Archives for posts with tag: brain

if you search articles in neurophysiology or neuroanatomy, you will see a raging debate about something called “hemisphericity” which implies that you can have one hemisphere more dominant than the other. Well yes you do, in some ways, and in other ways, no.

THIS article explains that you CANNOT train one hemisphere to be more dominant since the brain is so involved in cooperating between its different regions and “sides” that such an idea is impossible (and debunked in the 1980’s).

Everyone, from winners of the Nobel Prize in physics to the artists behind the Archibald Prize, used both sides of the brain when performing any task. In fact, the idea that people can be classified as left- or right-brained was debunked in scientific literature in the 1980’s

https://theconversation.com/mondays-medical-myth-you-can-selectively-train-your-left-or-right-brain-4704

The problem, I think, is that we are dealing with an incredibly complex and also nuanced biological machine we call the brain. So many regions responsible for different functions, we think, based on the data so far collected. Something gets lost in translation, I think. And while you might be using one part of your brain for one type of function, you might also be using other parts as well. If your body is in motion, well, you have the motor cortex in on the game, too. Lot’s of busy-busy. And to my mind, based on the research I have been doing over the years on the brain, I think some scholars and researchers tend to get lost in the details….because let’s be honest, there are a lot of details when it comes to our grey matter.

The same source goes on to say:

Despite this, left/right-brain training programs appear to be gaining popularity. This is puzzling because there’s no evidence indicating that you can train just one side of your brain. Such attempts are doomed because the two hemispheres are heavily interconnected and constantly communicating.

Ibid

Again, there is truth in what the writer is saying, but there is another side to all of this and it has everything to do with how we do indeed train ourselves how to utilize the abilities that appear, thus far, to be seated in one hemisphere in the brain. You might wonder where I am going with this and how this is tied into kundalini, but give me a minute.

When I was in art school, I was keen to be the best that I could be as an artist, and part of this was to learn how to use my mind to its fullest as it related to the creative process. Betty Edwards had come out with a book entitled Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain a decade previously, and we were beginning to know a few things as it related to the (visual) arts where the brain is concerned. In this seminal work in the field of art, she explained how many people often use the wrong side of their brain when creating artwork, or in creating likenesses of people in portrait work, sculpture, or landscapes, for example. The problem, she explained, was the left brain is reductive in its approach, meaning that it tends to create abstractions and stores “ideas” of what an object looks like, not really the real thing. The left brain is great for making cartoons, but it’s terrible for creating real-life likenesses (“abstraction” means to take those details that you feel are the most important and isolate them—such a left brained thing to do). This is one reason why many beginning artists are so bad at making a realistic likeness, which is due in part to their drawing on an inner image of what they think something looks like rather than what is in front of them. It is a very difficult habit to break in our species it seems.

Over and over, Edwards showed how art students would draw an eye and a mouth all in the same stilted manner, making almonds for eyes and sardines for lips. But look more closely; do they really look like that? “Draw what you SEE!” was the admonition by my teachers. Of course, do that, but you have to get out of the part of your mind that tells you what it is that you THINK that you see. And what are the implications of being in that abstract left brain process? You are in fact living in the past. You are drawing on an inner image of what it is that you think you are looking at. You wont EVER see what is in front of you so long as you let the left brain continue its dominance in your thinking and doing.

This has everything to do with enlightenment, I promise, and it can show you the folly of trying to use the “rational” left brain in the process of enlightenment. But hang on, I am going to string you along a little longer!

By the way, you can pick up a very inexpensive copy of Edwards’ book here at Thrift Books in case you would like to be better at drawing. The book has a lot of very good exercises that actually work if you want to be better at art.

There was something about art making that I always found curious, and it had to do with what we call inspiration. It was always this elusive thing. I knew enough about it that I could lay my hands on it when I needed to. I understood it intuitively, but it wasn’t like it was something that I could force. In fact, it was the opposite of forcing. I had to bid it come. I had to be receptive to it. And that was the point. Inspiration, I found, was not something that happened in the way the logic circuits of my left brain worked. What was even more interesting to me was that I often bumped up against a very interesting outcome of the inspired state when things got really intense, and that was that i often would wind up feeling sexually aroused when things were really cooking. I can remember staying up late into the night working on piece after piece. Inspiration would breed more of itself in those solitary hours as I worked in the studio. I felt funny because I had never heard of this before. Was I weird? Was it just me? I later learned that I wasn’t alone, that a number of other artists and writers commented on the coincidence of the sexual with the inspired state. The writer Anais Nin wrote about it a good deal, as did other artists. Maybe it was natural. I felt like it must be. I suspected that the channels that carried creative energy and sexual energy might not be all that different. They might in fact be the same. Our idea of creativity might actually be the stumbling block. Some of the great artists had a charisma and were notable in their sexuality often (although not always). I always felt like there was a connection here even if I was too young to know enough to say definitively.

