In this article, I am going to explain how to create binaural beats and how you can use them to enhance meditation. You most likely already know that different states of consciousness are associated with different brainwave frequencies. What you may not know is that by modulating brainwave activity, you can induce altered states of consciousness – and you can do this cheaply and easily, from the comfort of your own home. In fact, the only equipment you will need is a few audio files and a pair of headphones.
How to create binaural beats
Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, a physicist who lived in the nineteenth century, discovered that two tones of slightly different pitches played continuously – one to each ear – will cause the listener to experience a pulsing “beat” which corresponds to the different in pitch between the two sounds. Dove named this pulsing sound a binaural beat. To make this clearer to you, look at the following example:
Imagine that you put on your headphones, and through the right speaker you play a tone of around 10hz frequency (the frequency of a sound is just another word for its pitch). Through the left ear, you play a tone of around 15hz frequency – a pitch 5hz higher than the tone heard by the right ear. You will not hear two distinct tones – you will hear a single, pulsing tone, wavering between 10 and 15hz. This 5hz pulse is the binaural beat.
How to use binaural beats
Listening to binaural beats will cause the frequency of your brain activity to synchronise with that of the beat. For example, listening to tones of a 5hz difference in frequency (as in the example above) would cause a person's brainwaves to fall to around 5hz. This would induce a theta state (theta brainwaves being between 4 and 7hz) – a deep trance during which dreamlike visuals are likely to appear.
Binaural beats thus provide an effective way to induce altered states of consciousness by modulating brainwave activity. They are also an effective way to deepen trance and intensify meditative practices. You may be sceptical about these claims. However, perhaps the best thing about binaural beats is that you can try them out for yourself from the comfort of your own home. Why not download some binaural beat mp3s and try them out for yourself?
How to create binaural beats for free
Although there are so many cheap files out there that it is really not worth the effort of trying to make your own binaural beats, you can do so if you wish. You will need some synthesizer software, or some other way of generating two continuous tones. Simply play one tone through the left channel, and another tone through the right channel. Make the second tone deeper or higher than the first, by the number of hertz that you wish to entrain your brainwaves to.
For example, suppose to want to induce an alpha state. Alpha brainwaves have a frequency of 8 to 12hz, so the second tone will need to be 8 to 12hz deeper or higher pitched then the first tone. Then listen to the two tones through headphones. It is important to note that for the effect to work, the difference between the two tones must be less than 30hz, and neither tone can have a frequency of more than 1000hz.
Although this information is all that is needed for you to know how to create binaural beats for yourself, you may also need information on the correspondences between brainwave frequencies and states of consciousness. But that is information for another article.