Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00788R001700210016-5 DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
US ARMY OPERATIONAL GROUP US ARMY INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY COMMAND FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, MARYLAND 20755
9 June 1983
SUBJECT: Analysis and Assessment of Gateway Process
US Army Operational Group
Fort Meade, MD 20755
- You tasked me to provide an assessment of the Gateway Experience in terms of its mechanics and ultimate practicality. As I set out to fulfill that tasking it soon became clear that in order to assess the validity and practicality of the process I needed to do enough supporting research and analysis to fully understand how and why the process works. Frankly, sir, that proved to be an extremely involved and difficult business. Initially, based on conversations with a physician who took the Gateway training with me, I had recourse to the biomedical models developed by Itzhak Bentov to obtain information concerning the physical aspects of the process. Then i found it necessary to delve into various sources for information concerning quantum mechanics in order to be able to describe the nature and functioning of human consciousness. I had to be able to construct a scientifically valid and reasonably lucid model of how consciousness functions under the influence of the brain hemisphere synchronization technique employed by Gateway. Once this was done, the next step involved recourse to theoretical physics in order to explain the character of the time-space dimension and the means by which expanded human consciousness transcends it in achieving Gateway’s objectives. Finally I again found it necessary to use physics to bring the whole phenomenon of out-of-body states into the language of physical science to remove the stigma of its occult connotations, and put it in a frame of reference suited to objective assessment.
- I began the narrative by briefly profiling the fundamental, biomedical factors affecting such related techniques as hypnosis, biofeedback and transcendental meditation so that their objectives and mode of functioning could be compared in the reader’s mind with the Gateway experience as the model of its underlying mechanics was developed. Additionally, that introductory material is useful in supporting the conclusions of the paper. I indicate that at times these related techniques may provide useful entry points to accelerate movement into the Gateway Experience.
- Niels Bohr, the renowned physicist once responded to his son’s complaints about the obtuse nature of certain concepts in physics by saying: “You are not thinking, you are merely being logical.” The physics of altered human consciousness deals with some conceptualizations that are not easily grasped or visualized exclusively in the context of ordinary “left brain” linear thinking. So, to borrow Dr. Bohr’s mode of expression, parts of this paper will require not only logic but a touch of right brain intuitive insight to achieve a complete comfortable grasp of the concepts involved. Nevertheless, once that is done, I am confident that their construction and application will stand up to the test of rational critique.
- Paradoxically, having gone to such great lengths to avoid trying to render judgements based on an occult or dogmatic frame of reference in the end X found it necessary to return, at least briefly, to the question of the impact of the Gateway Experience on common belief systems. X did so because although it was essential to avoid attempting to render an assessment in the context of such systems, I felt that it was necessary after having completed the analysis to point out that the resulting conclusions do not do any violence to the fundamental mainstream of either eastern or western belief systems. Unless that point is clearly established, the danger exists that some people will reject the whole concept of the Gateway Experience in the mistaken belief that it contradicts and is therefore alien to all that they hold to be right and true.
- This study is certainly not designed to be the last word on the subject but I hope that the validity of its basic structure and of the fundamental concepts upon which it is based will make it a useful guide for other USAINSCOM personnel who are required to take the Gateway training or work with Gateway materials.
The Gateway Experience: Brain Hemisphere Synchronization in perspective.
- Introduction. In order to describe the Monroe Institute technique for achieving altered states of consciousness(the “Gateway Experience”) involving brain hemisphere synchronization or “Hemi-Sync”, the most effective way to begin is to briefly profile the basic mechanics which underlay operation of related methods such as hypnosis, transcendental meditation, and biofeedback. It is easiest to effectively describe what Gateway is by beginning with a short description of those associated techniques that share some common aspects with the Gateway Experience but which are nevertheless different. In this way we can develop a frame of reference at the outset which will provide useful concepts to explain and understand Gateway by comparison, as we proceed.