Fast forward twenty-five years or so, and I wake up after using a meditation technique a friend I met through an online forum who had passed it on to me. I have yet to meet him, but we had a lot of very lively conversations through email back in 2006. The result of my using this meditation method was that I inched closer to awakening with it. Suddenly suffused in a brilliant white light during meditation, I was flabbergasted, and after which everything picked up steam in the strangeness department and in a few months I “popped” and the cosmic egg was cracked. I didn’t go into this thinking that I was going to try to awaken. Back then “awakening” wasn’t that much of thing, not like it is today.

I had no idea what it was that I had. I considered I could have had a brain tumor (yes really). I didn’t speak about what happened to me to my family for close to a year. I was concerned that I could be carted off to the hospital or institutionalized. As a result of this, I spent a lot of time observing what was taking place inside of me with this new energy. I had a keen sense that I had stepped into something entirely new and I was very much on my own now. It was exhilarating and lonely all at once. I sensed that whatever this was that had happened, it was permanent. there was no going back to Kansas, there was no putting the genie back in the bottle. There was no being normal again. I felt like a stranger in a strange land. It was both death and rebirth, caterpillar and butterfly. I had no resources upon which to refer to. I studied the phenomenon closely as it unfolded within my mind and my body. I wanted to know as much about as I could summon so I could take my notes and see if they compared to any other experiences other people had had so I could get a better understanding about it. It is interesting what happens when you rely on yourself in this way. As you ask, so shall you receive. Miracles tended to happen, small ones, inexplicable ones, sometimes on a daily basis. I would later learn that these were called synchronicities, a term coined by the Swedish analyst and researcher Carl Gustav Jung.

One of the important aspects of the awakening process for me was how I felt like some new state was being brought online, activated, and it was different from the way I normally had felt. I also saw how similar the awakened state was to inspiration, something I was very familiar with. In fact, I would say, they were identical in terms of how they felt and behaved, the only difference between the two was a matter of degree. One was much stronger than the other (can you guess which one?). I wondered if this wasn’t me shifting into my right brain more, or that perhaps what kundalini amounted to was breaking the bonds that kept the right brain constrained because this unrestrained portion seemed to emerge almost out of nowhere (“almost”). I began to feel that human beings were in fact left-brain dominant by nurture, even artists like myself. I suspected the entire race was this way, that we simply had developed this way as a means of survival. Linear logical things are extremely good for getting stuff done, no doubt about it, but I think that we as a race were (and are) moving out of that old paradigm so things are shifting now.

When I learned that what I had was kundalini, I saw how the Hindu’s use the imagery of the man and woman, how one side was depicted as the feminine, and the other masculine. These images were created for a reason, and I had already felt the twin energy of what felt masculine and feminine rise up through my body. They were speaking to me about my condition.

I got to watch this curious phenomenon in myself for months, close to a year, even, before ever cracking a book on kundalini. When I saw the merging of the masculine and feminine and on the correct sides of the body, I realized, they were describing the same thing I had been experiencing. They had images painted on the foreheads of yogis called a Tilak and it was shaped exactly in the same way as my third eye awakening proceeded. I actually can feel when my third eye opens, it creates a force of pressure that is exactly like the Tilak. They were on to it, and while I searched article after article, no one really was able to explain why the Tilak was shaped this way. I knew it was shaped this way because that is how it FEELS when the third eye is fully activated (more than just a small round dot in the forehead—this was a process that proceeded over a three day period in order to completely open the third eye, a chakra that spread all the way to the back of my head in bands horizontally and in a dual-forked energy vertically moving upwards, corresponding to the Ida, Pengala, and Sushuma nadi (energy channels — the feminine, masculine, and cosmic, respectively).

