Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Brain, The Bridge, and The Barefoot Traveler

"The great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact." 
Thomas Huxley

The Brain is an utterly amazing thing. It has two hemispheres with two completely different functions. Although there is no way we'll ever know the full magnitude of the brain's functions, what we do know is that each side processes information entirely differently.

 The left side approaches information in an entirely linear fashion, methodically sifting through information, categorizing, stacking, labeling; placing things in neat little piles. Lots of individual pieces of information. There are plenty of opposing piles: past, future: good, bad: delicious,foul. All it sees is extremes.

 The right side, however, receives information in a much different fashion. It's much more carefree. It sees all of that stimuli out there, but it sees it as a whole. A beautiful landscape. It senses: It experiences: It feels what it sees. Everything is connected, so there's just one pile. It is here and now, in the present moment, Alive.

In my book, it's marvelous proof that our existence is no accident. The brain, indeed the human body as a whole, is creativity  in action; beyond the scope of what we'll ever be able to thoroughly understand, yet we understand  it enough to be awed. As much as we may think we are dominantly left brained or right brained individuals, we always have the ability to prove ourselves wrong. For you see, there is another part of the brain I forgot to mention. It's the Corpus Callosum. It serves as a bridge between the two hemispheres, responsible for communication between the two, and some say for the phenomenon of intuition itself. For there isn't a scientist alive who serenely accepts that the complex computer which is our brain, can be fully understood. And there isn't an Artist alive who can accept that the perfect landscape can be created with anything but a hand and an imagination.

 But there are Artistic Scientists out there, thanks to the Corpus Callosum. Scientists who have attempted to understand the brain in non-conventional ways. Some, who by the grace of God were given the opportunity through non-conventional, albeit creative means. Take the neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor. She was "given" a stroke, and lived to tell the tale. She actually felt the function of her left brain diminish in slow motion, and was  blessedly "stuck" for a period of time, in her right brain. She felt separate from nothing, connected to everything, so much so that she felt too large for her body. She fully recovered, but emerged convinced, that the right brain is the place to be more often.
 
And we can physically choose to  be-in our right brain by choice. We can consciously  cross that bridge  when we come to it. The bridge that releases us from past and future as we enter the present moment,where we have the opportunity to feel a great sense of connectedness, and beauty, and without the constant categorizing  the left side delivers, we feel the oneness of  the beautiful landscape of which we're a part, of which we create.
We Sense.
We Experience.
We Feel.
And those are just some of the Highlights Life has to Offer. So cross that bridge whenever you come to it. It's not the Rickety Bridge you might think, It's freshly paved. It's so smooth you can easily cross it barefoot.
 Just like you came into this world.

"He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed." 
-Albert Einstein

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