Since the invention of the electroencephalogram (EEG) in the 1930’s, scientists have been able to measure the electrical activity of the brain. Our brain pulses and vibrates like everything else in the Universe.

Between our waking brain waves and sleeping brain waves, is a rhythmic flow known as Alpha Waves.… Alpha rhythms appear most frequently when our eyes are closed and the mind is in a quiet state of relaxation.

When our brain is in alpha rhythm, we become more aware of our intuitive feelings which is also the home of creativity and imagination. It happens when the critical censoring function performed by our rational conscious mind is “half asleep.” Thus when in alpha flow, our feelings and images can more easily pass through the “gate-keeper” of our rational consciousness, unaffected by judgment.

Scientists have shown that highly creative people who are less identified with social expectations have different brain waves from non-creative people. In order to have a creative inspiration, the mind needs to expand consciousness and therefore able to generate an intense flow of Alpha brain waves. The minds of creative people can generate more Alpha brain waves than most people, and do so when faced with problems to solve. Any time you have an insight or an inspiration, you know your mind just produced more Alpha waves than usual. Scientists have also shown in experiments, Buddhist monks in meditation also experience significant flow of Alpha brain waves…this has also been found true of athletes who are “in the zone”… and there are good reasons to believe it is also true in any activity when we we lose awareness of our self and time, and functioning in “autopilot” which is common to all “flow” experiences.

Alpha brain waves also occurs naturally as we are falling asleep or day dreaming, and is at its height when we first wake up. Concrete thoughts, physical activity, or light on the retina of the eye narrows consciousness and sends the brain out of alpha and into beta wave activity. Thus, the ideal time for exploring the intuitive mind in alpha flow occurs as we are falling asleep or as we are awakening.

It is said that Aristotle used to lie in bed with a ball in his hand so that when he would fall asleep the ball would drop and bang a copper plate below. The noise would wake him up, keeping him in a quasi state of sleep and consciousness. This is perhaps the time when he generated his best ideas and insights.

We can naturally enter the alpha flow when we are slowly and naturally wakening up. As we awaken, and just lie in bed and consciously allow our thoughts to free associate on topics of interest. This is particularly easy when we have no pressure to get out of bed, such as a weekend…and when we do not use an alarm clock to wake us up.