THE WHOLE BRAIN

Once we understand how the brain works, we can use it to manifest wisdom. We travel through life in three main states of consciousness. The first stage I call “Innocent.” As young children, we do not know right from wrong–we are innocent. Older, we learn to distinguish between right and wrong and we develop the second stage, which I call the “Doer.”

 

The “Doer” performs actions controlled by the conscious mind, doing right and avoiding wrong and the punishment wrong actions bring. The “Doer” is focused on thoughts within the mind. This is a natural and very important learning stage, but many of us get stuck in this stage and do not go on to the next.

 

I call the final stage the “Receiver.”  In this stage, we receive from our own wisdom and accept its lessons with real openness. Many who are aware of the difference between these stages feel that it is almost an “either/or” situation; either one performs actions as the Doer, or he meditates and goes deep within and receives deeper experiences. But instead of either/or, both states of mind can exist simultaneously. We can perform actions and attain this depth by learning how to “be,” as we simply live our lives.

 

In the healing process, we need to use our whole brain. We need to do things that are right, like eating healthy foods and taking the correct medicine. We need to be receptive and listen to the Wisdom of our Body. Sometimes, a person does not learn to use their whole brain until they face a crisis, like a chronic illness.

 

When I began working with the combat veterans, they often thought I was “against” thinking. They told me that when they were in combat they had to think. My response to this was that thinking itself is not bad.  My own work obviously involves a lot of thinking. But thinking can take place in the Doer stage of consciousness, or we can learn to be receptive and receive thoughts from the deeper wisdom of being.

 

“Receptive thinking” is most likely the type of thinking that took place in a combat situation for the veterans. In those situations they were, by necessity, so connected to life that their thoughts had to come from a higher consciousness.

 

If we were to step back for a moment, we would see that the brain is the creator of every experience we have. Most of us  are conditioned to look first to external things for the experiences we want.  This happens automatically, but the external world can only activate the brain to create the desired experience. It is the brain itself that creates the experience. We can learn to use our brains to create experiences we want.

 

Once we enter the Receptive stage, we can learn a great deal from inner wisdom. The better we understand how the brain works, the easier it is to use it. Dr. Paul MacLean, a brain researcher, shows us that the brain is made of three main parts.   He calls the first part of the brain, the “Reptilian” brain. This part of the brain operates the bodily functions and is concerned with survival.

 

The next part of the brain is called the “Mammalian” brain. This is our emotional center. The third part of the brain, which is found in more evolved mammals, is called the “New” brain. The New brain is made up of two hemispheres. The Left hemisphere stores our thinking and speaking abilities. The Right hemisphere is the home of our creative and spatial awareness, as well as our connection to the Mammalian and Reptilian brains.

 

The New brain is the tool we use to adapt to society.  While these two hemispheres operate independently, they are both involved in many of the things we do.  When we speak, the Left hemisphere deals with the linear process of thinking and speaking, while the Right hemisphere can be involved with spatial awareness and creativity.  Each part of the brain is unique, but they cannot be separated into definite categories.  The fact that they work together means that analyzing the brain does not produce a “black and white” picture; rather, these two hemispheres work together.

 

In healing, we need to use the whole brain. The Left hemisphere is used to become a partner with your doctor. The Right hemisphere is a more receptive mind, which can creatively deal with uncomfortable situations. This part of the brain is connected to the Mammalian brain, which deals with emotions.

Many illnesses are affected by suppressing emotion. This makes the Mammalian brain ineffective and cuts down the connection to the Reptilian brain, which deals with the body’s functions. In a healthy brain, there is a natural flow between the New brain and the Reptilian brain and back again. This is where you communicate to your body and the Wisdom of the Body communicates to you.

 

Obviously, we do not think this way under normal conditions. When we face a challenge, like a serious illness, we have to understand this flow. It is easy to block the flow in our everyday life, simply by unconscious communications to the body and sensitivity to what the body gives back. Using the whole brain is essential in a health crisis, but it is also needed to live a quality life.

The two books I have written that will further explain this article are A Healthy Way to be Sick and The Positive Self: Change Your Self-Image and You Change Your Life. (Amazon/Kindle)

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