WHOLE BRAIN PLAY
I notice that many of the people making comments about the offerings in this thing seem to be separating Left and Right Brain like this:
This is Creative —–> [Right Brain]
< —– This is NOT Creative [Left Brain]
The thing is we (people) are really not half-a-brain.
We are WHOLE brains and both halves are needed whether we want to be Makers or Takers, Movers and Shakers, or Wakers or Fakers.
There seems to be this Great Divide in people’s minds, but, for real, it is an illusion.
RIGHT BRAIN PROFILE
Right Brain, the guys-who-know tell us, grounds us in the here-and-now. It helps us see what is right in front our noses and allows us to take in any kind of knowledge and sink it down into our bones.
For example, Right Brain helps a car mechanic understand that the clunking or whiny noise you hear is happening because some little gizmo in a very complex machine has worn out and is screwing up the works.
Right Brain raises the hackles on the back of your neck when you meet someone and the warning klaxons go off in your head because you “just know” THIS guy is NOT your friend.
Right Brain starts a warm glow in the pit of your stomach when you’re surrounded by the happiness of family and friends.
LEFT BRAIN PROFILE
On the other hand, they tell us, it’s Left Brain that can wander through your memories of the past and your visions of the future.
It’s Left Brain that can gather together all of the different alternatives and options, just-the-facts-ma’m stuff, and piles them all in a heap.
It’s Left Brain that develops the linear processes that help you make some dream come true, that helps you build a something out of all the Nothing that is really only-just potential until you put your hand to it.
Right Brain and Left Brain have to work together, making a synergy that gets everything slotted in place so you can build the worlds that have meaning and mana for you.
Smooth-running doesn’t happen automatically. The brain-halves communicate differently, for one thing.
Left Brain uses words and numbers and other mind-constructs like symbols and metaphors.
Right Brain uses pictures, smells, tastes, sounds, and body feelings. It’s kind of like a game of charades between a talkative computational device and a doofus St. Bernard puppy.
It can get frustrating trying to round up all those lemming thoughts and trying to get monkey-mind to settle down long enough to connect the dots.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
One way that can help facilitate a meeting of your own brains is what I call “poetry-mind.” You use it to build bridges between your two half-brains so you can get input from both of them as you work on building your worlds.
It starts with knowledge and respect.
- You need to know what each of your half-brains is capable of doing and what each one cannot do.
- You need to respect each of your half-brain’s strengths and understand where each half-brain falls down.
Think about it: You have your own Human Resources Department in your head and you are both the Operations Manager as well as the CEO in this lash-up.
You will not expect your little old grandma bookkeeper to run out and dig up and turn the soil in a new garden plot. It’s not the best use of her time or her particular knowledge.
In the same way, as you learn more about what each of your half-brains can and cannot do, you’ll be able to marshal your forces better and use them more effectively. It’s likely you will end up with a viable and sustainable way of doing what you want to do, it seems to me.
For the past few decades, with the evolution of technology, there have been innumerable studies by neuro-this or –that scientists looking at how the brain works.
These new findings have sparked a diversity of new thinking about how being human works (or doesn’t).
Each new and exciting discovery gets reiterated, trashed, and re-hashed as every psychologist, philosopher, life coach, and know-it-all neighbor weighs in with some kind of opinion about the ramifications of every revelation.
By the time you’ve looked into this fascinating subject by reading a plethora of books, checking out online resources and listening to assorted in-the-know people talk, you will probably gather some exercises or suggestions that can help you make connections between your two brain-halves.
As you play this way, it will get easier and easier to use your whole brain to work on solutions for any problems you encounter. This is a very good thing.
In a nutshell, here is the THREE-STEP WHOLE-BRAIN PROGRAM
- Get to know your half-brains, your Right Brain and your Left Brain.
- Introduce your half-brains to each other and encourage courtesy and respect.
- Let your half-brains play together and see what they make together.
It may amaze you…
SEED THOUGHTS AND SUGGESTIONS:
- Check out the “A Very Short Course on the Brain” video on the http://wholebrainteaching.com/ website for the latest theory on how the brain learns. The site has a lot of information about Whole Brain Teaching, which has become all the rage among more progressive middle school educators. The kids and the teachers who work with it seem to be having a lot of fun. Whether the method is more than a fad remains to be seen.
- Read HOW TO THINK LIKE LEONARDO DA VINCI: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day by Michael Gelb who believes that Da Vinci succeeded in balancing his Left and Right Brains handily.
- One of my all-time favorite books is THE INTUITIVE BODY: Aikido as a Clairsentient Practice by Wendy Palmer. In it, Palmer draws on the principles of martial arts and meditation to present a unique method for cultivating awareness, attention and self-acceptance. In the intervening years since 1994 when this book came out, Palmer has developed her embodiment learning practices into a system called “Consciousness Embodiment and Intuition Training.” It is quite fascinating.
- Another group of books that are favorites of mine are Julia Cameron’s trilogy of books on the creative process, THE ARTIST’S WAY, WALKING IN THIS WORLD: The Practical Art of Creativity, and FINDING WATER: The Art of Perseverance. These books have lots of exercises and practices that allow you to integrate your half-brains as well.