They say kundalini is the coming of the feminine Shakti. When I felt this take place, I recognized it as the part of my mind that I often used when making art. It was the same, but it was also much much more present, more powerfully present once the cosmic switch was flipped. Before all of this, I had to search for “her” and then I had to wait quietly, in a receptive state. I had to become that feminine trait that was in me in order to reach the inspired state. I began to consider that the cosmic light switch was using the mind to overcome the resistance we all seem to have to shift out of the logical confines of the linearity of thought that have so predominated our thinking for so long. To open up to the right brain was like a revelation. It felt like letting the genie out of the bottle, literally, as if it had been held in such tight confines for so long. And why does it feel like that? Because everything in the left brain is small, it is highly focused, linear and logical. We just don’t realize how caught up in that part of the brain that we are. The more that I slipped into this very large space that was the “feminine” I felt like I was set free. I also felt disoriented for a time, and sometimes would go scurrying back to the familiar prison of the left brain. This is most popularly called a “contraction” in awakening circles. Every time I did this, I felt a strange pain, the painbody so many were talking about. I made it my mission to break out of painbody once and for all. It took great effort, an effort at letting go of so much that I thought was important (but was really useless baggage).

I didn’t have any proof that my theory was correct, though, and to be honest, it seemed like the whole of science pertaining to the brain was against me. I went searching, and what I found was one brilliant gem, the work of Doctor Jill Bolte Taylor who, in her now famous TED talk, described how as a neuroanatomist, she realized one morning while getting ready for work that she was having a hemmorage in her left hemisphere. She knew it was her left because her language centers began to shut down. She had trouble understanding English, she had trouble even reading the keys on the phone to try and call someone to help her. This took her about 45 minutes to do, to call out to tell a friend that she needed help. As she recounts her harrowing ordeal, she found that another brain state started to come online, one that she had never experienced before, a mystic state where everything was connected: samādhi. She stood there, tears streaming down her face, describing how incredibly beautiful the experience was. She also proclaimed that, because of the shut-down of her left hemisphere, she was able to have a unique view into a state that is normally only experienced by yogis or gurus or by people like myself (and perhaps to you if you have experienced this). Her talk, entitled “A Stroke Of Insight” was the last nail holding down this idea that I had based on little more than my own observations that this comes about by way of letting go of the tightly held control that the left brain has, probably has had in people, for centuries.

Not long after this, I looked into the concept of the left brain acting as a brake against the right brain, and as if on cue, researchers were finding new evidence for this in fact being the case in the months prior to my thinking about how this appeared to me to be at play in the awakening process (how it overcomes this left-brained dominance). I read about people whose corpus collosum, the nerve fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the brain, which had been damaged in utero through disease, exhibited some unique traits of superconsciousness, but which also kept them from being able to fully participate in society because they had limited communication between their two hemispheres. It was amazing to watch and to read how these people have incredible genius and yet had trouble tying their shoes are making up a grocery list or coping with the rigors of linear life in our world. I saw an analog with their ability to calculate numbers; I had answers come into my mind with lightening speed often, vast amounts of information, a storm of it, processed in fractions of a second. I sensed that my experience was tied to their same abilities, except because I had two intact hemispheres that could “talk” to one another, I could call on both sides of my mind, not just one.

When I began to catch on to how early Christians were talking about a unitive state that caused something to “rise” (see the gospel of Philip) and how people would go from being “dead” to alive, I felt like I was seeing how they were describing awakening. The more I read, the more I saw this pattern in their language emerge. It was curious, too, because these Christians were branded heretics and stamped out over a period of about two to three hundred years. In truth, the effort continues to this very day, but the main part of their work was done between about 200 to 400 A.D. more or less.

In their earliest writings these early Christians spoke of the “left and the right” of the “father and mother” coming together in the bridal chamber and out of their union came the Christ. While Christianity and Judaism before it had a notable and solid use of “left and right” meaning the goats and the sheep, the bad and the good, it certainly appeared that these Christians were turning these old conventions on their head (in the same way that they were turning the creation of Eve from Adam as that moment when our whole being was cleaved from its primal natural state into one that was responsible for our Fall even further because of some bite into Knowledge). Further, in the Gospel of Philip he goes so far as to say that those who do this aren’t just Christians, they are Christs. Whoo boy, nothing gets the Orthodox in a lather faster than insisting that the Christ dwells in all people and that this state of being comes about through the feminine and masculine coming into union with one another (the father and the holy ghost or sprit). Further, the feminine was revered by this group because it was she who brought so much wisdom, the ability to see deeply into things, to know (gnosis), not to simply believe (which is a poor substitute for knowledge) and to even heal.

