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Thread: Beginner questions

  1. Default Beginner questions

    Hello everyone,

    First timer here - received delivery of a Procyon AVS machine today
    and am looking forward to getting started.

    I've a question about how users of the machine have found it
    integrating with their meditation practice. I have practiced Annapana (breathing meditation) and Vipassana (concentrating on various parts of the body)and have found them beneficial. However, I've stopped practising for over 6 months now because I found that, for one reason or another,the practice left me anxious and uptight, and i couldn't sit for longer thana few minutes at a time - it became a chore.

    I'm hoping the Procyon helps with this. I guess I'm wondering just
    how the meditation sessions on the machine work - do you focus on
    the sights and sounds, or on your breathing/vipassana? Do the lights/sounds act as a distraction? Or is it better to use the machine to
    develop a meditative state, then return to your normal practice? Or can
    I discard previous methods and concentrate on the machine?

    Sorry if these questions have been asked before or if I've posted on the wrong forum.

    Great Forum by the way!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Otaki Beach, New Zealand

    Default Re: Beginner questions

    Hi Mack,

    Welcome, and I hope you get as much satisfaction from your Procyon as I have.

    There are almost certainly 'meditators' out there that can answer parts of your question better than I can, but I just thought I would share my take on it.

    Entrainment is essentially passive - if you do nothing other than look at/listen to a repetitive stimulus your brain will tend to increase wave amplitudes at the frequency of that stimulus.

    The value of this relies on research that has shown that the dominant brainwave frequencies vary with the activity the brain is engaged in. The theory is that this effect is reciprocal - that by encouraging dominance of a particular brainwave frequency, the brain will be more inclined to do the thing associated with that frequency.

    The activity of the various neurotransmitters (such as seratonin) varies with dominant brainwaves. Thus entrainment can be helpful with such things as depression and anxiety.

    As far as how to use it, I always aim for the 'seeing without looking and hearing without listening' state and (try to) guide my mind into thoughts relevant to what I'm aiming to achieve.

    Alpha, theta and delta frequencies are all used for different types of relaxation/meditation, and results will vary from individual to individual. Providing the basic warnings are observed, this technology is extremely safe - you can experiment to your heart's content.

    Have fun, and I'll look forward to hearing what works for you.


  3. Default Re: Beginner questions

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigT View Post
    'seeing without looking and hearing without listening'
    Many thanks for your response Craig,

    I only discovered the existence of 'Mind Machines'
    only a week ago, and was so impressed after a little
    bit of research that I decided to invest in one.

    'Seeing without looking and hearing without listening'
    totally makes sense. I've only used the machine twice
    at this stage, but both times I feel I've strained a little
    too much, having an idea in my mind of what I expected
    to see, rather than what I'm actually seeing/hearing.

    I'm guessing it takes a few sessions to get used to the
    Procyon. So far, I haven't noticed a lot of colours (I've
    been using the meditation sessions) or that there isn't
    a lot of intensity to them. I have turned the brightness
    levels down to a level I find comfortable; is there a way
    to adjust the intensity of the colours? Or should I continue
    to experiment and relax a bit more?

    Apologies for all the questions, but am a beginner to
    this technology and want to be sure I'm getting the best
    out of it.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Otaki Beach, New Zealand

    Default Re: Beginner questions

    Ambient lighting is a major factor in the effects that will be perceived. It seems, although closed eyelids make it hard to verify, that the iris functions just as usual with the eyes closed, so if you are viewing in a bright room, your eyes will be considerably 'stopped down', whereas, in a darkened room, they will be admitting all the light and that light will be exclusively Procyon.

    In a darkened room, Procyon at full, with my eyes gently closed, glasses poised slightly down my nose, enjoy a full spectrum from deep blues, through greens, to intense reds, with a variety of shapes and motion.

    Dimming the Procyon or using it in a normally lit room, I will tend to see reds and grays with a lot less movement.

    Moving the glasses closer to my eyes will result in another sort of patttern effect, due to the LED pattern becoming distinguishable. I prefer the glasses further back to give a more even field (ganzfeld) and leaving my mind to invent stuff.

