Step 2: Binaural Beats
Binaural beats are created by playing two loud tones in each ear that are very close in frequency. The brain processes this by filling in the difference and creating a third tone that is roughly the difference of the two. For instance, if you play a 400 Hz tone in one ear and 410 Hz tone in the other, your brain will create a binaural tone of 10 Hz. The theory behind this is that you can create specific audio clips that when played in your ears will stimulate your brain to produce a tone that corresponds with one of the naturally occurring brain states.
The five cognitive states that your brain operates within are Gamma (>40 Hz), Beta (13 - 39 Hz), Alpha (7 - 13 Hz), Theta (4 - 7 Hz) and Delta (<4 Hz). As the frequencies decrease, cognitive focus and alertness decrease, and you start moving into more meditative states, until you finally find yourself in deep delta sleep. There are a ton of websites online with different sound clips which produce tones in all of the mental states (except gamma, as the frequencies that create binaural beats can't be greater than 30 Hz apart). By listening to different audio clips optimized for different brain states, it is possible to alter your consciousness.
I went into this experiment with expectation that this was a bunch of new age hippie nonsense and wouldn't result in much, but to my surprise, I must say that listening to this audio does in fact have an effect on my conscious states. Aside from the immediately obvious phantom third tone echoing throughout my head, I experienced a change in mood depending on which tone was being played. When i listened to an alpha-targeted binaural beat for a few minutes I started to feel very calm. And, when I listen to a beta-targeted clip, I became somewhat restless and agitated.
To keep things interesting, I did not research exactly what the different clips were supposed to do prior to listening to them, but upon looking them up later, most of them induced a feeling in line with that particular brain state. That said, I feel that there is something more to these clips than merely being a pure placebo effect.