Ideas like this sound strange to us today because we have about sixteen hundred years of entrenched belief behind the notions that we think of as Orthodox (a compound word from the Greek meaning “right thought”), but for those early Christians whom we call Gnostic, this was the authentic path to becoming Christ. And precisely because of this constellation of the feminine, masculine, and the indwelling Christ (which was treated in the same way that the Buddha is in the East which is to say that the Buddha is not a person but a state of mind that each person has within them, but is in slumber…..or more accurately, the person is slumbering before their own inner Buddha), was why this was too much for the Orthodox wing of the church to handle. Hadn’t Eve been the one who brought down the whole house of humanity? Hadn’t it been Lot’s wife who turned to look back even though she was told not to? David can go on for chapters in Psalms about how many people he has killed and no one bats an eye. Never mind that he was transgressing against the Law of Moses.

When I felt this triadic quality in myself, I thought how perfect that was: as above, so below. We make babies through union physically and we make a new level of consciousness inwardly with the two like-male and like-female parts of ourselves, an engine for enlightenment, with these two qualities which are in ourselves. This was much more natural than the Orthodox way which was an all-male club. It just seemed more perfect, more in keeping with how we are actually composed esoterically. And what better way to fold the feminine into our spiritual lives here on earth by making her the mother? The Gnostics believed that two people so awakened to this inner seed of light in themselves should have babies because that light be would all the more be kindled in their progeny, the result being an elevation of the spiritual quality in humanity.

If you want to see mysogyny in motion, you need only see how Christianity stripped itself bare of any kind of decency in what it did with the early Christians which we now call the Gnostics. To do that, you have to dig into the texts (history) because you wont see any evidence in today’s church save for cries of heresy whenever such a thing is brought up. You have to look at what the heresy hunters had to say about these people in order to know what they were fighting against. It all sounded strange to them because they didn’t understand, they didn’t have that seed of light in them which would grow like a mustard seed. And yet, traditions throughout the world describe a means of reaching an exalted state of being that required no belief, just a few very simple methods for turning the attention inward and which often involved the union of opposites within. Meditation techniques work as well as they do because it is there in such a place of quiet mind that you can begin to glimpse the lightening strike that is the realization of who you really are inside. No two worlds could have been more different though: one was literal and linear and cramped and stuck-up sexually and the other was ecstatic, vibrant and full of inspiration and light where the masculine and the feminine merged in order to form a “ladder” by which your own consciousness could ascend into the heavenly states simply and in a natural organic fashion with those two working together, not against one another. This is the core of the secret, and the mystery of the divine marriage within. The failure of the Orthdoxy was one of awareness, knowledge, and imagination, three elements crucial for navigating the numinous.

When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in the place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then you will enter [the kingdom].

The Gospel Of Thomas, James Robinson ed., p. 129

I use the above quote because during what I later learned was a temporary “kundalini flash” a few months before the full rise of the energy, I wrote a piece that contained a passage nearly identical to the quoted passage in Thomas above. I posted it online on a forum. My friend who gave me the meditation technique pointed out how it was similar to Thomas. The only problem was I didn’t know that Thomas even existed. I really didn’t know, and I read it for the first time in the Fall of 2006 online. My jaw dropped to the floor. They were describing an arrangement by which one reaches a state of inner unity where the spark of awakening is kindled. I would later realize that none of this was an accident, and it had unfolded in the way that it had in order for me to realize something very important about earliest Christianity (and my role in it in the Fourth Century). It was known that there was a quality that was like a man and woman, and that they were arranged as if one was on one side of the body and the other on the other side of the body, very much in keeping with how the Hindus described it. This wasn’t an article of faith, but was instead the very thrust of the Gnostics which was they knew. They didn’t need to believe because what they had was the indwelling awareness that made union with the divine possible. And you know what? They were right.

Today as I worked in the studio, I entered into that familiar place I go where ecstacy waits. Nowadays, I don’t have to be deep in meditation, all I have to do is open to it and there it is. I have learned that this state, like the inspired state, is one where I let myself be seduced, to surrender to something higher where I then rest in a state of deep devotion and love as I go about my work. I can listen to a radio show, I can get distracted, I can even get frustrated now and it comes right back. It didn’t used to do that. All of this took time to cultivate, and I have largely done it on my own. No guru, no teacher, but a series of events and people who all had something to teach me as they came and went. Others are also doing this in their own way all across the world as more and more of us continue to awaken all on our own. Ripe. Vibrant. Alive. Awake.

