14. Learn the art of
Up to now, most points we've summarized are logical,
"left brain" activities. But to make use of the extraordinary powers of your
right brain and your subconscious, the real key to effective learning can be summed
up in two words: relaxed alertness - your state of mind, especially when you start any
We've already mentioned brainwaves. Now let's start to
put them to use. Your brain operates, like a television or radio station, on four main
frequencies or waves. We can measure them with an EEG machine (electro-encephalograph).
If you're wide awake and alert at the moment, or
if you're talking, making a speech or working out an involved problem in logic, your brain
is probably "transmitting" and "receiving" at 13 to 25 cycles per
second. Some call this the beta level.
But that's not the best state for stimulating your
long-term memory. Most of the main information you learn will be stored in your
subconscious mind. Many researchers and teachers believe that the vast bulk of information
is also best learned subconsciously. And the brainwave activity that links best with
the subconscious mind is at 8 to 12 cycles per second: alpha.
Says British accelerated learning innovator Colin Rose:
"This is the brain wave that characterizes relaxation and meditation, the state of
mind during which you daydream, let your imagination run. It is a state of relaxed
alertness that facilitates inspiration, fast assimilation of facts and heightened memory.
Alpha lets you reach your subconscious, and since your self-image is primarily in your
subconscious it is the only effective way to reach it."2
When you start getting sleepier - the twilight
zone between being fully awake and fully asleep - your brainwaves change to between 4 and 7
cycles per second: theta.
When you're fully into deep sleep, your brain is
operating at between .5 and 3 cycles per second: delta. Your breathing is deep,
your heartbeat slows and your blood pressure and body temperature drop.
And the impact of all this on learning and memory?
American accelerated learning pioneer Terry Wyler Webb says beta waves - the very fast
ones - are "useful for getting us through the day, but they inhibit access to the
deeper levels of the mind. Deeper levels are reached in the
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