- Hypnosis. According to the theories of psychologist Ronald Stone and the biomedical engineering models of Itshak Bentov, hypnosis is basically a technique which permits acquisition of direct access to the sensory motor cortex and pleasure centers, and lower cerebral(emotional) portions(and associated pleasure centers) of the right side of the human brain following successful disengagement of the stimulus screening function of the left hemisphere of the brain. The left hemisphere of the brain is the self-cognitive, verbal and linear reasoning component of the mind. It fulfills the function of screening incoming stimuli by categorizing, assessing and assigning meaning prior to allowing passage to the right hemisphere of the mind. The right hemisphere, which functions as the noncritical, holistic, nonverbal and pattern-oriented component of the brain appears to accept what the left hemisphere passes to it without question. Consequently, if the left hemisphere can be distracted either through boredom or through reduction to a soporific, semi-sleep state, external stimuli to include hypnotic suggestions are allowed to pass unchallenged into the right hemisphere where they are accepted and acted upon directly. The result may involve an emotional reaction originating in the lower cerebral region, sensory/motor responses requiring involvement of the cortex, and so on. Both the sensory and the motor cortices of the right cerebral portion of the brain contain a sequence of points known as the “homunculus” which corresponds to points in the body(see Exhibit 1, next page). Stimulation of the corresponding area on the cortex causes intermediate response in the associated portion of the body. Consequently, induction of the suggestion that the left leg is numb, if it reaches the right hemisphere unchallenged and is referred to the appropriate area of the sensory cortex, will result in an electrical reaction being generated that will induce the feeling of numbness. Similarly, the suggestion that the person is experiencing a general feeling of happiness and well being would be referred to the appropriate pleasure centers located in the lower cerebral portion or in the cortex of the right hemisphere, thereby inducing the suggested feeling of euphoria. Finally, suggestions such as one that informs the hypnotic subject that he enjoys enhanced concentration or powers of memory would be responded to in the right hemisphere by accessing unused information storage capacity normally held in reserve as a result of left hemisphere selection and control processes. This aspect will become significant in the context of the Gateway process when attention is given to examining the way that hypnosis may be used to accelerate progress in the early stages of the Gateway Experience.
- Transcendental Meditation. On the other hand, transcendental meditation works in a distinctly different fashion. In this technique, intense and protracted single minded concentration on the process of drawing energy up the spinal cord ultimately results in what appears to be creation of acoustical standing waves in the cerebral ventricles which are then conducted to the gray matter in the cerebral cortex on the right side of the brain.
As a result, according to Bentov, these waves “will stimulate and eventually ‘polarize* the cortex in such a way that it will tend to conduct a signal along the homunculus, starting from the toes and on up.” The Bentov bio-medical model, as described in a book by Lee Sannella, M.D., entitled: Kundalini-Psychosis or Transcendence, states that the standing acoustical waves are the result of the altered rhythm of heart sounds which are occasioned by prolonged practice of meditation, and which set up sympathetic vibrations in the walls of the fluid filled cavities which comprise the third and lateral ventricles of the brain. In addition, according to Bentov: “The states of bliss described by those whose Kundalini symptoms have completed the full loop along the hemispheres may be explained as a self-stimulation of the pleasure centers in the brain caused by the circulation of a ‘current* along the sensory cortex.” Bentov also notes, “that most of the described symptoms start on the left side of the body means that it is mostly a development occurring in the right hemisphere.” Although normally a period of meditation involving intense concentration and practice for five years or some is required to “bring up the Kundalini,” Bentov states that exposure to mechanical or acoustical vibrations in the range of 4-7 Hertz(cycles per second) for protracted periods may achieve the same effect. Bentov cites as an example “repeated riding in a car whose suspension and seat combination produce that range of vibrations, or being exposed for long periods of time to these frequencies caused, for instance, by an air conditioning duct.” He also notes that: “The cumulative effect of these vibrations may be able to trigger a spontaneous physio-Kundalini sequence in susceptable people who have a particularly sensitive nervous system.”
