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By Jorge Manuel Zelaya Fajardo

December 9th, 2020


 “Listen to the silence. It has a lot to say.”

-- Rumi   


The title of these short lines may seem like an intrinsic contradiction. Silence can be thought of as the
 complete absence of sound. In the same way, it can be thought that the sound only comes from  words. 
Today, we will write about the sound of thoughts.


A couple of decades ago (publicly clarifying that I was practically an infant in case the  dear reader is doing the math), I  heard the concept of brain waves for the first time. That happened when I participated  a Silva Method seminar workshop, where the instructor explained to us in detail what the brain waves meant. In those days I was in my first years of my  engineering degree, so the subject was a perfect fit  with the math  and physics studied in the classroom. However, it was not until several years later that I realized the importance of brain waves in the life of a human being.

Brain waves are the electrical pulses that occur in a synchronized and harmonious way between neurons (billions of units or fundamental cells of the human brain communicated with each other daily). They are the intimate communications at the root of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.


For practical purposes and in a rather daring way, we will define them, establish their differences and above all, we will seek their practical use to pursue a better quality of life.


Brain waves are like musical notes. Some are high frequency and others are low frequency, all engaging in the melody of our daily life. Their speed is measured in Hertz (cycles per second) and they exist in bands (the lower the frequency, the greater the amplitude of the wave). Scientifically, brain waves cannot be seen; but they can be measured with an electroencephalogram. These waves are:


Infra (less than .5 Hz):  Very little known, difficult to detect and measure. They are believed to have a role in brain networks.

Delta (from .5 to 3 Hz): These are the waves of deep dreamless sleep and meditation. There is no contact with the outside world in this frequency. Healing and regeneration are associated in this state, therefore adequate and proper sleep have an extraordinary effect on health. The brain, although still, is never completely turned off.

Theta (from 3 to 8 Hz): These are the waves that occur when we sleep. They are our door to learning, memory, and intuition. It is where we focus on the inside and not the outside. We dream (REM stage) and imagine crystal clear. It is the place where our fears  and nightmares are.

Alpha (8 to 12 Hz): These are the waves of the here and now. Present moment and mindfulness. They allow mental coordination, calm, sense of alert, mind-body integration and pure learning. A walk in a park, a beach break or a very interesting movie on television are good examples.


Beta (from 12 to 38 Hz): These are the waves that dominate our conscious state. They are aimed at the cognitive tasks of the outside world. We are alert, attentive, involved in solving problems and making decisions. They range from little mental involvement to complex new experiences and thoughts. Answering a test and speaking in public are good examples.


Gamma (from 38 to 42Hz): These are the highest frequency waves. Simultaneous information processing from different areas of the brain occurs in this state. Despite being high frequency, the mind must be still to access these waves. There is still much to learn about them, since for a long time they were considered noise; but recent serious research points to a direct relationship with altruism, universal love and virtues.


In summary, there are three practical applications that can be derived from what has been learned:


ALL brain waves are present ALL the time. It does not matter if we sleep or are in a job interview (it is highly suggested not to do both activities at the same time) our brain always has all types of waves present, in different duration and  intensity. It is not intended to cancel them out, but rather to harmonize them, distribute them efficiently and align them effectively. Make time to sleep and to solve problems. To learn and to relax.


The perception of the world around us is KEY. We live in a world that reminds us mercilessly every day  how difficult it can be just to live or survive. From the Covid19 pandemic to natural disasters, from personal economic crisis to global warming. Our objective evaluation of reality (very difficult to do at times) can even provide us with a very fertile scenario that we must begin to build solutions to overcome the problems ( or challenges) that we face.



Let's start building the muscle of our ALPHA waves. Alpha waves are the muscle that we must develop to lift the gym weights from the problems around us. The practice of full attention to the present moment (mindfulness), relaxation and concentration have been scientifically proven to further develop creativity and imagination.


Science doesn't have to be boring, monotonous or distant. In fact, when we use it as a basis to put it into practice through exercises in our personal and professional lives, it becomes interesting, attractive and close. Science must be a language that should not have barriers of age, social class, sex or academic training. Today is a good day to turn the science of brain waves ( amplitude and frequency)  into concrete actions to improve our quality of life and that of others around us. Today is a good day to learn to listen to the sound of silence.




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