Personal Growth - The Yin and Yang of the brain
by Anuradha Vashisht
Hey Gili! It has been quite a while since I poured my heart out to you. I have been so caught in the daily grind that I have not had my usual time with you. Even now, I have just a moment to spare! I have loads of work waiting for me. It makes me tired, just to think about it!” I was as usual talking to my Highest Self whom I like to call Gili, a short form of my own name.
“You’ve been too left brained of late, haven’t you?” Gili teased.
“Gosh, have you been reading my diary?” I asked in mock horror. “You know, I am getting this power point presentation on the brain ready to present in school; the whole experience continues to be amazing! By delving into the world of the brain, I sort of unlocked one of the mysteries of the universe.”
“Yes, it’s all in the mind, isn’t it? This creation of ours?” Gili chuckled.
“I was going through my notes on Dr Jill Bolte Taylor, who lost her left brain completely because of a stroke, and lived in the silent mind of the right brain, three weeks prior and three weeks after the surgery on her left hemisphere. She says she experienced Nirvana.”
“Yes,” Gili agreed. “The right brain is the one connected with oneness; that is why she experienced that she was part of God. Some sages who have experienced this oneness describe it as being a cell in the body of God. The right hemisphere is connected with who we really are – joy, gratitude, love, peace.”
The role of the left brain “If that is so then wouldn’t it be a good thing to be only right-brained? Then why do we have a left brain at all? Why do we have an ego? We could have just been at peace in our right hemisphere.”
“Well, the whole idea was to experience the world. The left brain is necessary to experience the world. Here we go back to Dr Taylor’s experience. She writes about how she was in bliss while she did not have the left brain chatter to trouble her but she also makes clear one other thing.”
“I know! She said that she could not operate in the world. She was in bliss but she was just like a baby unable to take care of herself.”
“Which means that if you have to function in this world you need to use your left brain too, doesn’t it? You cannot relate to the world if you are only right-brained. That is what happens to people who discover the peace and joy innate in their right brain. They forget their left hemispheres and are completely out of their minds. There are cases of sages walking naked, of people who needed to be taken care of and clothed because they had left their left hemispheres behind. The yin and the yang should complement each other for life to go on. We need the ego, the left hemisphere to experience life. The only thing we need to watch out for is not to let the ego or left brain dominate.”
“You talk about right brain being about ‘isness’, ‘oneness’. Does that mean that left-hemisphere domination leads to separatism?”
“Bingo! The very existence of a world shows separateness. The world can exist only when our left brains operate. That means that it is the left brain that creates worlds. It does so by projecting a world of duality where there are many beings going about experiencing life. Remember how Jill Bolte Taylor felt her cells just merge with the cells around her when she was right-brained? The right brain knows it is one with Source.”
“So all those religious fanatics out there who believe that their way is the only way, and who believe that God is an old man with a white beard sitting up there in judgment, are focusing more on the left hemisphere.”
“There you are! That is a good enough reason for you not to judge the views of others, isn’t it? Just put it down to the fact that you all are wired differently.”
Yin and yang “Are the concepts of left brain and right brain connected to the yin and yang concept spoken of frequently by the Chinese?”
“Yes, Yang is the male energy, the Shiva, or Alpha, the super conscious mind or creator– the idea for anything. Yin is the female energy, the Shakti, the Omega, the subconscious mind, the energy that carries out the idea put forth by the creator; that brings life to creation just as it is a woman who can give birth to creation. So the right brain is masculine energy and the left brain is the feminine energy that allows the yang to express itself.” I swallowed. This was hard to digest.
“That is why in the whole episode of the Garden of Eden, Eve is shown as the temptress. This is only symbolic. It was not meant as a slight on the female race. This distortion appeared because of man’s ego. What was meant is that the left brain or the feminine energy that gave rise to creation became distorted when the balance between male and female was lost when Man chose to forget his real nature, and be caught in creation of the left brain. For many years man lived in the world in total balance. Then “the fall” happened when he gave less importance to his right brain, and began to lean towards the left brain which dealt with separatism, materialism.”
“But if he was already balanced how did that happen?” I asked.
Gili continued, “Well, there is the male and female energy in every living creature. One who has incarnated as a man has 60 per cent masculine and 40 per cent feminine energy in him and vice versa.
| The right hemisphere is connected
with who we really are – joy,
gratitude, love, peace
Back to balance
“That is why we are in the state we are in now. And to think we blame poor old God for it! How can we get back the balance?”
