The reader can easily find a lot of nonsense online about the alpha theta border. I don’t even bother to provide a link, although this page supports the fundamentals of the material here, as does the Wikipedia content addressing the subject. We don’t really understand the highest range of the brain wave frequencies, gamma, the range from 28 Hz (cycles per second) or so up to 100 Hz. Some believe that geniuses contemplating profound thought push higher frequencies. Others reject this.
Beta, 12 to 28 Hz, is the range associated with active, working thought. Most accept that higher frequencies imply greater concentration or complexity of the contemplation. Normal life during the day occurs in this range, whether you are reading, taking a math test, or giving a speech in Washington. We live with brains running at 12 to 28 Hz. We get tired eventually and have to sleep. Slowing down some more, we enter alpha, the range from 8 to 12 Hz.
We’re still awake but quite relaxed in alpha. The best analogy I’ve heard is that the transition from beta to alpha involves relinquishing management. We aren’t "handling anything" nor considering having to handle anything. While giving our speech to Congress or leading our seminar, we’re in beta. Speech over, seminar complete, we relax and go for a walk. We drop to alpha. While on the court, you’re in beta. When the game is over, you let your hair down and have a drink, think alpha. The body and sensory perceptions are still on. We are awake and see, hear, smell all incoming data. Sitting there relaxed, we hear the phone ring, and it’s a newspaper reporter. We rise to beta in milliseconds and get to work.
Beta is "game on" and alpha is "game over" but still awake. Slowing below alpha requires relinquishing what passes for control. Better said, slowing below alpha requires disconnecting from the external environment. The process occurs when going to sleep or performing very monotonous tasks, i.e. driving for hours on a freeway. We drop from 12 to 11 to 10. At about 8 we reach the threshold of ability to connect with the outside world. The brain starts shutting down the "five senses" and awareness of the physical body. We enter "la la land" and start dreaming.
We’re asleep but not asleep, awake but not awake. If we are falling asleep, the drop continues, and we dream as we fall from 7 to 6 to 5. When we hit 4 we enter delta and the brain shuts down even further. Dreaming stops, and although not flat line (that’s brain dead), we are no different from someone in a coma. No awareness of the passage of time occurs and we rejuvenate, refresh, and recharge. We still don’t really understand what happens, but the brain replenishes marvelously in delta. Delta provides the real fruit of sleep. A good night’s sleep is a chunk of time in delta.
Oversimplified but very close is the notion that delta is OFF, alpha is ON but idling, and beta is working. The range between off, delta, and on, alpha, provides interesting turf, known as theta. Deeper insight distinguishes what shuts down when as the frequency falls. As we drop below 8 Hz we close physical perception and the connection to the outside world, but we are still "awake" and recording memory. In theta, 4 to 8 Hz, the physical is down but the mental remains up. Brain cells previously handling a boatload of work are now free to do Something Else.
The implications are extraordinary.
In computer speak, we just freed up massive CPU and RAM, and we’re still running.
The plot thickens. Shifting gears, the earth is surrounded by a conductive ionosphere. Without diving into physics, the 65 mile gap between the surface of the planet and the ionosphere acts like a waveguide which has natural resonating frequencies. The lowest frequency (and highest intensity) of the resonance occurs at 7.83 Hz, called the Schumann Resonance.
Notice anything about that number? It sits right at the top of theta, where we are free of our bodies, free of the physical world, yet still mentally functional and not only functional, but more than functional with substantially more mental capacity than during the normal waking state. A brain at this frequency has the following situation:
All physical sensory perception and body sensations are shut down.
The ability to think, feel, dream, and record memories is in fact enhanced, not weakened.
The mind is resonating with the natural frequency between the earth and the ionosphere.
Normal people going to sleep just waltz down the frequency hall from beta to delta passing door 7.83 without stopping or looking. A certain set of folks, however, have brains wired a little too hot for their own good. Getting to sleep is difficult. That brain just doesn’t want to slow down. They toss and turn in bed thinking about the implications of black holes at the center of every galaxy and the fact that it isn’t just solid, liquid, and gas, but in fact above gas there is plasma, and damn it, why do we have to die and what is that about? Well, finally, certain folks do relax, but they go down that hall REAL SLOW.
10 Hz: Tossing turning, thinking about world events and evolution of consciousness.
9 Hz: Less movement and random associations of comfortable randomness
8.5 Hz: Ah, relief. Elvis gets to sleep tonight. Thank god. It’s about time.
8.0 Hz: La la land. The body is history. Associative thinking breaks down and concepts, emotions, thoughts or fragments of thoughts pass according to different rules.
7.83 Hz: THE BORDER. What’s this? Well, this is strangest dream I’ve ever had. Wait a minute? Is this a dream? I’m in a dream wondering if I am dreaming? If I am dreaming, why am I so functional and aware? If I am not dreaming, what is this?
Wait. Something’s coming.
At the border, one navigates with instruments that do not exist in beta, and most of the instruments that exist in beta are unavailable at the border. You think that’s air you’re breathing? In this context, what is movement, location, or proximity?
Got physics? Uh, no.
Like all items paranormal, an abundance of BS is available for sale. DVD’s, music, pills, whatever, can be purchased regarding the border. Buddhism. Chanting. Prayer. Yoga. Like the rest of reality, the truth involves hard work and no shortcuts.
By the way, if you think the border is safe, I can promise it is not. As the Sufi masters are known to say, every stick has two ends. I know someone institutionalized after a border event. 1993 was a border event, I promise.
Proceed with caution. Better yet, leave it alone.
If you reject my advice and manage to get there, know that upon your return you can kiss atheism and organized religion goodbye. In this context, we know nothing, nothing at all, except that there is something.
Humanity does not know where it came from. It does not know why it is here. It does not know where it is going.
There is something going on, but we don’t know what.