- Biofeedback. The third consciousness altering methodology which will be briefly described is biofeedback. Biofeedback is somewhat unique in that it actually employs the self-cognitive powers of the left hemisphere to gain access to such areas of the right brain as the lower cerebral, motor and sensory cortices and assorted pain or pleasure centers. Instead of suppressing the left hemisphere as is done in hypnosis, or largely bypassing and ignoring it as is done in transcendental meditation, biofeedback teaches the left hemisphere first to visualize the desired result and then to recognize the feelings associated with the experience of successful right hemisphere access to the specific lower cerebral, cortex, pain or pleasure or other areas in the manner needed to produce the desired result. Special self-monitoring devices such as the digital thermometer are used to inform the left brain when it succeeds in keying the right hemisphere into accessing the appropriate area. Once this is done, the left brain can then repeatedly instruct the right brain to reestablish the pathways involved so as to produce the same external, objective measures of success. In this way, the pathways are strengthened and emphasized to such an extent that left brain consciousness is enabled to access appropriate areas in the right brain using a conscious, demand mode. For example, if the subject wishes to increase the circulation in the left leg in order to speed up healing he may concentrate with his left brain on achieving that result while carefully monitoring a digital thermometer connected to the left leg. When the concentrated effort begins to achieve success, the digital thermometer will register an increase in the temperature of the left leg. At that point, the subject can mentally (left brain) associate the sensations experienced with the result achieved and can begin to emphasize, by memory recall, the same process to cause its strengthening by affirmation and repetition. In this way, pain can be blocked, healing can be enhanced, malignant tumors can apparently be suppressed and ultimately destroyed, the body’s pleasure centers can be stimulated, and a variety of specific physiological results may be achieved. In addition, biofeedback may be used to greatly accelerate achievement of deep meditative states particularly for beginners who have no experience in meditative techiques and whose progress in that methodology is enhanced through effective visualization and external, objective affirmation. Display of the subject’s brainwave pattern on a cathode ray tube has proven to be a laboratory-validated means by which subjects may quickly learn to place themselves in profoundly relaxed states characterized by the sort of quietude and singularity of mental focus associated with advanced meditation.
- Gateway and Hemi-Sync. Now that we have briefly profiled the basic mechanics of the principal techniques for altering or expanding consciousness which share some of the objectives and/or methods employed in the Gateway Experience, we may proceed to focus on what that technique actually involves. Fundamentally, the Gateway Experience is a training system designed to bring enhanced strength, focus and coherence to the amplitude and frequency of brainwave output between the left and right hemispheres so as to alter consciousness, moving it outside the physical sphere so as to ultimately escape even the restrictions of time and space. The participant then gains access to the various levels of intuitive knowledge which the universe offers. What differentiates the Gateway Experience from forms of meditation is its use of the Hemi-Sync technique which is defined in a monograph by Monroe Institute trainer Melissa Jager as, “a state of consciousness defined when the EEG patterns of both hemispheres are simultaneously equal in amplitude and frequency.” Although Hemi-Sync seems to be rather rare and of only short duration in ordinary human consciousness, Melissa Jager states that: “Audio techniques developed by Bob Monroe can induce and sustain Hemi-Sync with the Institute’s basic Focus 3 tapes,…” She also notes that: “Studies conducted by Elmer and Alyce Greene at the Menninger Foundation have shown that a subject with 20 years of training in Zen meditation could consistently establish Hemi-Sync at will, sustaining it for over 15 minutes.” Dr. Stuart Twemlow, a psychiatrist and a research associate of the Monroe Institute, reports that: “In our studies of the effect of the Monroe tape system on brainwaves, we have found that the tapes encourage the focusing of brain energy(it can be measured as with a lightbulb, in watts) into a narrower and narrower ‘frequency band’. This focusing of energy is not unlike the yoga concept of one pointedness, which we may translate in western terms as a single-mindedness.” Dr. Twemlow goes on to observe that as the individual gets into the tapes beyond Focus 3, “…there is a gradual increase in brainwave size which is a measure of brain energy or power.”
- Lamp vs Laser: Melissa Jager uses a metaphor to help clarify the process involved in the use of Hemi-Sync in the Gateway Experience. She points out that the human mind in its natural state may be likened to an ordinary lamp which expends energy in the form of both heat and light but in a chaotic, incoherent way which diffuses its energy over a wide area of rather limited depth. On the other hand, the human mind under the discipline of Hemi-Sync acts after the fashion of a laser beam which produces a disciplined stream of light. The stream of energy is projected with total coherence of both frequency and amplitude such that the surface area of a laser beam contains billions of times the concentrated energy found in a similar surface area on the sun. Gateway assumes that once the frequency and amplitude of the human brain are rendered coherent, it is possible to begin accelerating both so that the human mind is soon resonating at ever higher vibrational levels. The mind can then bring itself into sycronization with more sophisticated and rarified energy levels in the universe. The mind, when operating at these increasingly rarified levels is assumed to be capable of processing the information thus received through the same fundamental matrix by which it makes sense of ordinary physical sensory input to achieve meaning in a cognitive context. Such meaning is usually perceived visually in the form of symbols but may also be perceived as astonishing flashes of holistic intuition or even in the form of scenarios involving both visual and aural perception. The mechanics by which the mind exercises the consciousness function will be addressed in more detail later in this paper.
