Posts Tagged ‘endorphins’

Hyperarousal Trance, Belly Dance and Creativity…

October 10, 2008


I have been asked to explain my experiences with Hyperarousal Trance and how it has effected my creativity as a dancer and a writer.

I can only attempt an answer because I am just becoming aware of ‘how it works’. I never really thought about it. It just seemed to appear when it was needed, whether I was conscious or not of it’s ‘need’.

Perhaps it would be better for me to start with an attempt to explain H.T. and why I started using it.

Two years ago I came across an article somewhere on the web about the ‘ayoub’ rhythm and the Zar trance dance in Egypt and parts of Africa. Being a belly dancer, I was interested and read as much about the Zar trance dance as I could. Actually there was not that much information at that time. Later there was more written.

I found there was a common element in this Zar dance, wherever it was utilized. It was this consistent 2/4 rhythm of the ‘ayoub’ or ayyoub (or zaar) rhythm.

It is hard for me to explain, but the dumbeks (the drums) used beat out this rhythm like this: Dum…tek!, Dum tek/Dum..tek!, Dum tek.

Sort of like a dotted quarter note on the first Dum…followed by an eighth note tek, but the next Dum tek is evenly beat.

Repeat until trance ensues.

And it does. Now, everything I write here will be contradicted, because it seems that each country where the Zar trance ritual is practiced has their own rhythms.  Some are particular to the demons entrenched within.

Oh, yes, the Zar ritual. I can’t make any assumptions here.

The Zar ritual is a healing exorcism used to shake up a demon residing in a woman. You don’t exactly evict a Zar (demon)….you give them new marching orders.

There are many issues about this, and I won’t go into them except to say that this is a highly controversial cultural issue and I for one, am remaining open to it all.

However, I will speak on my own experiences here with the Zaar rhythm (or ayoub). And I will try to link how this experience of listening closely to the ayoub rhythm changed points of creativity in my own life.

As much as I can understand this. I haven’t really closely examined it before, just took its presence in my life as natural. It is tied with my belly dancing, or perhaps it is more correct to say that I first became aware of the transforming and trance making behaviors of the ayoub rhythm in my belly dancing. I would find that I was going into a trance, and this was when I wasn’t attempting any set choreography.

Choreography seemed to interfere WITH the ability to fall into trance.

My belly dancing brings me into an altered state. This is very common to many dancers but I believe is disrupted when we are doing choreography. Set patterns, which we practice to take into ‘muscle memory’ still makes us conscious of our movements and somehow takes us out of the free-fall of trance.

The constant beat of the ayoub transforms consciousness. Somewhere I read it’s like a ‘horse’ that is carrying you inward and upward somehow. Perhaps the connection is a universal heartbeat, I don’t know really, but I do know ‘something’ happens to me. If it’s an altered state of consciousness, it has it’s reoccurring points: time disappears and something definitely shifts.

We do know through brain studies that there are many physical functions that are effected by Hyperarousal Trance. Blood pressure lowers, the heart beat slows, the body temperature changes. Now, I am not sure that this exactly applies to belly dancing, which can be quite vigorous. But rhythmic stimulation does change brain waves.

We also know that there are definite issues with Hyperarousal Trance in heightened endorphins, boosted immune system (even temporary) and accentuated energy…and an overall feeling of ‘high’ or ‘good’. These probably are no different than exercise highs. Another issue is that pain seems to be lessened with the trance state.

However, there is already a lot of evidence piling up that shows the brain issues (waves, etc) are different in H.T. than in hypnosis, or self-hypnosis. It’s a deeper effect on the brain in some way than these above.

I do find that listening to the ayoub rhythm beat out on drums or picked up in the background of music, effects me fast. I also drum on dumbeks, and this practice has allowed me to access the trance as much as listening or dancing does.

Somewhere I read that “Theta” brainwaves is the ‘set’ of Hyperarousal Trance, but I am still investigating this.

However, recently I did come across this: Theta waves occur most often in deep sleep, but are also dominant in the deepest state of meditation (body asleep/mind awake). The best place for deep thought is in this Theta realm. In Theta, we withdraw from the external and focus on a deep internal landscape. It’s basically a twilight state. Theta is a waking dream, vivid imagery is there and we can access it because it is before us in the mind. We are receptive to information beyond what we would be in a ‘normal’ state. Theta is the gateway to learning and memory. As Dr. J.J. Harper says in “Tranceformers: Shamans of the 21th century”, Theta meditation increases creativity, learning, reduces stress and awakens intuition.

I can concur with this because there is something that happens when I am in a trance- like state, and this is accessed by what I have come to recognize  from the ayoub rhythm.

This entry is a work in progress. I have other things to say about Hyperarousal Trance, specifically to it’s relationship to subspace (another altered space) hypnosis, etc.

Generally the issue for me is creativity. I have realized over the past two years that H.T. is somehow very much bound up in my ability to ‘tap into’ different cultural issues, and to write about them. It seems that research is much smoother, easier and the writing, when I place myself in H.T. flows to where things reveal themselves and blossom.

At times, and these are not as rare as they would seem, I can access this trance almost without effort. That is a good day of activities, and especially writing. I think this is not rare amongst writers, either. I do know that my ability to concentrate and focus has allowed me to produce 4 novels, many poems, short stories, etc in the last two years alone. I am an American woman, and write about Japanese 16th century culture, 6th century Berber culture, modern Turkish culture and Celtic culture in my books. I have no background in any research, but these things become easy and unfold in different forms when I write. I can only attribute this to the background music and beat of the ayoub and other rhythms.

Something is happening in the brain here, and I for one am very grateful.

I am researching DNA and mysticism and have come across writings were it is proposed that everyone is capable of psychic powers, heightened intuition, clairvoyance, etc. Perhaps with a relaxed and then again…directed mind, you can tap into the prime DNA alphabet soup for transport into a heightened highway of the mind and the cosmos.

Anything is possible out there…and in here.

Lady Nyo

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