in diameter.
The early weeks of the third trimester are a transitional period during which the cerebral cortex begins to assume many duties formerly carried out by the more primitive brainstem. For example, reflexes such as fetal breathing and responses to external stimuli become more regular. The cerebral cortex also supports early learning which develops around this time.
The remarkable abilities of newborn babies highlight the extent of prenatal brain development. Newborns can recognize human faces, which they prefer over other objects, and can even discriminate between happy and sad expressions. At birth, a baby knows her mother’s voice and may be able to recognize the sounds of stories her mother read to her while she was still in the womb.
The brain continues to develop at an amazing rate throughout the first year. The cerebellum triples in size, which appears to be related to the rapid development of motor skills that occurs during this period. As the visual areas of the cortex grow, the infant’s initially dim and limited sight develops into full binocular vision.
At about three months, an infant’s power of recognition improves dramatically; this coincides with significant growth in the hippocampus, the limbic structure related to recognition memory. Language circuits in the frontal and temporal lobes become consolidated in the first year, influenced strongly by the language an infant hears. For the first few months, a baby in an English-speaking home can distinguish between the sounds of a foreign language. She loses this ability by the end of her first year: the language she hears at home has wired her brain for English.
This year’s most dramatic changes involve the brain’s language areas, which are developing more synapses and becoming more interconnected. These changes correspond to the sudden spike in children’s language abilities – sometimes called the vocabulary explosion – that typically occurs during this period. Often a child’s vocabulary will quadruple between his first and second birthday.
During the second year, there is a major increase in the rate of myelination, which helps the brain perform more complex tasks. Higher-order cognitive abilities like self-awareness are developing: an infant is now more aware of his own emotions and intentions. When he sees his reflection in a mirror, he now fully recognizes that it is his own. Soon he will begin using his own name as well as personal pronouns like “I” and “me.”
Synaptic density in the prefrontal cortex probably reaches its peak during the third year, up to 200 percent of its adult level. This region also continues to create and strengthen networks with other areas. As a result, complex cognitive abilities are being improved and consolidated. At this stage, for example, children are better able to use the past to interpret present events. They also have more cognitive flexibility and a better understanding of cause and effect. The earliest messages that the brain receives have an enormous impact.
Early brain development is the foundation of human adaptability and resilience, but these qualities come at a price. Because experiences have such a great potential to affect brain development, children are especially vulnerable to persistent negative influences during this period. On the other hand, these early years are a window of opportunity for parents, caregivers, and communities: positive early experiences have a huge effect on children’s chances for achievement, success, and happiness.
What Brain waves mean to you
Our brainwave profile and our daily experience of the world are inseparable. When our brainwaves are out of balance, there will be corresponding problems in our emotional or neuro-physical health.
Research has identified brainwave patterns associated with all sorts of emotional and neurological conditions. Over-arousal in certain brain areas is linked with anxiety disorders, sleep problems, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, impulsive behaviour, anger/aggression, agitated depression, chronic nerve pain. Under-arousal in certain brain areas leads to some types of depression, attention deficit, chronic pain and insomnia. A combination of under-arousal and overarousal is seen in cases of anxiety, depression and ADHD.
Instabilities in brain rhythms correlate with tics, obsessive-compulsive disorder, aggressive behaviour, rage, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, migraines, narcolepsy, epilepsy, sleep apnea, vertigo, tinnitus, anorexia/ bulimia, PMT, diabetes, hypoglycaemia and explosive behaviour.
What are brain waves?
At the root of all our thoughts, emotions and behaviours is the communication between neurons within our brains. Brainwaves are produced by synchronised electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other.
Brainwaves are detected using sensors placed on the scalp. They are divided into bandwidths to describe their functions (below), but are best thought of as a continuous spectrum of consciousness; from slow, loud and functional – to fast, subtle, and complex.
It is a handy analogy to think of Brainwaves as musical notes – the low frequency waves are like a deeply penetrating drum beat, while the higher frequency brainwaves are more like a subtle high pitched flute. Like a symphony, the higher and lower frequencies link and cohere with each other through harmonics.
Our brainwaves change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When slower brainwaves are dominant we can feel tired, slow, sluggish, or dreamy. The higher frequencies are dominant when we feel wired, or hyper-alert.
The descriptions that follow are only broadly descriptions – in practice things are far more complex, and brainwaves reflect different aspects when they occur in different locations in the brain.
Brainwave speed is measured in Hertz (cycles per second) and they are divided into bands delineating slow, moderate, and fast waves.
DELTA WAVES (.5 TO 3 HZ)
Delta brainwaves are slow, loud brainwaves (low frequency and deeply penetrating, like a drum beat). They are generated in deepest meditation and dreamless sleep. Delta waves suspend external awareness and are the source of empathy. Healing and regeneration are stimulated in this state, and that is why deep restorative sleep is so essential to the healing process.
THETA WAVES (3 TO 8 HZ)
Theta brainwaves occur most often in sleep but are also dominant in deep meditation. It acts as our gateway to learning and memory. In theta, our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within.
It is that twilight state which we normally only experience fleetingly as we wake or drift off to sleep. In theta we are in a dream; vivid imagery, intuition and information beyond our normal conscious awareness. It’s where we hold our ‘stuff’, our fears, troubled history, and nightmares.
ALPHA WAVES (8 TO 12 HZ)
Alpha brainwaves are dominant during quietly flowing thoughts, and in some meditative states. Alpha is ‘the power of now’, being here, in the present. Alpha is the resting state for the brain. Alpha waves aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration and learning.
BETA WAVES (12 TO 38 HZ)
Beta brainwaves dominate our normal waking state of consciousness when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world.
Beta is a ‘fast’ activity, present when we are alert, attentive, engaged in problem solving, judgment, decision making, and engaged in focused mental activity.
Beta brainwaves are further divided into three bands; Lo-Beta (Beta1, 12-15Hz) can be thought of as a ‘fast idle, or musing. Beta (Beta2, 15-22Hz) is high engagement or actively figuring something out.
Hi-Beta (Beta3, 22-38Hz) is highly complex thought, integrating new experiences, high anxiety, or excitement. Continual high frequency processing is not a very efficient way to run the brain, as it takes a tremendous amount of energy.
During the InnSaei training a child learns how to enter the condition of meditative genius in order to be able to ‘see’ with eyes closed. Genius condition doesn’t refer to Intelligent Quotient only but also emotional quotient, creativity quotient and spiritual quotient. The term ‘genius’ here doesn’t mean someone with an IQ above 130.Rather, it applies to a person’s ability to decrease the brain waves down to alpha-theta, at which time the brain functions optimally.
When the brain functions optimally, all human senses are at their top performances, including the capability of intuition, so that a child is able to do activities with his/her eyes closed.
What is intuition?
Intuition is the human capability to perceive something immediately without conscious reasoning or be able to ‘think without thinking’.
Intuition is a knowing, a sensing that is beyond the conscious understanding — a gut feeling.
There is a genius in all of us. — Albert Einstein