“Well, we have agreed that the human species has become too left-brained. Maybe using your right brain more will restore balance. You are using your right hemisphere when you meditate, commune with nature, or do those simple little things from your heart – patting a dog, watching a leaf fall, listening to a twig crack – focussing totally on each moment, accepting each moment of life.”
“That is why people keep talking about the need to follow one’s heart. I am being left-brained not only when I rigidly follow the rules laid down, burying my spontaneity and my soul whispers; but also when I listen to my Walkman when I go for a walk.”
“You are also allowing your left brain to dominate when you label things and people and react to them based on previous experiences you had with them or on the basis of what you have heard about them. A person who is in touch with the right brain would approach each person and situation as if for the first time, and his response to them would be new and creative each time.”
“No wonder we have so much stress. Most of us really do react based on past experiences.”
“Well, the right brain knows only the present. Anxiety about the future and guilt about the past are left-brain functions,” Gili interposed.
“Dr Taylor, who is a neuroanatomist actually, says that it is a small group of brain chatter cells in the left hemisphere that creates all the drama. Eckhart Tolle calls it “the voice in the head’. They are just the size of a pea but they create all the drama and stories in our life.”
“Yes, you all are creators. There are as many creators of universes as there are people incarnate. The left brain was meant to be used to create a nice drama for yourself that you could witness and enjoy. What happened is that instead of witnessing the make-believe script you have written, you have got lost in your own creation, and what is a dream has become a nightmare.”
“What should we do, Gili, to come back home?” I asked again.
“Simple!” Gili said. “Just be aware that you are all parts of that one source called God. Be aware that you are already free, joyful, happy and whatever else it is you feel you lack. Then give away the thing you think you lack to another person and you will find it is in you all the time.”
“Rishis keep telling us Thou art That. This was also what the sage Ashtavakra told Janaka ages ago. There is nothing you have to do, just know that you are already God and that knowing will cut the ropes.”
“Yes, that knowing will help you see that what you have been doing is creating and projecting universes with your left brain. Once you see the world is just a figment of your imagination will you really worry about it? Rather you will observe it as you were meant to in the first place with humour, enjoy it without in the least being affected by it.”
“I went through this recently,” I said slowly, “You can’t imagine the relief I felt just by replacing a negative thought with the thought that I Am That creating this world. Someone close judged me harshly. I spent the better part of the evening giving a left-brained knee jerk reaction. Then I remembered. That person was creating his own world through his perception. I have no control over how he chooses to build his world. I can only build up my world – my take on any given situation and my response to it. So I just let go. Then my right brain took over and I saw the absurdity of it all. I actually felt compassion for that person who was weaving a world of mistrust and sorrow for himself and forgiveness took over till I went deeper into myself and realised that there is nothing to forgive. In essence, we are both Pure Energy just having a human experience. I have detachment and peace, living my life with the knowledge that I Am That and then dipping into my left brain to spin my world.”
“Once you have seen that the snake was not a snake but only a rope, you will never again believe it to be a snake. Just so once you see how you are immortal, just creating your world, you will have cut the last ropes of the left brain binding you. You will be the master of your left brain and balanced. The ideal thing is to balance the left and right brains as you go through your experience of life. You will then use the left brain to exist on earth, and the right brain to remain in heaven and bring heaven on earth and light to the world! That is what you came here to do!”
“Wow! That really is something to mull over!” I said and signed off as I went out into my kitchen to cook dinner.
I had done this thousands of times before but now as I did the chore I was open to what the senses were bringing me – the red colour of the carrots, the smell of mangoes, the rhythm of the grinder as it ground the batter, and the whir of the fan overhead.
Everything seemed new and instead of flopping into bed after dinner, I found I had energy enough to sit up with a book.
“Did you feel tired after doing all the work?”Gili was at my elbow again.
“Nope!” I said and continued cockily. “Don’t tell me why. I was using the calm flowing right brain energy to do my left-brained work. In other words I was being while I was doing.”
Was this what is called being in the Now? Enlightenment? Nirvana? Was this what is called the beautiful mind?
K.Gitanjali is a teacher, writer and healer currently based in Bangalore. She is the disciple of Mahavatar Babaji.
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