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Spiritual Teaching and Left/Right Brain Episode 1

Posted Jan 11 2009 5:02pm
A Stroke of Insight
One Youtube video that has had a large influence on my thinking about spiritual teaching is “A Stroke of Insight” by Jill-Bolte Taylor, posted below. Many people I have shown this video to have cried during the watching of it, as did I.

The combination of science and her own experience is the kicker for this. This combination allows the very left-brained way of thinking we are taught through the English system of instruction to be convinced of the reality of something else, something hidden from us for a long time.

This ‘something else’ we have been experiencing for our whole lives, but haven’t been given permission to explore it, or even know that it’s there. So, I would say to you, dear reader, *I* give you permission to do this. PLEASE do. To explore the teacher that exists within you through meditation- a right brain activity- and teach your right brain to dominate your left instead. You can then really harness the power of the left brain like Swami Sivananda did.

This internal experience of oneness, and lack of ego she experiences as she talks about her stroke in this video is could be seen as largely the goal of yoga practice. However, depending on the person who is experiencing it, this bliss and oneness can manifest in different forms. For example, Sri Ramakrishna would have episodes of just going into ‘samadhi’ by looking at anything and fall helpless and needing care for a periods of time ranging from a few minutes to months at a time. Apparently, as he got older, this was less random and disruptive to what we would consider regular life.

Still, as I say above, Swami Sivananda’s prodigious intellect was amplified by his samadhi experience, where he would keep many people typing at once on various books and correspondence. . I have heard
KrishnaDasin concert speaking about a man who while singing a chant he was learning from a long-time Neem Karoli Baba devotee, this devotee went into samadhi and stopped breathing for long stretches. His description of it is hilarious.

What struck me about this video was that it connected for me the many spiritual instructions I received while I was living at the ashram. All the instructions during the guided meditation portion of satsangs of “Be The Silence. Smell, Touch, Taste The Silence. That Silence is your True Self. Be One with that Silence Now.” really are instructions to move into the space of my right brain. This relieves my ego, located in the left brain, along with all my past hurts and emotional baggage, etc. All the wisdom of “Be Here Now” and Eckart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”, etc. all refer to this.

Since Yoga means union, then, we can say that the balancing of the two hemispheres of the brain- while very different- can be unified and used to exceed our limitations. Yoga provides many tools to do this, but intellectual striving alone simply WILL NOT DO IT. Lifestyle and attitudinal changes must slowly erode this intellectual wall we have largely built around ourselves; but then again, it can can come in a flash, in an instant, too. Struggle, exert- surely you will know God.

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