The New Science of Super-Awareness by Bill Harris
At last year’s Bulletproof Biohacking Conference, Bill Harris started off his talk by saying, “You know what? You’re a bunch of weird people. Probably 2 percent of people are willing to experiment with the things like what you’re experimenting with.”
That’s particularly true when it comes to playing around with the three pounds of gray and white matter between your ears.
Having tried everything from 12-channel EEG machines and 40 Years of Zen, to zapping my brain with electrical current, to fasting in a cave – there’s no denying it:
Brain hacking truly is just plain weird.
Yet it’s also one of the greatest sources of breakthroughs you can ever experience as a biohacker – or as a high-performance A-player in whatever you do.
And practically nobody (with the possible exception of some Zen monks) has practiced brain-hacking longer than Bill Harris.
Actually, fun fact – Bill Harris is a Zen monk, though you wouldn’t guess it. He doesn’t wear robes, meditate on a mountaintop or contemplate the mysteries of the universe.
Instead, he has an office in Portland, Oregon, dresses business-casual, and spends his days figuring out how to use neuroscience to achieve many of the same feats of mental transformation that take traditional meditators decades…
Except in just a fraction of the time. And with no mantras, rituals… or even practice.
I’ve personally used Bill’s technology – a system of “binaural” audio tones blended with other sounds called Holosync – for years.
And after hosting him on Bulletproof Radio and as a speaker at the Bulletproof conference…
I’m thrilled to be able to share his latest book with you as the first-ever monthly pick of the new Bulletproof Book Club.
It’s called The New Science of Super Awareness – and not (in Bill’s words) the “fluffy, new agey” kind of awareness.
Rather, the kind of awareness that lets you take conscious control of your brain and what it focuses on, instead of leaving it to chance.
And that’s a crucial high-performance skill to master – especially if you ever find yourself procrastinating, creatively blocked or just overwhelmed by multi-tasking.
Here are three reasons this book belongs on your Bulletproof book shelf:
1. Increasing your awareness can give you mental superpowers (or at least make you sharper than average)…
“Awareness” equals attention – and normally, there’s a severe limit to how much you can take in at any given time.
In fact, your brain quite literally pays for every little bit of attention with your “paying attention” neurotransmitter, norepinephrine.
And normally, that resource gets exhausted fast.
Take just one experiment from the book, for example:
Neuroscience researcher Richard Davidson asked subjects in a lab study to spot two numbers on a computer screen, going by at a rate of several per second…
And while most people spotted the first number… almost everyone missed the second one that flashed on the screen half a second later.
It’s called the “Intentional Blink Test – and the disappointing results were no surprise. Most people fail this same test because their attentional bandwidth simply doesn’t have room to process both signals.
Here’s the interesting part, though: When Davidson repeated the same experiment with a two groups of subjects – one group that received meditation training, and one that didn’t.
The non-meditators’ performance was merely average (abysmal)… yet every single one of the meditators passed the test!
What does this mean for your ability to hack your own attention?
The results of this study and others like it show that with as little as three months worth of meditation, you can begin rewiring your brain into a more efficient, higher-performance machine.
Just like everyone else, you’re still using up norepinephrine to pay attention… except now, you just need less of it.
Meaning your attention can “reload” faster and let you process more information in the same amount of time.
Of course, the meditators in the study practiced 12 hours a day during that three-month period – longer than you probably have at your disposal to sit on the couch.
That’s where technologies like 40 Years of Zen (which can compress that into a single week) or Bill Harris’s Holosync come into play.
However, any kind of meditation following the principles in the book will allow you to tap into this same level of “super-awareness” given sufficient time.
The tools you’ll read about in the book (including both Holosync and HearthMath) can certainly accelerate your progress. Yet the science shows you don’t absolutely need them to begin seeing results. It just may take you a bit longer, depending on how much brain-hacking time you can fit into your schedule.
2. Focusing your awareness is the key to unlocking your productivity, creativity and ability to learn…
And the benefits of hacking your awareness go beyond just absorbing more information. Because once you build up this extra mental bandwidth – now you get to choose where to focus it.
That means reaching a level that Bill calls “super-awareness” where you have the capacity to take control over a set of features in your brain that normally run on autopilot.
Including everything from your behavior to your emotional responses – and even your brain waves.
When you do, you’ll quickly begin to unlock new reserves of “executive function” (think, willpower and delayed gratification) in your pre-frontal cortex.
So rather than being stuck whichever gear your brain happens to be stuck on to perform a task, you gain awareness of your different brain-wave states. And you can begin to shift between them: From everyday beta, to zoned-in alpha, to creativity-freeing theta – and back again.
You’ll also experience an enhanced ability to slip into “flow” – that ultimate peak state where concentration and problem solving feel effortless.
The New Science of Super-Awareness devotes an entire chapter to the science of flow. And Bill draws on his 30 years experience with flow states in situations from writing to flying an airplane to tie this crucial brain tack together with meditative practices and the latest in brain wave-entrainment.
3. Hacking your awareness can make you happier…
Bonus: According to psychologists, those who have the most “flow” in their lives are also the happiest.
In fact, chapter 10 profiles a Tibetan monk reputed to be “the world’s happiest man” – with the brain waves to prove it.
Specifically, high levels of “gamma” brain waves linked in studies to feelings of happiness, contentment and compassion.
And these “happy” brain waves are no accident. In fact, they often occur during a flow state when you have an “aha” moment (neuroscientists call it an integrative experience):
First, alpha waves take you into a state of flow and deep focus. Then, just milliseconds before you stumble on an intuitive flash of creative genius – your brain releases a “spike” of theta and gamma waves.
It’s the kind of experience that happens repeatedly and even routinely once you reach a state of practice that allows you to go in and out of these mental states by choice rather than chance.
My takeaway: This book is a great read if you’re the least bit curious about the deeply yet wonderfully weird world of brain hacking.
You’ll get a practical blueprint to hack attention, focus and flow faster than you might think (whether you choose to use tools like Holosync or not). And even better, right now you can pick up The New Science of Super Awareness in PDF format for FREE.
So don’t wait – grab a copy now before your attention shifts, and then join the conversation about this month’s Bulletproof Book Club pick in the comments and in the new Bulletproof Book Club Facebook Group.