The Blogger with Two Brains
One advantage of blogging my thoughts, like tweeting my stock trades, is that I behave better when others may be watching, whether they are or not.
Sometimes, a reader will say that our blog is “centered” or “reflective” or “spiritual,” which makes me think “Well, I’m often that guy, but I’m not always that guy.” At the same time, I wonder why my best self is not my only self.
Scientists realize that there are differences between the hemispheres of the brain. As the right brain is emotional, intuitive, subjective; the left brain is analytical, logical, objective.
Recently, I was talking about how our brains work with the guy that handles our pool, and he recommended “My Stroke of Insight” by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor.
(Yes, I was discussing physiology with our pool man, and yes, we were at the deep end of the pool.)
Dr. Taylor is a neuroanatomist who suffered a stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain and recorded the resulting loss and subsequent recovery of her “left brain” functions.
She summarizes, “My stroke of insight is that at the core of my right hemisphere consciousness is a character that is directly connected to my feeling of deep inner peace. It is completely committed to the expression of peace, love, joy, and compassion.”
Dr. Taylor chose not to reprogram some left brain thinking: “The portion of my left mind that I chose not to recover was the part of my left hemisphere character that had the potential to be mean, worry incessantly, or be verbally abusive to myself or others.”
When psychiatrists monitored Buddhist monks and Catholic nuns in spiritual practice, there was a decrease in left brain activity during the height of meditation or prayer.
I suspect that when the Buddha attained enlightenment while meditating under the bodhi tree and when Julian of Norwich received an ecstatic vision while contemplating a hazelnut, they were both feeling with their right brains.
Dr. Taylor says, “Enlightenment is not a process of learning, it is a process of unlearning.”