I like to “get out of my mind” enough to hear the whispers of intuition, the voice of Spirit. Some kind of practice like meditation or a walk in the woods usually does it for me.
But I never thought of mind and spirit being connected to the two hemispheres of my brain until I heard this amazing talk by Jill Bolte-Taylor.
Dr. Bolte-Taylor is a brain scientist who explains, step by step, what happened to her during a massive stroke she had in 1996. She describes the two sides of our brain as having “two very different personalities.” The right hemisphere sees life “as an energy being” and “connected to each other as one human family. We are perfect, we are whole, and we are beautiful.”
Our left hemisphere, she says, “is a very different place. It thinks linearly and methodically.” It says, “I am a solid individual, separate from the energy flow around me and separate from you.”
Through the experience of her stroke, she felt each side taking over her body and mind in turn.
What she glimpsed in those times when the right hemisphere took over was “Nirvana.” She says, “I pictured a world filled with beautiful, peaceful, compassionate people… who could purposely choose to step to the right of their left hemispheres and find this peace.”
Although it took her eight years to recover, she calls her experience a “stroke of insight.”
She wraps up her talk by wondering which side of ourselves we would choose to live in.
I think that our challenge is to choose to live in both sides of our incredible brains. To me, that’s what it means to be whole. Most of the time we live on the left side – we’re rewarded for being logical and smart and accomplishing great things. But what do we get for growing spiritually? For choosing the flow and oneness of the right brain? In modern society, we don’t get external rewards for that kind of growth. The rewards are internal, even though they affect our everyday lives. Focusing on the right side helps us see connect to our spiritual, creative, divine selves. That connection can lead to deep, long-lasting happiness, peace, and satisfaction.
Dr. Bolte-Taylor describes it beautifully. When we’re in our right-brains, “…we are brothers and sisters on this planet, here to make the world a better place.”
A lot of us struggling to integrate these two sides of our brains. We love to be smart and accomplish goals using our brains, our technology and gadgets. We’re also looking to deeply connect with ourselves, each other, nature, and spirit.
So how do we do that? We can start by acknowledging that both sides are equally important and valuable. And since our left brains are so smart and developed, we can afford to spend a bit more time and energy developing our right brains. Just getting the left side to be quiet is a big job – it’s used to getting all the attention, after all. But you can calm down that busy brain with breathing and meditation. Then your neglected right brain gets to shine. Your intuition and wisdom can start talking to you. And you can start listening to that side that connects to “Nirvana.” Who knows what amazing insights you’ll find there!