Adamus entreats us constantly to “allow.” How do we do that? We have been taught since childhood to strive: strive to walk, strive to read, strive to get good grades, strive to get a job, strive to move up in the ranks. But striving to allow doesn’t seem to work.
Fortunately, we are hard wired to allow. We have known for several decades that our brain has two parts; our western society has, for several centuries, applauded and worked to develop the part of our brain that doesn’t allow.
One part, the left hemisphere in most people, is external and objective. It understands that which can be observed, categorized, classified, memorized, manipulated and verbalized. The other hemisphere, the right, is internal and subjective. It is good at that which is known and felt, but cannot be named or described. Feelings, intuition and insights reside in the right brain; they are subjective, and “knowing” in this case is personal, individual, and non-verbal. We need both hemispheres daily; it behooves us all to learn to shift from one to the other at will, and converge hemispheres when appropriate.
Our left brain is logical and linear. It keeps our lives organized, pays our bills, finds our destination, speaks, reads, keeps track of details, strives, and worries about failure. Our right brain is light-hearted, optimistic and joyful. It is the source of our creativity. It is the awareness of awareness. When we try to describe it verbally, we go in circles. Defining anything non-verbal with verbiage is inherently impossible. This other, nonverbal, right-brain way of knowing, is very much a part of our everyday reality, but we rarely recognize it as such.
We can’t get to the right brain by thinking; thinking is left-brain. We have to relax our bodies, relax our striving, relax our fear of failure, and relax the stranglehold on our feelings, our creativity, and our imagination.
It helps to recognize which hemisphere we are using at any given time. Left-brain thinking feels confined; right-brain thinking feels expansive. The left brain is decisive; the right brain is flexible. Left brain is fearful; right brain is confident. Left brain feels a bit small and flat; right brain feels expansive and boundless. Left brain feels physical; right brain feels impalpable. Left brain struggles; right brain surrenders. Left brain feels a bit gray and dull; right brain feels colorful and vivid. Left brain is a worrier; right brain is care-free. Left brain is time and space oriented; right brain is here and now. Left brain keeps us safe; right brain is a dare devil. Left brain is slow (it can process 40-60 bits of information per second); right brain is fast (it can process up to 11,000,000 bits of information per second). Left brain is a servant; right brain is a master.
Once we feel into which brain is functioning, we begin to be aware of which we are experiencing. Taking a walk after the rain, smelling the bark on the trees and seeing the reflections on water – right brain; being careful not to get your feet wet – left brain. Swimming in the ocean and feeling the water slide over your skin – right brain; seeing someone in trouble and rushing to help – left brain. Looking at a gorgeous photograph – right brain; reading the caption – left brain. Playing with a puppy – right brain; cleaning up the mess – left brain. Savoring a gourmet meal – right brain; doing the dishes – left brain. Taking a walk in the snow, feeling the flakes on your face and watching them dance in the lights – right brain; being careful not to fall on the ice – left brain. Observing a flock of geese swoop, swerve and soar in perfect formation, then glide in for a perfect “Sully” landing on the lake – right brain; avoiding stepping in goose poop – left brain. Finding your way to the ferris wheel – left brain; feeling the tickle in your tummy as it swoops over the top – right brain. Deciding to go to your favorite rock concert – left brain; participating ecstatically – right brain. Dreaming up a light bulb – right brain; trying 10,000 times to make it work – left brain. Determining that E=MC2 – right brain; proving it – left brain. Get the picture? – right brain; using it – left brain.
The right brain has access to a wide stream of information – things of which the left brain is often completely unaware. These include underlying feelings, answers to questions or problems, the internal state of the body, and aspects of the environment that seem irrelevant to what we are doing. There are times when it is very handy to know how to bring these bits of information into our left-brain awareness AND there are times when bringing in those bits of awareness is not just handy, but essential to our continued existence.
We can learn to shift our perspective from left to right by softening our focus and observing the big picture. We can read and write poetry. We can kick back and let our mind expand. We can take a walk, indoors or out, and perceive everything around us with every sense – hearing, vision, touch, taste, smell – and maybe other senses too. We can tell an extemporaneous story. We can daydream, laugh, sing, whistle, breathe, meditate. In fact, we can do most of the things that, all our lives, we have been discouraged from doing in polite company.
Additionally, slowing the breath, taking a deep diaphragmatic breath, and setting the intention to move into the right brain is extremely effective. Spending even two or three minutes in a quiet meditation can often bring in an idea you are searching for, a solution to a dilemma, the answer to a problem, a resolution to a conflict. The right brain knows the answers you need.
Using the body in sports or contemplative movement like yoga or Tai Chi is another effective way to engage both hemispheres of the brain. Runners and bikers, at some point in their exercise, experience the shift from left to right. Many coaches teach competitive athletes to slow their thinking and move into another way of functioning. For example, good hitters learn to “slow” the ball and connect with it at the perfect moment.
One of the fastest, easiest and most fun ways to converge right and left brain is participation in the arts. Learning to use the tools and techniques – reading music and learning the instrument, understanding color, texture, media, learning lines for a play, learning dance positions – all employ the left brain. But immersing one’s self in the glory of performing or creating doesn’t just shift from one hemisphere to the other; performing and creating employ both both right AND left simultaneously. Reading music AND experiencing the exhilaration of making music; remembering lines AND living the character; using art techniques AND creating in paint, clay or marble; using dance techniques AND expressing one’s self through the body utilize left AND right brain concurrently.
The best athletes, dancers, musicians, artists, actors, scientists, mathematicians, musicians, statesmen, and writers are all skilled right-brainers. Learning to allow is as easy as accessing and using both sides of our brain. It isn’t so much striving to allow; it is striving AND allowing.
Nancy lives in Evergreen, CO and taught music in the public schools for over 30 years and is still teaching piano. She has been striving for decades to convince schools to allow the Arts to provide right brain activities for kids. Her book, Getting High on School, attempts to make that point. She can be contacted at nancydunkin.com or [email protected]
Nancy found Crimson Circle through the book Live Your Divinity and her her first personal contact was Prognost 2015. Since then she has been a loyal attendee at Shouds and classes.