What the Orthodoxy failed to see or grasp was how important our sexuality is spiritually. The reason why it is important is for the same reason why awakening happens in the first place, which is a union of opposites brought together in a rare moment where often there is a roar of sound, a sudden riotous vibration, or a flash of light (as was in my case). When I give myself completely over to this ecstacy, my mind opens like a flower opens and new faculties show themselves. I do not have to have any article of belief, but I know something divine is at work. Yes, there is nothing that compare to it except the orgasmic, but with a difference; it is as if the electrons go into a glorious precession that acts as a waveform that unites my being and in a state like there, wherever I put the beam of my awareness, impossible things begin to happen. I might think of someone and know something I can only know was true only later, or I might peer into the core of matter, or I might gain insight into something that I need to do, this insight being like a vast bundle like how a dream is often untangled or remembered after a night of dreaming. People call this today a “download” and certainly the term is apt because sometimes it can take hours for me to feel the bundle unwind. I often will remember that I had had a dream about this issue years ago, different state of mind are touched on, and none of this process is in the least logical but is driven instead by what I sense is a superconsciousness and intelligence that I rarely possess in my day to day except for when I am in love with the universe and it is in love with me. All of this sounds like what a mad person might say except that as a practical mystic, I have always sought to try and note my experiences, jotting them down when I can, to see if there is any correlation later with something in physical reality. Many times I have seen things there was no way for me to see and known things that had I told a physicist, they would just assume I was lying, that I had read a journal somewhere. I know that this experience, this ecstacy, opens us to our greater potential. And while I really take no joy in writing about it because of how it is often frowned upon because it seems boastful, I only mention it here because doing so is like me shaking your arm and pointing to the phenomenon because I know that it is possible for you to do the same. “What I do you will do also, and you will do even greater things…”

Kundalini has been described as a “libidinous” force, sexual in character, and while this is true, that it sparks sexual energy, that isn’t all that it is. I have found that everything that we have in the body exists first in spirit, that everything we are emerges out of consciousness, not the other way around, and as such, what we think of as sexual energy here on earth, which makes new life, there is a higher dimensional aspect of our sexuality which is connected to our spiritual selves, that part which survives physical death and which exists in all time. It is this aspect, which we call “sacred sexuality” which is, to my mind, nothing more than the spiritual compliment to our sexual selves. It is this part of ourselves that allows us to have union with the divine. And while some will cry heresy, I can tell you that when the moment comes when you do reach union with the divine, it will be that part of you which surrenders like one surrenders to a lover, that will make such a union possible. I can also say that when you do touch the divine, the divine will have zero shame about any of this, unlike ourselves who try to point fingers and try to make a beautiful thing an object of shame. Some of us, it seems, have a lot of growing up to do. This isn’t a mental exercise, but is instead something that encompasses parts of yourself that you may not have even known existed before. Instead of feeling shame, you will come out of that cloud of light renewed, healed, revived. Each time you step into that state, it seems as if some bit of the hard crust falls away and the mind is opened more and the logic centers go quiet because none of this is the domain of the logical. The only thing it can do is to write down what it is that that happened to you, and it will always do so poorly because language exists in the left brain and this experience cannot be contained or compassed by words.

In awakening, it is known that those who are too logical have a very hard time of it. Taisen Deshimoru, the Zen master, who taught in France said in The Ring Of The Way that monks who are “mental” were the ones who had the hardest time with Cosmic Mind. You just can’t get there with the left logical mind. You have to use the part of the brain that specializes in the holistic, the nonlinear, and that is the right brain. In fact, Dr. Taylor came back from her stroke describing the brain in just this way, despite what all of the researchers might want to say (she was there, she saw it happen in motion as a trained researcher in the field). The biggest lesson that I learned was how to stop trying to understand everything logically, to learn how to FEEL (this is not to be confused with emotion—feeling is a capacity that we have like intelligence is a capacity that we have intellectually for example). When I did this, I shifted more into the right brain process and moved into the much larger realm of awareness. The logical mind was never intended to grasp the mysteries of the cosmos. It’s job is to learn how to build a ladder to the stars, not contemplate the meaning that is behind them. It is the feminine in us that alone has the wisdom to open us to ever-larger realms of awareness. And to be clear; the two work best when the feminine is given the room she needs while not being silenced by the left brain. The feminine must now find her voice in all of us. In the process, we will all grow wiser because of it. We might even help stamp out mysogyny and begin to craft a new way to be in the world. The Gnostics had a word for those who had discovered this inner feminine and masculine trait in union: syzygy. Some have referred to it as an androgynous outcome to enlightenment, but I have not seen it this way at all. Instead, I experience it as a highly cooperative and dynamic state where two rely on each other for what it is they themselves do not possess, and which, I will point out, is very similar to what two people fall in love do, which is to admire and even lean upon those opposite traits in their beloved which they do not have. In the process of this that is spiritual and individual, it fuels the outer process as well (how we relate in the world). I know what it is like for a woman to love a man and I also know what it is like for a man to love a woman. My own gnosis has shown me in those moments of ecstacy how it must be or can be if we just learn how to develop or cultivate this form of inner and outer cooperation. I can dream.

