What is the role of science in Heartfulness?

Scientists have been studying meditation empirically for the last 60 years, and the impact of meditation on neuroplasticity, brain health and overall well-being has been established. We have sufficient proof that meditation improves stress management, sleep management, decisionmaking, emotional intelligence and relationship-building. Meditation has been shown to improve individual well-being, and this in turn positively impacts communities and society in general. With the help of Transmission, Heartfulness accelerates this process of transformation by positively altering various brainwave frequencies associated with individual consciousness.

These states of consciousness are experienced every day by all of us, and can also be measured with an encephalogram (EEG), which is a test that detects electrical activity in the brain. Our brain cells communicate via electrical impulses and are active all the time, even when we are asleep. An EEG detects changes in brain activity. Brainwaves keep changing all the time based on how fast we are thinking. The faster the thinking, the more activity in the mind, and the higher the frequency of brainwaves. For example, when children have never-ending questions, the frequency can be very high. Here is a common categorization of the different types of brainwaves:

  1. The alert, wakeful states are characterized by brainwaves of higher frequencies:Gamma waves, 31-120 Hertz, occur with hyper brain activity such as learning and problem solving.

    Beta waves, 13-30 Hertz, occur when we are active in conversation and other activities.

    Alpha waves, 8-12 Hertz, occur when we are relaxed, contemplative, absorbed in a beautiful piece of music or when we are starting to meditate.

  2. The dream state is characterized by Theta waves, 4-7 Hertz, and occurs when we are drowsy and drifting into sleep and dreams, as well as in deep subconscious states of meditation.
  3. The deep sleep state is characterized by Delta waves, 0.5-3 Hertz and also in the deepest states of meditation.

In the waking states, consciousness moves outward in search of knowledge, whereas when the brainwave frequencies slow down, it indicates that we are turning inwards and moving into deeper states of consciousness. The consciousness of the dream state is between the waking and deep sleep state. It is related to the inner world, the inner realms of the mind. In the deep sleep state, consciousness gravitates towards its Source, the soul.

In research studies, meditators experience Delta frequencies, normally found during deep sleep, the dream-like Theta frequencies, the relaxed Alpha states, and high-frequency Gamma brainwaves, in patterns not normally associated with wakeful states. In fact, for yogis who meditate regularly, Gamma oscillations are found to be much more common and significantly greater in amplitude than those who do not. So the spectrum of brainwave frequencies expands in both directions as a result of meditation.

TerraBlue XT has been studying the effects of Heartfulness practices on the Autonomic Nervous System of trained practitioners, as well as on newcomers to the practices, for the last few years, using the company’s wearable medical detection device. Here are some of the findings:

“Heartfulness Meditation has a balancing effect on the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). Our studies on experienced practitioners have shown that Heartfulness practices enable them to exert great control over their ANS, leading to a better ability to manage stress and maintain homeostasis, that is, the state of balance, for greater lengths of time.

“The ANS is ‘a component of the peripheral nervous system that regulates involuntary physiologic processes including heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, digestion, and sexual arousal. It contains three anatomically distinct divisions: sympathetic, parasympathetic and enteric.’1

“Activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) leads to a state of overall elevated activity and attention, known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. The SNS is known to be the inducer of stress response in the human system. The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), on the other hand, promotes the ‘rest and digest’ processes, helping restore the body to a state of calm.

“Heartfulness Meditation has been shown to increase the parasympathetic tone in practitioners and decrease sympathetic activation, leading to sustained levels of calmness

“Our combined study of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and Electrodermal Activity (EDA) provided useful insights about the physical and emotional states of individuals, especially in respect to their ANS.

“Some of the results are given here:

  1. It takes between 2 to 5 minutes for an experienced practitioner to attain a state of calmness. We have seen newcomers also attain such states quickly, but they are not able to hold the states for longer durations, whereas the practitioners can.
  2. A calming state of body and mind can be induced via meditative practices like Heartfulness Meditation. All participating trainers and meditators in one study showed increased heart rate variability and decreased mental excitability, as indicated by their decrease in skin conductance response (SCR), an important component of electrodermal activity (EDA). The SCR is proportionally related to the number of sweat glands that are activated, meaning in essence that the more emotionally aroused an individual is the more the SCR amount is increased. It can also be inferred that the SCR amplitude is a suitable proxy of sympathetic nervous system activity.
  3. During deep meditation, experienced practitioners demonstrate a decrease in their sudomotor nerve activity (SMNA). SMNA is known to reflect sympathetic activity and to provide insight into postganglionic autonomous innervation
  4. Heartfulness Meditation leads to increase in Total Power (TP) of the heart, a component of frequency domain of HRV. This indicates better physiological and emotional regulation and adaptation.
  5. Transmission shows a positive impact even on newcomers. In one study, High Frequency (HF) Power of the heart in the newcomers’ group showed most statistical significance during Transmission, compared to controls. This increase in HF indicates a shift in sympatho-vagal balance toward the parasympathetic side, implying a relaxed state of body and mind. It also led to lowering of the Low Frequency (LF) Power of the heart, indicating a decrease in stress response.”

Even if you have never meditated in your life, when you are exposed to Heartfulness Meditation with Transmission, your consciousness expands so that your body becomes fully relaxed, while your mind has heightened awareness and perception. You are not sleeping, but you are so relaxed that it is as rejuvenating as deep sleep.

And then you learn to take this same condition out into daily life with eyes open. The day will arrive when you will carry that deep meditative state with you all the time.