Fantasty image of little baby flying a balloon

SEVERAL years back I was guest on a late night Auckland radio programme. The way it worked, each evening the host had two specialists in a particular field, and listeners called in with questions. This one night, as a teacher of alpha mind control, I was teamed with an eminent psychiatrist.

A woman caller. Big problem falling asleep — tosses and turns, often for hours, before finally cashing in the chips. She’d begun taking sleeping pills, prescribed by her GP, which put her under in minutes but would leave her groggy and slightly nauseous upon waking, a condition that often lasted through most of her day.

The shrink wisely advised the caller to quit the pills, apologetically adding that he had no real answer for her dilemma. Both then turned to me. Well, yeah, I have a solution, I said, but I had always presented it visually in the classroom, never just orally. Give it a shot, said the host, the psych eagerly nodding his assent.

Closing my eyes, I pictured myself at a blackboard, chalk in hand. Over the next few minutes I described the technique step by step as I illustrated it on the board in my mind.

Finished, eyes still closed, I asked whether the caller had grasped my explanation. She claimed she had, was anxious to have a go, thanked me and hung up.

I slowly opened my eyes and returned my visual sense to the radio studio. Alongside me, the host and shrink sat before their microphones, eyes clamped shut, heads bowed, nodding. The psych, in fact, was lightly snoring. My first thought: ah, talking the technique works. My second thought: people are listening to the show on their car radios while crossing the Harbour Bridge — arrgggh!

Quickly, now: name the two worst inventions of all time. All right, put away your Google-regurgitating smartphones, here’s the answer: 1) sleeping pills; 2) alarm clocks. One, because not only do they not induce true sleep, they actually rob you of such. Two, they interrupt your slumber at the wrong juncture of your natural sleep cycle, often jolting you awake.

Consider this bit of brain science: Your three pounds of gray matter, composed of trillions of neurons, is a remarkable computer, replete with electronic rhythms and wavelengths. Four of these brain waves run along a scale of cycles per second, known as hertz. Basically, zero to four hertz is a state of unconsciousness, of which little is known. This wave has been termed delta.

Four to seven – theta – is a sort of hypnagogic state, which all us hippies used to dabble in way back when we were popping those funny tasting sugar cubes.

Seven to 13 marks the alpha state, meditative, calm, at the same time alert and focused.

Thirteen and above is beta, the wakened state. The higher you register on the beta scale, the more nervous and anxious you very likely are, mind scattered all over the place.

True sleep runs through alpha, theta and delta – 13hz down to zero – and back up again, the journey taking around 90 minutes. You dream in alpha. That’s when you experience REM, or rapid eye movement.

Here are a couple of facts you might find interesting. Fact: REM sleep is as essential to your state of wellbeing as eating and breathing. Fact: So-called “sleeping pills” muck up your sleep pattern to the point where you skip the alpha state completely, rather plunge directly into delta, or unconsciousness. You would be better off lowering your head and running full-tilt into a wall. At least knocking yourself out through head-banging is organic.

At the other end of your night’s repose, unless you’re at the conclusion of the hour-and-a-half cycle when your alarm mechanism goes off (and the odds of that are slim), instead of a gentle, natural segue from one state of consciousness to another, you very well may enter your day like a deep-sea diver cannon-shot to the surface.

Which is where alpha mind control comes to the rescue. What follows are simple techniques using your brain’s own power to fall asleep and awaken naturally.
the sleep technique

You’re in bed, jammied-up, mud pack on your face, stocking cap firmly in place. Take a few long, slow, deep breaths and gently put aside the day just past, plus any other thoughts.

Eyes closed, draw a large, thick, black circle on the inner mind-scope with your imaginary finger.

Within the circle, draw an X covering the entire inside of the circle. Outside the circle, right on top, very slowly write, and silently pronounce as you write, the word Deeper. The word has lots of loops, so write it exaggeratedly slow, pronouncing it as you follow your finger’s movement: D e e e e p e r r.

Back to the magic circle, erase the X (careful not to wipe out any part of the circle) and slowly write the number 100, saying it to yourself as you do. Atop the original Deeper, again write, and subvocally pronounce, Deeeeeeeperrr.

Back to the circle, carefully erase 100 and slowly write, and pronounce, 99. And again, Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeperrr. Erase the 99 within the circle, and write-pronounce 98. And Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeperrrrrrr. Any geniuses reading this, who can guess the next step? Yep, just keep going. Unlike Lotto, no prize is awarded for any certain number.

You will notice I do not use the word sleep. The mind gremlins don’t want you to sleep, will throw everything at you short of Donald Trump riding a unicorn to keep you from dropping off. “Deeper” is a pleasant euphemism, one the nasties will let pass unnoticed and go on with their nightly Sudoku competition.

The wakeup technique

In bed, just prior to sleep, picture a large clock without a glass front, so you are able to touch the clock’s hands. Let’s say you wish to awaken at 6.15. Set the clock in your mind to the exact time it is now. (10.37, for example.)

Reach in with your imaginary finger and place it on the end of the minute hand. Begin to slowly turn the minute hand (the hour hand following along), reciting in the present tense as you continue to move the hand with your finger: “I am waking up at 6.15 … I am waking up at 6.15 … I am waking up at 6.15 … “ Do this until the clock does indeed read 6.15, at which point you visualise yourself awakening with a big smile and getting out of bed.

This last part is somewhat instrumental. How many students over the years have reported the technique worked perfectly. They awoke at the designated time, turned over and went back to sleep, woke again just past 11, got sacked for being late and forever after blamed the teacher (me). So the first few occasions you use the technique set an alarm clock at, say, 6.20 as backup until such time your brain computer becomes accustomed to doing it naturally.

The way this works is the technique actually organises your sleep cycle so that at the moment of 6.15, or whenever you set it to wake you, you are at the very end of a cycle and waking is natural and peaceful.

Now, here’s a question requiring at least two PhDs as well as off-the-charts IQ: if you wish to use both the sleep technique and the wakeup technique, which must you use first? Take your time.

By Barry Rosenberg