FEATURE - May 2019
Binaural Beats to Get Your Muse Singing
by Angela Yuriko Smith
Deadline approaches, and the screen is blank. You place your fingers on the keyboard, but your mind is also blank. All you can think of is another coffee and the laundry that waits. Where is the muse?
The third email has just popped in your inbox asking for a sneak peek at the painting you’ve been commissioned to do. You glance at the photograph of the beloved pet you’re supposed to immortalize and then back at the canvas. So far all you’ve managed to capture is a lot of nothing. Where is the muse?
You have three chords set, but hardly enough to put all the words you’ve been given to music. You strum aimlessly as you stare out the window. Nothing is coming except the mail, which proves to be just enough distraction to pull you away for a few hours. Where is the muse?
Know that you're not alone in these moments. All creatives at one time or another have experienced a lack of production due to an absence of ideas. It’s a frustrating, humiliating experience to have the opportunity but not the creative energy to take advantage of it.
Reasons for blocked creativity can range from the physical and metaphysical to the emotional and spiritual. For every reason we have to create, there seems to be five reasons to put it off. From the mundane day-to-day tasks that require our attention to deep rooted emotional damage, anything that keeps us from expressing ourselves creatively can be detrimental to our growth. It’s vital for our well-being to overcome obstacles and create in spite of it all.
Emotional roadblocks are a leading cause of creative distress. Before I learned to identify and overcome these energy sappers, I sometimes found myself one sentence into an article I needed to finish with no words to fill the page. Fortunately, there are many ways to get through your creative blocks and move on. Once you have found a few effective ways to woo your muse, you’ll find yourself achieving more than you ever thought possible.
Hypnotherapy, counseling and meditation have all helped me to overcome emotional blockages, but I find personal meditation to be the most effective in removing creative hurdles. It’s also the easiest, requiring no appointments or preparation. After a meditative session, I always find that I can identify why I was unable to continue a project and move beyond it.
I’ve found binaural beat compositions to be particularly helpful when meditating for creativity. Binaural music is an auditory illusion created when two similar frequencies of sound are played into each ear. Our brain perceives the two similar frequencies as pulses or beats.
The superior olivary complex, located in the brainstem, is the part of our brain that identifies the direction of sound. When it perceives two similar frequencies, it responds by synchronizing neural activity. This synchronization is called entrainment.
Simply put, when the brain hears certain binaural frequencies, it realigns and smooths the path for all synapses to start firing in a synchronized fashion. The type of binaural beat you listen to depends on what activity you seek to synchronize. There are four different types of brain waves that we understand:
Delta Waves are associated with deep sleep, meditation, astral projection and healing.
Theta Waves are associated with dreaming, accessing the subconscious, intuition, and creativity.
Alpha Waves are the conscious mind at rest. Alphas are associated with coordinating, categorizing, and calculations.
Beta Waves are the next step up and are associated with active thinking, complex problem solving, and excitement.
Gamma Waves, a fifth type, are still not entirely understood. General thought is that they link the different functions of the brain and are involved in self awareness and spirituality.
To align your creativity and bring it into hyperdrive, binaural beats that activate the Theta Waves are the most beneficial. To use them, all you need is a set of headphones, a place to be comfortable, and 15-30 minutes.
Simply select your binaural beat composition and how you want to listen to it. Put your headphones on, relax, and let your brain get a realignment. I have a friend who enjoys a binaural session in the bathtub complete with candles, incense, and aromatherapy oils. My sessions are much simpler. I relax in my office chair and simply listen. Since I listen to prep myself for writing, I prefer to be in a position where I can launch straight into work when finished.
A favorite composition of mine is pure binaural beat with no other sounds called “1hr Theta Binaural Beat Session (7hz) ~ Pure” on YouTube. It’s a solid hour of Theta enhancing tones. Do use headphones since binaural beats depend on the ear hearing the difference in frequency between the left and the right to be effective.
Binaural beats can be used in conjunction with an established meditation practice or to start one. It’s important to have a distraction-free time set aside for this this activity as activities that require concentration will distract from it.
This article focuses on using binaural beats to enhance creativity, but there are many other reasons to implement this easy therapy into your day, including:
reducing stress and anxiety
increasing focus and concentration
increase motivation and confidence
Find binaural beats for free on YouTube or the Insight Timer app or purchase them from holistic venues that sell audio. Practice a half hour of this every day before you launch into your creative pursuits, and you will find your blocks have become history.
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Angela Yuriko Smith's work is published in print and online publications. Her first collection of poetry, "In Favor of Pain," was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award. All her books are available on Amazon. Currently, she publishes Space and Time magazine, a 52 year old publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction. For more information visit SpaceandTimeMagazine.com or AngelaYSmith.com.