How to Change Your Thinking Patterns With Meditation

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Becoming Supernatural" by Joe Dispenza. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you often get stuck in unhelpful or self-sabotaging thinking patterns? How can you train your brain to think more positively and productively?

According to Joe Dispenza, the author of Becoming Supernatural, the key to changing your thinking lies in rewiring your brain waves. The most effective way to do that, writes Dispenza, is through meditation.  Specifically, you need to slow down your brain waves to the lower-end frequencies.

Here’s how to change your thinking patterns using brain wave meditation.

Changing Your Brain Waves Changes Your Mind

In his book Becoming Supernatural, Dispenza explains how to change your thinking patterns by practicing brain wave meditation. He explains that brainwave frequencies include the following:

  • Beta waves: In your regular, waking consciousness your brain tends to be in a beta wave state most of the time. This can include:
    • Low-range beta waves: when you’re relaxed and not perceiving any threat in your environment, but you’re still alert—for example, when you’re chatting with a friend or playing with your child.
    • Mid-range beta waves: a more alert state when you’re slightly aroused but not terribly stressed—for example, when you’re driving in an unfamiliar city or doing a presentation at work.
    • High-range beta waves: when you’re in a high-stress state, such as road rage or in fear because you feel threatened.
  • Alpha waves: Your brain is in an alpha wave state when you’re very relaxed, calm, and creative. You may slip into alpha-wave states throughout your day if you engage in meditative or creative practices that allow you to get out of your thoughts and into a calm “flow” state.
  • Theta waves: your brain slips into a theta-wave state when you’re in that zone between waking and sleep—or when you’re in deep meditation.
  • Delta waves: This is the brainwave state you’re in when you’re asleep, but very adept meditation practitioners can also go into delta-wave states while awake. 
  • Gamma waves: Dispenza calls this brainwave state a “superconscious” state. It’s a state associated with intense focus and transcendental and mystical experiences.

Dispenza explains that to tap into your subconscious mind, you must train your brain through meditative practices to drop into the lower-frequency brainwave states. This is because those are the states in which you access your deepest subconscious programming. He says when your brain waves change from beta to alpha, theta, and delta, your autonomic nervous system reacts differently to the world. Rather than responding to the world with stress and fear, it responds in a healthy way, which will keep you from responding to life through the lens of the past. 

Additionally, Dispenza says that meditation improves the coherence of your brain waves, meaning they go from being disorganized and inconsistent to moving in a more smooth and harmonious pattern. 

Meditation Can Be Transformational

In terms of frequency, gamma brain waves are the highest-frequency wave, followed by beta, alpha, theta, and delta (the lowest-frequency wave). Most people only ever experience brief fleeting moments of gamma waves, lasting less than a second—for example when you have a momentary experience of blissful surprise, like the first bite of a delicious food. But some very experienced meditators have been shown to stay in gamma-wave patterns throughout their whole day. This indicates that they exist perpetually in a different state of consciousness than the average person. 

In their book Altered Traits, psychologist Daniel Goleman and neuroscientist Richard J. Davidson discuss their experimentation on what they call “Olympic-level meditators,” which shows that this kind of high-level meditation is fundamentally transformational. Such meditators show little experience of fear or pain and greatly increased levels of compassion and empathy. However, they also note that the meditative practices of most ordinary people, while still helpful for reducing stress and increasing compassion, have much less profound effects on the brain. 

Meditation for Changing Your Brain Waves 

To change your brain waves, Dispenza suggests a meditation that has you focus your attention on the various parts of your body, one at a time. Even more importantly, though, he says as you focus on each body part, you should also try to become aware of the space that surrounds those body parts. As your attention moves throughout your body, and to the space around it, you then start to become more aware of all the space surrounding you—from the space directly around your body, to the space of the whole room, and outward to the whole universe. This puts you in a mindset where you become aware of yourself as a part of the whole, and it will shift your brain waves from beta to alpha and theta-wave patterns. Dispenza offers the more detailed guided meditation on his website.

By practicing this meditation regularly, Dispenza says you’ll begin to feel all the potential that exists in the universe, and your energy becomes aligned with the universal energy. This means you’re tapping into and attracting that vast energetic potential in the universe, and you’ll begin to attract everything you desire. 

(Shortform note: In his book Inner Engineering, yoga guru Sadhguru says everything in nature has the purpose of reaching its fullest potential, and all other life forms, from algae to spiders to ravens, do everything in their power to become the fullest expression of what they’re meant to be. Humans are the only creature that falls short of its potential. He says when you practice yoga, which is tightly connected to meditation, your body is like an antenna that can connect to the vast energy in the universe and is therefore the mechanism for giving that seed of potential within you the right conditions to grow into what you’re meant to be.)

How to Change Your Thinking Patterns With Meditation

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Here's what you'll find in our full Becoming Supernatural summary:

  • How to use the power of your thoughts to transform your physical reality
  • Why you may be trapped in a vicious cycle of negativity
  • A unique meditation method you can use to reprogram your subconscious

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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