The left brain reflects on what is known or what it think it knows. The right brain does not, in my experience, have this facility. Instead, it does the opposite; it looks much more impartially at what is happening in the present. There is a reason why so many, since Buddha first mentioned the power of being fully present, have gone on to write books about the awareness that happens in the present moment. Ram Das wrote “Be Here Now” and Tolle wrote “The Power of Now” and they are both saying the same thing that Buddha said first. This is a right-brained activity, this ability to be in the present. But more: quiet the mind so that you can begin to sense what is beneath all of the mind-chatter. It is there, they all insist, where the greater awareness lies. It is not something that you do, it is something that you are and which your thoughts keep you distracted from perhaps ever finding. The left brain will always be in a prejudiced state, and it is this part of us that seems to be running so much of the show when it comes to awareness. It think it knows, but it is only basing its thoughts on conjecture based on what has happened in the past. To know this new state you must be open to what can be, not what has been. I contend that when you can reach into this silence in yourself you are quieting the mind and that this allows you access to the parts of you which are not wed to time and space. This is the same space that is written about by the Gnostics, the Pleroma, the fullness. We are all related, we are all family, from the largest to the smallest. It is an unimaginably large family, but knowing your place in it will forever alter any sense that you have that you are ever alone or set adrift or singular only. Even in the synoptic gospels Jesus reminds the Pharisees that their scripture did say “ye are gods.” What the Orthodoxy could not imagine was that we all are. Did they just want Jesus to be that beacon of a light on a hill that we all seek to give ourselves to? Was it all just a way to herd the sheep into an ever-tightening space spiritually for control? Or was it just a conspiracy of ignorance, a failure of imagination?

Contained within these two parts of us is all the wisdom and knowing that we need to navigate them. You literally have access to vast amounts of information that is part of what the Gnostics called the Pleroma (Koinē Greek: πλήρωμα, literally “fullness”). It is here that the sacred marriage of takes place. It is firstly within, and can be bolstered by others who are likewise centered and known to themselves. Staring into the awakened can be like staring into the same infinite that one feels within ones own self. This is also where the “deficiency” that the Gnostic Jesus spoke about was resolved. This idea that we are not good enough, this feeling that we are set adrift, sinful, bad, and unloved. All of this is washed away or redeemed in the Pleroma. And Jesus was showing the way.

Even as I say all of this, you cannot get there simply by becoming more aware of what the right brain can do for you. Something else needs to happen, and unfortunately, even the yogis of India, for as good as their systems are for explaining all of this based on numerous observations by monks in the past, cannot explain what happens when we awaken. The energy rises, they say….it is aroused, they say. But by what means, exactly? The Gnostics explain this simply: by becoming one with ones self, to become known to one’s self, and then by going as deeply as one can in silence, you can then touch on that place where the union of the opposites creates the spark that cracks open the wall separating you from a super-conscious state. “Remove what divides you” said the Gnostic Jesus, something I read six months after I had done exactly this very thing which I knew at the time was the first step into self-initiation into the mysteries of the kingdom. Once there, it is a self-sustaining font of energy which gets busy clearing the “knots” of emotion, the samscaras in the Sanscrit, of the stored emotion which is out “baggage.”

