The following is a series of answers to questions I had when I heard about the Ajna light and the claims about its potential effects.
The questions will mirror my journey, first as a beginner and then get deeper as my time on the light and curiosity developed. (I have spent well over 15 hours using the device across 25 sessions at this point.)
WHAT IS THE AJNA LIGHT AND HOW WOULD I USE IT?
You lie with closed eyes underneath the flashing LED lights with headphones playing relaxing music. According to its creator Guy Harriman, the light can entrain your brain waves to access certain frequencies which correlate to deeper or higher states of consciousness.
I did my Ajna light sessions at Yue Float in London.
WHY SHOULD I USE THE AJNA LIGHT?
If the light can change the quality of your mind via the different frequencies, then your direct life experience can potentially be changed as well. I was intrigued by this possibility. Creativity, bliss or rejuvenation on demand? The implications of this are profound.
As a human being you are functioning in and as your mind. The quality of the rest of your day will be entirely determined by the quality of your mind.
Sam Harris, Waking Up
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT BRAINWAVE STATES AND WHY WOULD I WANT TO ENTRAIN THEM?
Most people are in the ‘Beta 12–30Hz’ brainwave state of consciousness the majority of the time. This is in the middle of the range. By moving deeper one is likely to experience more stillness and relaxation, by moving higher one can potentially gain access to more intense and stimulating states of mind. The most healthy, powerful minds have access to all of these frequencies and move between the optimal depending on the situation.
Delta (deepest frequency)
Deep physical restoration of body
Connection to the unconscious mind
States of empathy
Should be avoided if you have ADD or ADHD
Your brain is in this state when it’s in the deepest and most restorative phase of sleep. Advanced healing of body and mind occurs during this period and it’s where the unconscious mind and intuition are born from. Extreme bliss and states of empathy are experienced when the mind is awake and aware that it’s in this state.
Drifting into sleep
Powerful creativity and insight
As you are falling into sleep your brain accesses this frequency and moves in and out of it throughout the night. Vivid visualisations are often experienced. Theta is the state that is often stimulated by meditation and is naturally accessed more frequently by creative people. REM sleep (the part where you dream) happens here.
Bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind
Stress and anxiety reduction
Blissful states of mind
This is the stage where you can program your mind happening just before you wake up or fall asleep. After much experimentation, this became my preferred setting. The sense of letting go and lucidity was combined with heightened sense of awareness throughout my body and I reliably left the sessions feeling relaxed and focussed.
12 – 30Hz
This is an important frequency to understand at the beginning of an Ajna journey.
A healthy balance between the brainwave states is key. In the West, a large proportion of society is overworked. This results in the brain being in a Beta brainwave state too much. This leads to an unhealthy amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) being released into the body, an inability to turn off the mind, sleeping disorders and eventually more serious conditions. Increasing Beta waves in these individuals can make their symptoms worse.
Having acknowledged the above, in healthy balance, Beta waves can provide the following benefits:
Enhancement of language and reading skills
Effective treatment against ADD
Improved learning and short term memory
Bliss and compassion
This is the state of hyper brain activity, great for learning and Gamma waves are associated with the formation of ideas, language, memory processing. For me it felt like consuming high quality caffeine – gives great stimulation and focus for several hours but it’s using a lot of brain energy. At the end of the day I needed a good nights sleep after an intense Gamma session.
Profound levels of insight
Personal original creative problem solving
Mystical out-of-body experiences
High degree of self-awareness
This is reportedly the state that monks can get into after years of meditation. I tried this on the ‘pure’ setting – 20 minutes of only Lambda using binaural beats on the headphones at a matching frequency and found it to be too much. I left feeling disoriented.
IF I’M A BEGINNER WHAT SHOULD I START WITH?
Use the Schumann setting for 15 mins to see how you feel (this moves between Theta, Delta and Gamma frequencies). Every body is different and optimal dosage will vary. Some people come out feeling 15 mins is enough whilst others need 30 mins or longer. ‘More’ is not better. The real changes for me started after about six sessions of 30 mins+.
