Brain Theories: Right Versus Left
When neuroscientist, Jill Bolte Taylor had a stroke that impacted the left side of her brain, she described an experience of nirvana and bliss that unfolded as her analytical self shut down and her intuitive right brain took over. See the 19 minutes expanded video of her experience.
So often, many of us move through our days with a left brain predominance such that our intuitive selves are not getting as much stimulation as our cognitive, logical selves.
The recent rise in individuals diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and anxiety reflects this more left-brained orientation of the mind’s energy scattered in many directions as it tries to analyze experience as opposed to just being in experience and feeling it.
Also, the challenges that many people experience with being truly empathic and sensitive to the feelings of others, can have a root in an overactive left brain.
When we are busy analyzing what people are sharing with us instead of really listening to and experiencing the feeling content, we can completely miss the essence of what is being shared.
Thus, a gulf develops between where others are in their feelings, and our ability to hear and comprehend what is being shared. This gulf creates an energy of isolation rather than an energy of unity. Thus, an erosive energy can predominate professional and personal relationships when such a gulf is present.
Since the right side of the brain is more closely associated with alpha, feeling and meditative states, we are more empowered to exhibit deeper states of empathy and harmony in our relationships when we come from a right brain state.
For example, when constructive feedback is offered from a place of love, a person who is listening more from the right brain, will hear the love and positive feelings associated with the feedback and respond positively.
However, a person who is filtering more through the left brain may only hear, “You are doing something wrong,” and may react defensively as if being attacked. Often times, they will not hear the accompanying love, kindness, and joy in the message. Thus, instead of responding positively, they may respond with argumentative energy or withdraw and shut down.
Yet, by training ourselves to access more of our right brain, we can empower ourselves to experience the feeling content of what is shared in more positive ways so that we understand the complete context of communications and interactions.
The right brain also allows us to access trust by being present to the myriad of verbal and non-verbal cues present. We learn to sense into the energy and emotions of what is being shared so that our left brains do not have to wonder, “Gee, I wonder what that person meant by this or that.” It takes the guess work out of interactions, and also allows us the space to ask for clarifications with an openness to sensing into what is shared.
Qi Gong Breath Work Nourishes the Right Brain
Dao yin breathwork, a form of qi gong breathing, is very effective in helping us shift out of our analytical selves and embrace more of our right brain feeling states. It is our feeling states rather than our analytical states that allow us to be in touch with our emotional patterning and also have empathy with others so that we can connect with other people from a heart space.
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Through focusing on breath work, we are able to quell the analytical mind slowly, and allow ourselves to silence the left brain for a short while. In the beginning, the mind drifts with breath practice, but over time, the mind becomes accustomed to letting go of thoughts and focusing on the pattern of breaths moving in and out the lungs. It is a simple yet powerful practice that aligns us with our more natural selves where our intuitive selves lead our souls to deepen what the logical brain experiences.
Dao yin can also help us to detoxify our spirits and bodies. By increasing oxygen, we naturally help to rid our bodies of physical toxins and also release negative emotional energies. Thus, dao yin can help us to face transition in our lives and embrace new experiences positively. Often times, people are stuck in states of regret, resentment, anger, or sadness such that they cannot imagine embracing or creating new experiences that are satiating. Thus, people can become energetically tethered to the negative aspects of experience.
When we perform dao yin breathing, we can consciously use our exhalations to cut the tethers to negative emotional states and understand that dwelling on such states does not change our circumstance or empower us to embrace new experiences. We can, through our breath, simply feel and then let go of grief, loss, frustration, and regret.
Often times, my clients comment on how sunny and bright my disposition is and wonder how to achieve that. I achieve that state by truly letting go of those things that do not serve my soul’s growth. Now, that is easier said than done, for it is never easy to let go of those things in our lives to which we have become attached. However, when one has a regular practice of dao yin breath work and meditation, it becomes easier to transform feelings of loss or sadness and shift from spaces of angst to places of joy and liberation.
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