For several years now, readers have been asking if I could recommend any good meditation or relaxation CDs. Unfortunately, most of the guided meditations I own are only so-so, so I couldn't offer much of a recommendation.
During the summer of 2006, however, I had my first encounter with Paraliminals. They're unlike any other meditation CDs I've tried, and they've produced many tangible benefits for me beyond the temporary relaxation effect.
First I'll explain what Paraliminals are and exactly how they work. Then I'll share my personal results with them over the past 3 months.
Perhaps you're familiar with subliminal audio programs, which contain hidden messages below the threshold of conscious awareness. I've listened to many subliminal audio programs over the years, and I can't say any have had much value. Paraliminals, however, are something entirely different -- despite the similar sounding name, Paraliminals don't include subliminal messages at all.
When you listen to a Paraliminal session, you hear two distinct voices -- one in each ear. To get the desired effect, you have to listen with stereo headphones, but since these are relaxing, meditative programs, you won't be listening while driving a car anyway.
Each ear receives a unique message tailored to a different hemisphere of the brain. Rather than a series of repetitive affirmations, the messages are intricate and valuable in themselves. They include instruction, advice, and creative visualization exercises.
You might think that listening to two different voices at once would be confusing or overwhelming. But the way it's done is actually very relaxing. The Paraliminals don't begin with both voices immediately. First you're led through a few minutes of relaxation with music and nature sounds. By the time the second voice kicks in and the two voices split into separate stereo channels, you're already in a state of deep relaxation. Also, the voices typically alternate phrases from one ear to another. When they overlap it's only for a few seconds at most. You needn't try to follow the two voices simultaneously. Just zone out and let the information and ideas passively flow through your consciousness.
A typical Paraliminal session is about 20 minutes. Some are longer, some shorter. Many of the Paraliminal CDs include two separate programs -- an A program and a B program -- so that provides some additional variety.
Each Paraliminal CD has a particular theme based on some aspect of personal development, such as overcoming procrastination, improving your memory, breaking addictions, conditioning new habits, improving relationships, attracting financial abundance, and so on.
Here's the complete list of Paraliminal CDs:
I own the complete collection, and I've listened to most of the CDs multiple times. With the possible exception of Smoke-Free (if you don't smoke) and perhaps Ideal Weight (if you already maintain your ideal weight), all the Paraliminals are universal and should appeal to anyone. My personal favorites are Deep Relaxation, Automatic Pilot, Belief, Prosperity, Perfect Health, and Get Around To It. My #1 favorite is Belief, which I've heard more than a dozen times.
Every Paraliminal includes Centerpointe Research Institute's trademark Holosync technology. Centerpointe is known for its enormously popular meditation CDs, and Holosync is the reason. Holosync employs a technique called binaural beats, which were first discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove. Here's how it works:
When you hear a different frequency tone in each ear, your brain will actually perceive two other "phantom" frequencies which are the average and the difference of the two original frequencies. For example, a 500 Hz sound in one ear and a 510 Hz sound in the other ear will cause you to perceive a 505 Hz tone that pulses 10 times per second. This happens normally in nature when two sound waves of different frequencies interact, but the human brain also produces this effect internally, even when each sound is isolated to a single ear. If the two sounds are close enough in frequency, the brain will produce these binaural beats. Under the right frequency and volume conditions, you'll be able to perceive them consciously, so it isn't merely a subliminal effect.
What's interesting about binaural beats is that they can supposedly "entrain" brainwave patterns, meaning that your brainwaves will synchronize with the beats if the beats fall within a certain range. So by manipulating the individual sound frequencies in each ear, binaural beats can automatically adjust your brainwave patterns to "dial in" to a certain frequency and stay there. This effect happens automatically and doesn't require conscious effort.
Various brain frequencies are associated with different states of consciousness, including beta, alpha, theta, and delta. Beta is your normal waking state. Delta is the stage of deep, dreamless sleep. Alpha and theta are states of deep relaxation where improved concentration, memory, and creativity are commonly experienced -- they're also states associated with dreaming. I'm not privy to the exact frequency settings used by Holosync's binaural beats, but I have to imagine they target somewhere in the alpha-theta range.
Now the theory is all well and good, but if you've been reading my site for a while, you know I don't put much faith in theories unless I test them personally. So does it actually work? For me that's a definite yes, and many others have reported positive results with Holosync-embedded audio programs as well. I've regularly listened to guided meditations since 1991, and I have a large collection of cassette tapes, CDs, and MP3s. But this is the first time I've tried anything with Holosync technology, and I was amazed at how effective it is. I've listened to the Paraliminals dozens of times now, and without a single exception, they've always put me into a deeply relaxed, meditative state within the first few minutes. It doesn't matter if I'm really keyed up when I begin, if I'm distracted, or if I don't pay attention to what I'm hearing -- they've worked every single time. I've never experienced a guided meditation that was so consistent in its effect.
Usually I don't even notice the binaural beats because they're blended with music and nature sounds. If I intentionally listen out for them, I can sometimes detect them, but mostly I just focus on the narrating voice or zone out completely.
The first Paraliminal I listened to (in August) was Deep Relaxation. The title is certainly accurate. After listening to this CD, I felt extremely peaceful and relaxed without feeling drowsy. I later discovered that all of the Paraliminal CDs I listened to are extremely relaxing -- I think that's a natural consequence of the Holosync technology.