I experimented with the light intensity ranging between 7-20% and found 12% to be optimal for me. (If you’re Asian you will potentially be more light sensitive so start with 7%.)
I have a demanding job in a capital city and find my mind racing sometimes, so I found the relaxing Alpha and Theta settings the most beneficial to start with. If you have any trouble sleeping, then start with the creators’ default setting of Alpha for 15 mins and build from there.
WHAT SHOULD I USE IT FOR?
It depends what your goals are. I experimented with using it in the early morning before work to energise me for the day and specified my own custom settings.
Use 30 mins ‘Theta – Gamma – Theta’ if you want to feel in the zone. Theta acted like my ‘gateway drug’. It put me in a relaxed and receptive state of mind to entertain the Gamma mid point which is highly stimulating (and felt like too much in a pure dose). Using Theta on exit also helped to smooth the edges of the experience.
Alternatively, it can drop you into very peaceful brainwave states which can put you in a very calm place before bed and aid deeper sleep.
Doing 30 mins of ‘Theta – Delta – Theta’ put me in a relaxed state, the nearer to bedtime the better. (During my experimentation phase I did 60 minutes of Delta before work which was deeply relaxing at the time, but left me gazing into space and unable to follow a conversation for hours afterwards – which I would not recommend if you’re trying to make a positive impression!)
Theta is the state of deep meditation and the Alpha state accessed just before it forms the bridge to your unconscious mind. I found formulating a question about a particular problem before going into a default Theta session frequency would often result in solutions I hadn’t previously thought of.
This had a gestation period – sometimes it would take several hours after the session before the idea would come (see the ‘potential placebo’ comment at the end of this section).
WHAT IS THE BEST STRATEGY FOR SOMEONE WHO IS STRESSED?
Train your brain to access the Alpha frequency. It bridges the mind to its unconscious state which opens up communication again and allows an intuitive awareness to reset the system and recharge by accessing more Alpha and Theta waves naturally.
ISN’T IT ALL JUST PLACEBO?!
I have experienced some powerful states using the light which I have rarely encountered by other means.
It could be that by reading the proposed effects (see the reported benefits of different brainwave states above) it then primes your brain to experience them, or think it has. I was skeptical going in, but felt a noticeable difference before and after in almost every session using the light.
If it was placebo, then entertaining this possibility didn’t reduce the desirable effects the light was having.
WHAT’S THE CREATORS’ BACKGROUND?
Guy Harriman used to work with Steve Jobs at NeXt computers, then Cisco as a chip engineer. He then retired from the corporate world to become a monk and opened a wellness centre in Chang Mai, Thailand.
He created the Ajna light after experiencing the Lucia light (a similar product) and realised its healing potential in a more efficient design.
HOW CAN I ENHANCE THE EFFECTS OF THE LIGHT?
I experimented with different techniques whilst under the light.
The most effective for me was five deep breaths, followed by holding the breath for seven seconds and repeating this as a continuous cycle during the session.
This intensified the light patterns and increased the likelihood of more vivid experiences.
I found the further away the frequency from the Beta baseline, the more of a challenge it was for my mind to achieve. Jumping straight in to Lambda for example was too much too soon. The mind is a sensitive instrument and should be approached the same way as the body in the gym – with gradual and increasing challenge moving from gentle to intensive.
I should note here that when I refer to using ‘Theta’ for example, I was using the creators’ setting of Theta which is actually a mix of frequencies with Theta as the dominant character. The frequencies then combine and synergise. I found using ‘pure’ setttings of 100% of a single frequency to be less effective. As a result using binaural beats on the headphones was not appropriate because these entrain one specific frequency and they wouldn’t match the fluctuation provided by the default settings.
Experiment with different tracks and find one you resonate with and then use it consistently. This formed a trigger in my mind that whenever I heard the piece of music, my mind was primed for a light experience.
In conclusion, I think the light is a powerful tool for energisation, relaxation and creative insight. A deeper exploration of using the light in combination with other techniques is coming soon.