It is a quantum leap, but once you reach it, you have it forever. Its power may wax and wane over time afterwards, but its force will purify and clear you so that you can be a vessel for both the divine and who you really are. In many ways it has felt like my whole body became a sensing organ, a body of awareness. Was this new mind tapping into the wisdom of the body? Do all of the neurons scientists have found existing in our organs also provide thinking potential, as vessels for awareness also? I am afraid we don’t know yet, but I have a sinking suspicion that there is a connection whereby what we think of as the brain extends itself in awakening to include the body, and expresses its twin character of like-male and like-female qualities of what the Gnostics called “the left and the right.” When I say all of this I also know that awakening itself is a fairly simple thing, but it can take years to get there. It seems you have to want it badly enough, because who else could stick with its relentlessness, its intelligence, long enough to allow the changes to take place that makes a broader awakening possible?

Achieving this state could be done through years and years of preparation. What I know is that it is possible for it to happen much faster than that. I would suggest that you don’t do that, though, since getting yourself ready for it can be of immense importance. It is true as many in India have suggested, that this is in all truth, a more deeply fundamental state which is less something that you reach for but is instead something that you already are. It seems to be activated, but it is more like waking up to what you already are. It is your get out of jail free card. I ask; are you really ready to be that free?

I am doing some research for my book that helps to support an awareness I have had that the shift that we call awakening is mirrored in the brain and that this shift is one that leads to a flowering or catalyzing of a greater amount of the right brain functions in us. To keep it short and sweet, I will mention that current research has shown that the right brain, most notably the right frontal cortex, is considered to be the seat of many mystical experiences.  it is also the part of us that is most capable of glimpsing the very big picture that the experience of nonduality offers.  But along with this blooming of the right brain also comes the emotions that have been associated with that part of our brain, which is most notably feelings related to sadness.

Is the right brain sad?

In a sense, the answer is….kind of.  Our capacity to experience or process feelings of sadness do appear to be located right alongside our mystical experiences.  This part of the brain has been associated with the experience of deja-vu, sensing “Presence” (spiritual beings, God/Goddess, etc.) and being able to see how things are connected in our lives and world.  It is, in a word, one important way that we are able to perceive the “implicate order” of the cosmos and builds this awe-inspiring sense of how everything is quite literally completely interconnected.

So if the right brain allows us to sense deep into our sorrow, does the left brain do something different?  Turns out that it does!  And this is an important tool for each of you reading this who have struggled with awakening symptoms and effects.  While you may feel as though you have been launched into another world by this experience, the lesson here is that you might need to consider bringing your left brain along with you, too!  The left brain has been shown to allow us to tap into our more positive forward-looking emotions.  While its important to recognize what ails you, its just as important to know how to pick yourself back up with your left brained capacity to feel positive about life.

I think it really is all a question of balance, personally.  I find that people who are more analytical tend not to let the weight of the world get them down, but many times they also can ignore the material that needs careful processing in order to get through it properly. This could represent a kind of cognitive and emotional blind-spot of sorts.  On the other hand, getting too deep into the sorrow end of things is just as bad because it can become a trap.  I know.  When my awakening took a sudden turn in 2009 after about three years of symptoms related to it, I found that my right brain was called upon to deal with the sheer volume of stuff flowing into me.  Correspondingly, I came upon a place in my inner work that I write about in my book that I call the Sea of Sorrow.  At first my inclination was to just face this sorrow and let it out.  I spent time each day just letting myself cry.  That was a big first for me since before this experience, I could only think of a couple of instances in my adult life where I was actually able to have a good cry.  I had learned the well-worn ways of being a man who had to be depended upon to be that emotional rock for everyone else around him.  The only problem with this is that…..we are not rocks. So getting to this place I thought was a milestone.

I thought that I could just purge myself of all this sadness.  What I experienced was the sense that I was in a vast sea of emotion, a collective grief, if you will, and I went from thinking it was mine to realizing that this belonged to all of us.  The day came when I wised up and realized, “This is all of our work to purge if it even NEEDS to be purged…..this is just too much for any one person.”  With that, I set about doing meditations that showed me setting up a sail in my little boat away from these sorrowful waters.  I had to make the intention that this was no longer a place that would bring me any lasting benefit.  This was an issue for a different time. It may also be that this is an issue that we each will face in our own way, but getting down into the collective muck is not the answer.  I sense that this grief will be cleansed when enough of us chose to forgive and forget, seeing all of the hurt and deciding that it is time to just let it go. I also sense that higher force in us will have to do this work, and so I pray that if this is correct, that whatever in us that is able to do this, will do so.

As for the research and all of the official citations, I am saving that for my book.

So keep it balanced folks, and all the best of luck in all your work!

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