    For relaxation/meditation type sessions I tend to have the intensity lower and not worry about how pretty it is, otherwise I find the startle response detracts from the effects.

    For visualisation, energy, etc, I really crank it up and sometimes put a sleep blackout mask over the outside of the glasses to block outside light.

    Most importantly, almost none of this actually matters in terms of results - as long as the repetitive flashing is perceptible, your brain will be doing its entrainment thing, it's mainly to keep you interested and amused enough to keep coming back for more that all the pretty stuff is necessary. (Leaving aside the secondary aspect of physiological/psychological effects of different colors).

    Basic precautions observed, it's all very safe, so just experiment until you find the ways that please you. Entrainment works, aesthetics/comfort is personal.

    Questions give me a reason to think about what I'm doing and why. It's good for me too.


  5. Default Re: Beginner questions

    Many thanks Craig,

    I'm continuing to experiment with the Procyon.

    For every session so far, I've had all of the lights off,
    For some reason, I'm not getting many colour effects,
    more just a general whiteness that pulses. But I'll
    continue to change intensity, move the glasses etc,
    see what happens.

    But as you say, none of that affects entrainment,
    and I am beginning to see some results; my meditation
    practice already feels deeper.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Beginner questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MackTheFinger View Post

    For every session so far, I've had all of the lights off,
    For some reason, I'm not getting many colour effects,
    more just a general whiteness that pulses. But I'll
    continue to change intensity, move the glasses etc,
    see what happens.
    You may also want to experiment with how tightly you close your eyes and where you position them. I found that if I am looking up, I see more white and there is a difference in what I see depending on how tightly I close my eyes.

    Marisa Broughton, MCHT, MNLP
    Canadian Distributor for Mindplace

    Hey, if someone makes a good post, don't forget to click at the bottom of their post to add to their reputation!

  7. Default Re: Beginner questions

    Hi Marisa,

    Yes, have adjusted my eyes, and keep them gently closed.
    Although I do occasionally open them just to see what
    colours I'm supposed to be seeing!

    I don't think its a major problem, as I have noticed
    my meditation practice becoming slightly deeper. So
    colours or not, it seems to be working!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Otaki Beach, New Zealand

    Default Re: Beginner questions

    You're obviously getting the benefit, but be aware, the moment you open your eyes to look at the LEDs your irises will close to accommodate the brighter light, and it will then be some time before they dark-adapt again.

    Vision uses two types of receptors - rods and cones. The rods are mainly for night-vision, very sensitive but color-blind. The cones, of which there are three types very, very roughly corresponding to red/green/blue, are much less sensitive - hence you'll note that you only see shades of grey at night.

    The brain also applies something akin to a digital camera's 'White Balance'. When the brain knows what color a thing should be, it shifts color perception to compensate for ambient light hue (color temperature), i.e. if the lighting is slightly blue, the brain will subtract blue to give a true white. This is how we can effectively judge colors under the many conditions we experience - morning, noon and evening light, incandescent, fluorescent or other artificial lights.

    What you see will depend a lot on all the relative brightnesses and what light conditions your eyes are needing to adapt from.


  9. Default Re: Beginner questions

    Many thanks Craig,

    All of this information is extremely useful.

    I should say that I do see colours, mostly when
    the segments change - its just
    that they quickly fade, and I'm left with a dull
    whiteness. I'll continue to use the machine,
    relax, and see what happens.

    On another note, I recall reading an excellant
    post, I think it was by Marisa, in response to
    a question. It basically described the different
    types of brain waves, and which sessions were
    best for different needs. The factory sessions
    description in the manual are a little bit light
    on description. For instance, I'm very groggy in
    the mornings, and need a flask of coffee before
    my eyes open. I'm wondering which programme would
    be best. I'll have to try and find that post.

    cheers again

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Otaki Beach, New Zealand

    Default Re: Beginner questions

    It's a pretty fascinating field alright. It's nice that you can choose to just plug in and enjoy, or find relevance in all manner of arts and sciences.

    As for Marisa's chart, if you haven't found it yet, she has reposted it in her last post on the 'Which machine" thread. That little document has been converted into what is without doubt my most used piece of paper.


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