Sunday, May 24, 2009

Living in LaLa Land

Our perceptions are shaped by the two sides of our brains that are separate and very different. They communicate with each other and are connected by the corpus callosum. One side is typically more dominate than the other. Each hemisphere thinks and cares about different things.

The right hemisphere is all about this present moment and thinks in pictures. Our senses are experienced from this side of our brain. It tells us that we are energy beings connected to the energy all around us. The right brain gives us the feeling that in this moment we are perfect, whole and beautiful.

The left hemisphere thinks methodically about the past and the future. It is designed to take the enormous collage of the present moment and find the details. It thinks in language. It tells us what we need to do to function. It connects our internal world to the external world but reminds us of the separation of these two worlds. It gives us the concept of "I am".

Jill Bolte Taylor is a brain scientist who had a stroke in the left side of her brain and was able to experience complete right side brain domination for short periods of time during her stroke. Life began to slow down. Her perception had changed from normal reality to becoming a witness of herself having experiences. Every step was very rigid and very deliberate - there was no fluidity. She could not define the boundaries of her body - she could only detect the energy of everything being connected. When the left hemisphere of her brain was silent, she became captivated by the magnificence surrounding her. She felt one with all the energy that was beautiful. There was a sense of euphoria at releasing years of emotional baggage in a split second. She felt like she was living in LaLa Land.

Then the left side of the brain would kick in and tell her that she was in danger - there was a problem and she needed help. When she tried to use the phone to call for help she realized she could not read, talk or hear language correctly.

Jill went back and forth between LaLa Land and realizing she needed help desperately. She was finally able to call for help after much difficulty. At one point she felt a moment of possible transition. She felt her spirit surrender as she said good-bye with a feeling of peace.

Waking up later in the hospital, Jill felt enormous and expansive as she realized she was still alive. She felt like she had found Nirvana when she fully experienced the right side of her brain. The realization that she had a choice to experience this peaceful place had a profound impact on her. She felt it was her mission to share this with the world and wrote a book titled "A Stroke of Insight".

Both sides of our brains are necessary to live a healthy productive life. Which side of your brain do you tend to hang out in more often? Do you feel ruled by goals, to-do lists and planning your future? Do you feel oblivious to what is going on around you because you are so blissed-out that you never get anything done? Or do you feel a balance between feeling peaceful and connected while still being able to function in society?

Yoga is a practice of balance. We need muscular energy to create a strong foundation. We need the softness of organic energy to experience the freedom of letting go to expand with intention. Playing the edges of being too contracted with muscular energy and too expansive and soft to keep our balance is how we find our center. This is how we experience the joy and ease of the two opposites working together. Be aware that you have this place of total peacefulness within yourself. You have the choice to experience this place of connection and the power of the present moment.

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