- Check out the “Laughter Works…Pathways to Healthful Living” website by Kay Caskey and Laurie Young: http://laughways.com. It looks like a lot of fun.
- You might also want to check out my post, “Poetry Brain,” which has an explanation of what left and right brains tend to do.
And here’s a poem:
Wonder is the child of mystery.
It really is what makes history.
Wonder taps the inner spring
That flows through all the everything.
When wonder calls, a haunting cry,
It bids your heart to spread wings and fly.
The dull gray world-clouds fade away
As you romp with wonder in numinous play.
The world turns real and so do you,
When wonder transforms familiar into new.
And when it’s all real again and true,
Then new gates open and invite you through.
Mystery always opens for her wonder child,
Her gifts she gives freely to wonder running wild.
And if you follow wonder’s spiraling way,
What marvels! What joys! What fun in the play!
By Netta Kanoho
Picture: Brains by Cat Branchman via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
SOME OTHER POSTS TO EXPLORE
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14 thoughts on “WHOLE BRAIN PLAY”
I really enjoyed the perspective throughout your post here and I think it is valuable advice.
When I was younger one of my cousins was doing a project for school to see which side of the brain that you were dominant with. I came back as whole brain dominant, which at the time I thought was pretty cool. Especially since no one else at the family gathering had gotten that result.
Reading over this I can see how I do already communicate between the two halves of my brain. Now to dig in a little further to learn more about this. Thanks!
Hey James: Thank you for the visit and the comments. The whole brain thing is a fascinating subject. I do believe that there are people who are whole-brain dominant, able to use both sides of their brain equally well, and they get some awesome results! I wish you good traveling on your explorations. Please come again!
Hi there. Interesting reading! I’ve always thought that you can tune into working more with your dominating side of the brain but in recent years, I have discovered that you usually revert back to your default setting. My creative side is my dominant side so I guess that’s the left side brain? I’m not saying it is a bad thing but surely we should try to improve and adapt to our weaker side (if such a thing exists). Great article and glad to be able to comment.
In my way of thinking, both sides of your brain are creative…each in its own way. Leading with your strengths is also a cool strategy since you can take it farther faster when you do that, but you always do better with both sides, I am thinking. Thanks for your visit and your comments, Gary. Please come again….
Oh I love what you have written. I will surely love both sides of my brains now. I am in a relationship where my spouse is left brained and I am right brained, the one question I always have is that since we now know one another, do we need to be balanced in both brains or just stick to the one and appreciate the other person more. That way 2 becomes 1 and we have the balance of both brains.
Rags, I love your comment! It’s a marvelous thing when two people can mesh their strengths and bolster their weaknesses AND appreciate each other for that. Two do become one and the Tai Chi turns and dances.
Still, it’s a good plan to try to understand the ways each Half-Brain works so that when communication glitches occur you can at least keep reaching out to each other and keep on holding hands and hugging….
Please come again.
I’ve always thought of this half-brain issue but never had the courage to put it in writing. When I see people act a particular way, I try to analyze their behavioral pattern to get the part of the brain responsible for such act per time. At the end, I was kind of confused and the whole study was mixed up. Thanks for putting this up now, at least it validates my study.
Thanks for your visit and for sharing your story, Sammynathaniels.
Us humans sure are a confusing bunch!
Please do come again….
This was such an interesting read this morning. It made me think back to high school, when we took brain tests in psychology to determine whether we were right or left brain dominant. I can’t seem to remember what my result was at that time. Reading this article has me second guessing either side. I have strong tendencies for use of both sides, but don’t feel as though I would be considered “whole brained.” I feel as though I’d be considered needing to exercise both halves more. Ha! Definitely thought provoking while I enjoy my morning coffee. I look forward to reading more of your articles.
Cris, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.
I think the problem with all these neuro-studies is that they keep trying to stick us in boxes. Us humans have all the same attributes in differing proportions and are never just either-or. Unfortunately, all the sorting processes seem to be about categorizing stuff.
Never mind. We can just climb out of the boxes they stuff us in, I say!
Please do come again….
Am just reading about the attributes, strengths and weaknesses of the right and left brain and am amazed.
I think I am beginning to like the left side of the brain because I want to be a creative content writer so thinking is now my favorite thing.
My question is as thus: I am a right handed person. Does this mean I also function majorly using my left brain?
Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, daresamuel.
According to the smarty-pants in the white lab coats right-handed people are supposedly predominantly left-brain oriented. I’m not sure what the deal is if you’re ambidextrous.
I figure that if I can learn how to be ambidextrous, it’ll get easier to use both sides of my brain. Still experimenting. Not sure what the results going to be.
Please do come again.
It’s true that it’s a mistake to view people as being driven only by either the left side or the right side of the brain. Any one of us would be in a dreadful state if both sides of our brain didn’t work in tandem.
The list of suggested books looks like they’re worth investigating. How to Think Like Leondardo da Vinci looks especially interesting.
I’m glad you found something interesting to explore in the post, cpascal.
Please do come again.