- Frequency Following Response. To achieve synchronization of brain hemispheres, the Hemi-Sync technique takes advantage of a phenomenon known as the Frequency Following Response(FFR) which means that if a subject hears a sound produced at a frequency which emulates one of those associated with the operation of the human brain, the brain will try to mimmick the same frequency pattern by adjusting its brainwave output. Therefore, if the subject is in a fully awake state but hears sound frequencies which approximates brainwave output at the Theta level, the subject’s brain will endeavor to alter its brainwave pattern from the normal Beta to the Theta level. Since the Theta level is associated with sleep, the subject concerned may progress from a fully awake to a sleep state(provided that he does not consciously resist) as the brain strives to entrain its wave frequency output with the one which the person hears. Since these brainwave frequencies are outside the spectrum of sounds which can be heard in pure form by the human ear,’Hemi-Sync must produce them based on another phenomenon known as the brain’s capacity for deducing “beat” frequencies. If the human brain is exposed to one frequency in the left ear which is 10 Hertz below another audible frequency played in the right ear, rather than hearing either of the two audible frequencies, the brain chooses to “hear” the difference between them, the “beat” frequency. Thus, availing itself of the FFR phenomenon, and using the technique of “beat” frequencies, the Gateway system uses Hemi-Sync and other audio techniques employing the FFR phenomenon to introduce a variety of frequencies which are played at a virtually subliminal, marginally audible level. The objective is to relax the left hemisphere of the brain, place the physical body in a virtual sleep state, and bring the left and right hemispheres into coherence under conditions designed to promote the production of ever higher amplitude and frequency of brainwave output. Audible and perhaps subliminal suggestions by Bob Monroe accompany the various brainwave frequencies, which are sometimes rolled in together with other sounds such as sea surf to mask the sound frequencies where desirable. In this way, Gateway endeavors to provide the subject with the tools by which he may alter his consciousness based on his own volition over time through the repetitive use of the tapes so as to access, via intuitive means, new categories of information not available to ordinary consciousness.
- Role of Resonance. However, brain coherence through entrainment to “beat” frequencies introduced via stereo headphones is only part of the reason why the Gateway system works. It is also designed to achieve the physical quietude characteristic of deep transcendental meditative states which brings about a complete alteration of the fundamental resonance pattern associated with the sound frequencies produced by the human body. Yoga, zen or transcendental meditation, if practiced long enough, will produce a change in the sound frequency with which the human heart resonates throughout the entire body. According to Bentov, this change in resonance results from elimination of what the medical profession calls “the bifurcation echo” so that the sound of the heartbeat can move synchronously up and down the circulatory system in harmonious resonance approximately seven times a second. Bentov describes the roll played by the bifurcation echo as follows:
“When the left ventricle of the heart ejects blood, the aorta, being elastic, balloons out just beyond the valve and causes a pressure pulse to travel down along the aorta. When the pressure pulse reaches the bifurcation in the lower abdomen (which is where the aorta forks in two to go into the legs), part of the pressure pulse rebounds and starts traveling up the aorta. If in the meantime the heart ejects more blood, and a new pressure pulse is traveling down, these two pressure points will eventually collide somewhere along the aorta and produce an interference pattern.” By placing the body in a sleeplike state, the Gateway tapes achieve the same goal as meditation in that it places the body in such a profoundly relaxed state that the bifurcation echo slowly fades away as the heart lessens the force and frequency with which it pushes blood into the aorta. The result is a regular, rhythmic sinewave pattern of sound which echoes throughout the body and rises up into the head in sustained resonance. The amplitude of this sinewave pattern, when measured with a sensitive, seismograph type instrument is about three times the average of the sound volume produced by the heart when it is operating normally.