Monday, May 16, 2011

Judging and Assessing Ourselves: Left Brain vs. Right Brain/Body/Heart

It's so easy, when you're focused in your left brain, to criticize yourself, to not "measure up." Remember that the left brain, which dominates the overall perception and mores of our Western culture, is isolated from the rest of the organism. In its action of analyzing and making meaning, it must separate to gain perspective and to describe the object of its attention. Thus it stands apart and can easily feel either that it is at the effect of a huge, unwieldy, dangerous world (victim-thinking), or that it is superior and "the leader" or even the dictator of what occurs (narcissism).

In reality, the left brain's compartmentalization helps to discriminate finite observations and a scientific, logical understanding of discrete facts. This is a fantastic ability, and not to be belittled. But the left brain doesn't know enough to run the world. The left brain focuses on provable facts and what it knows from the past. When you identify with your left brain, you too may feel isolated, fearful, and critical of ways of being that are not logical and structured, or based on history. You may tend to make authoritative declarative pronouncements about life, or project sharp criticisms onto others who don't align with your worldview.

I repeatedly see that I, and my clients, say that we are "stuck" when we are simply identifying ourselves with the limited options provided by our left brain. We know there is a bigger reality close at hand. We know things are meant to be effortless, and so much easier. We know that we want a much more expanded experience of love. Yet we hesitate to leave an abusive mate, or a job where we are surrounded by people who don't question reality, who don't want greater depth. We, and our culture, are so attached to a worldview rooted in skeptical, cynical left-brain dominance that we have forgotten what it's like to be a functioning, sharing, fluid, supported part of life's loving flow. We stand outside life and complain that we can't feel love, can't feel connectedness, don't feel like we belong. Here's the good news: We're experiencing life this way because we describe life to ourselves this way. Change the self-talk and your understanding changes, and as you really "get it" through and through, your life changes and expands.

I am sharing a section from my book, The Intuitive Way, about making the shift from the left brain worldview, which I call masculine awareness, into the right brain/intuitive worldview, which I call feminine awareness. When you can remember to do this, you'll immediately release the logjam of your stuckness and the flow will reappear, carrying you somewhere new.


Once you’ve made peace with your surroundings and assured your body that it will be safe, it’s time to activate your intuition. It starts with a shift into softness.

First, though, think how you feel when you’re concentrating on pushing hard to meet a deadline and do an excellent job. Your brow is probably furrowed, you’re bent to your task, all distracting input effectively shut out. This is what I call the “masculine mind,” because to accomplish specific goals, both men and women must use dynamic male energy. We’re in our left-brained “masculine mind” so often, we’ve come to identify it as normal. We forget there is an equally powerful, complementary state of consciousness, which is tension-free: the “feminine mind.” Here’s how you can tell if you’re using the feminine mind: 1) you’re not in a hurry; 2) you don’t have an opinion; 3) you don’t need to change anything; 4) if it changes, that’s OK too; 5) you’re willing to wait and see; 6) you’re content with yourself. How often do you intentionally enter this state of mind?

Lao Tsu says, “Be aware of your masculine nature; But by keeping the feminine way, You shall be to the world like a canyon, Where the Virtue eternal abides, And go back to become as a child.” Intuition starts when the masculine mind stops. Since we push ourselves to maintain focus and goal-orientation so relentlessly these days, when it’s time to shift into softness, it often happens unconsciously. Something just “comes over us,” makes us space out and temporarily turn into zombies. With so many deadlines to keep, the unconscious shift toward intuitive knowing can at first feel like some sort of sabotage, or the early onslaught of senility! We can avoid this blurry “nobody’s home” feeling by becoming conscious of the stages of feminine awareness. Next time you notice that you’re wound too tight, or you’re too far ahead of yourself, try this:

Relax your brain-mind then draw your attention back to your body, redirecting it to start noticing details of your current physical state. Follow your breath in and out. Come inside your skin. Slow down enough to describe the things you feel in a simple fashion, just the way they are, as though you’re taking inventory. “I notice I’m sitting in my desk chair; there’s some tension between my shoulder blades, my feet are crossed at the ankles. I notice a slight nervous feeling at the base of my sternum. I am hungry. I can feel my pulse in the bottoms of my feet.” By noticing things, you connect with your world. Connectedness spawns intuition.

In these times of rapid growth, it's important to cultivate the habit of catching yourself when you've identified yourself with the left brain's worldview, and make a conscious choice to shift to the right brain/body/heart/cells/personal energy field worldview, which is characterized by immersion and nonseparation, or total belonging and participation in the unified field of life. When you do you will experience love in an entirely new way.

Copyright by Penney Peirce Communications 2011