Much is written today about the structure of the brain , particularly its dichotomy into right and left segments. The two not only look different, for the right brain is white while the left brain is grey, but their functions are entirely varied. The left brain is analytical, mathematical, logical, verbal, sequential, organised, structured and deductive. The right brain is holistic, intuitive, emotional, creative, visual, musical, lateral, unorganised and spontaneous.
Here’s an easy test to check if you are predominantly right or left-brain. Clasp your hand together and check out which thumb is uppermost. Left-brainers will keep their left thumb up and right-brainers will keep their right.
Ever since the Industrial Revolution, our civilisation has stressed left brain activities. Our educational system also emphasises the cultivation of the left brain so that by the time the average individual passes through school, his creativity, sensitivity and sense of artistry and yes, spirituality, are at a discount.
This is why most spiritual masters will tell you to develop your right brain processes when you move into spirituality. With its penchant for logic and analysis, the left brain comes in the way of receiving the spiritual insights and experiences that move us along the spiritual path.
Indeed, the opening of the right brain is synonymous with our spiritual progress. For we slowly learn to trust our hunches and gut feelings, no matter how illogical or irrational they may appear. You may be offered a job with a terrific salary, but you instinctively feel that the main man is not to be trusted and turn it down. As your right brain becomes more powerful, you will also find that the coincidences in your life will increase. The answer to a troubling question may lie in something your friend says or in a dream or a stray newspaper article.
Trusting the universe to provide for you, trying to understand the larger scheme of things, listening to your feelings, all require a certain openness of mind and a willingness to go beyond the stranglehold of the intellect. This only happens when we validate our right brain and consciously attempt to develop it. Meditation is an excellent way of switching off the left brain and tuning in to the right. As you allow your thoughts to float by you rather than orchestrating them or being consumed by them, your subconscious mind will surface, which is the region of the right brain. Allowing your mind free play to fantasise or dream are other ways of developing the right brain. You can also give vent to your creativity. Writing, drawing, singing, sculpting, stitching, cooking, all these allow you scope for self-expression.
But the left brain is equally important to attain liberation for it governs areas such as discipline, a sense of organisation and will power. Discipline and will power are crucial to growth. Spirituality is extremely rigorous, for it entails going beyond the dictates of your own needs, desires and feelings. To learn to go beyond self-indulgence and selfishness and put the focus on the right thing to do, is a left brain activity.
So how does the correlation of the right brain and left brain happen in spiritual activity? The right brain is given the leading position. It gives us the insights and hunches we need to go forward but to make these hunches and insights into reality we need to use the left brain. Assume, for instance, that the right brain has furnished you with all the insights necessary for self realization. You will need the left brain to help you achieve it, however.
BY SUMA VARUGHESE