The best part is that the relaxation effect is entirely passive. You don't have to go through complex deep-breathing rituals or long-winded visualization exercises to enter a state of deep relaxation. You can just zone out and let the binaural beats work their magic. I must admit to being a little annoyed for not having discovered this sooner -- it makes the meditation audio collection I've built over the past 15 years seem a lot less exciting.
After listening to Paraliminals regularly since August (at least 5 sessions per week), I primarily think of them as a mental reboot. When I'm feeling drained or tired, a 20-minute Paraliminal session refreshes me more than a 20-minute power nap. The Paraliminals are more consistent because they work every time, whereas with a nap I sometimes wake up groggy or don't fall asleep if I'm too keyed up.
When I finish a Paraliminals session, I feel very relaxed but not sleepy. Most of the time, I feel alert and wide awake as soon as the session ends. But sometimes I'm not fully alert yet at the end of a session because I'm still coming back up. In that case I just take a deep breath and stretch for a few seconds, and full alertness returns within the minute. It's similar to coming out of a hypnosis session -- I need a moment to regain full awareness of my body and my surroundings. After that I feel well-rested and wide awake.
As you may already know, I'm not a daily caffeine consumer. I used to drink several cups of coffee a day, but I kicked the habit a long time ago because I found that caffeine made me too jittery and unfocused. When I drink coffee, my activity level soars -- I barrel through tasks in rapid succession. But at the end of the day, I have to admit I didn't accomplish anything of major value. Caffeine causes me to overload on busywork like email, web surfing, socializing, and other unproductive tasks.
Despite the negative side effects, I still missed the action boost that caffeine gave me. My best substitutes until now were a power nap, a brisk walk, some calisthenics like push-ups, listening to music, or a rapid Tony Robbins-esque physiology change. Those are all semi-effective pick-me-ups, but aside from the power nap, the effects are too short-lived, sometimes just a few of minutes.
Paraliminals have done a beautiful job of filling this void. After every session I enjoy a lingering aftereffect that usually lasts a couple hours. The Paraliminals provide a noticeable concentration boost that allows me to steadily flow through my work while still maintaining my priorities -- that delightful state of flow.
For me this effect translates directly into practical, down-to-earth results. During a period of a few weeks when I used Paraliminals once or twice a day, I completed several key projects that required a lot of focus and concentration, definitely much faster and at a higher level of quality than I would have otherwise. The most visible of these was the launch of the new discussion forums, which have been a huge success. Most people didn't see the behind-the-scenes work required to coordinate the launch with 30 volunteer moderators.
Whenever I notice myself feeling too keyed up, stressed, distracted, lazy, or unfocused during my workday, I now take a 20-minute break for a Paraliminals session. Invariably I'm able to return to work with a high level of energy, focus, and concentration. I'm hard pressed to think of a better way to spend a 20-minute break, assuming I plan to return to work afterwards.
If you're in a situation like me where your real-world results depend heavily on your ability to focus on priorities and concentrate for extended periods of time without succumbing to distractions, I think you'll find Paraliminals an immensely valuable tool.
Our beliefs have a powerful impact on our lives. If you can get yourself to believe you'll perform well, lose weight, increase your income, overcome procrastination, and so on, you'll find a way to make it happen if it's within your human capacity to do so. This is the level where I think Paraliminals work best. With repeated listenings they condition you to believe you'll succeed, which ultimately creates a positive self-fulfilling prophecy.
Since I know many people will be interested in trying Paraliminals, I arranged a special discount with Learning Strategies Corporation for StevePavlina.com visitors.
Normally the individual Paraliminals CDs sell for $29.95 each, and the Complete Ultimate You Library is $809.40. Fortunately, you can get a much better deal here.
With this discount you can get the Complete Ultimate You Library for 12 payments of $40, which saves you $329.40 off the original bundle price and $658.10 off the individual Paraliminal price.
If you'd like to try Paraliminals for yourself, Just visit the Learning Strategies web site for complete ordering details.
Just so there's no risk to you, you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee. Try all the Paraliminals you want for 30 days, and if you don't find them effective, just return them for a full product refund. I think you'll be convinced of their value after your first listening session.
I own the Complete Ultimate You Library. What I like about having the whole collection is that in any particular week, I can focus on a handful of Paraliminals that fit my current challenges.
In addition to impressing me, which is not remotely easy if you consider the low success ratio I have when evaluating products, Paraliminals have also been recommended and endorsed by Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, and even Grammy winner Chaka Khan. After 3 months of regular listening, I'm still doing 5-10 Paraliminal sessions per week. I grabbed an old iPod Nano I wasn't using and stuffed it with the Complete Ultimate You Library, so now I use that iPod as my dedicated Paraliminals listening device.
Want more information about Paraliminals? Download the 15-page PDF booklet to learn more. If you don't have time to read the PDF now, you can print it out for later.
Even after years of regular usage, I feel like I'm just scratching the surface of Paraliminals' potential. It's wonderful to see myself hitting a new level of performance with so little effort, an experience which takes some getting used to. I don't believe Paraliminals are a substitute for hard work by any means, but I do believe they're an effective performance enhancer that can help you draw upon untapped inner resources. I expect to be listening to these CDs for years to come -- the concentration boost I enjoy after each session is reason enough. It's rare I encounter a product I like as much as this one, so I hope you'll take the opportunity to see what Paraliminals can do for you.