Our sense of self is a self construct, a made up fiction created by left brain narratives. If you’re thinking what…let me explain some brief thoughts after reading the book No Self No Problem by Dr Chris Niebauer, a professor in cognitive neuropsychology.
If you stop to notice, there is a voice in your head narrating a constant stream of thoughts. We are often lost in thought recounting stories to ourselves about what just happened, what almost happened, what should have happened, and what might yet happen.
Most of this is simply made up. It’s the nature of our left brain.
Dr. V. S. Ramachandran, one of the most innovative neuroscientists of the twentieth century, found that the left brain’s role is one of beliefs and interpretation and that it had little regard for reality in making up its interpretations.
Two of the primary tools the left-brain interpreter uses is language and categorization.
Now contrast this to the right brain functioning, in the same way that the left brain is categorical, the right brain takes a more global approach to what it perceives.
Rather than dividing things into categories and making judgments that separate the world, the right brain gives attention to the whole scene and processes the world as a continuum.
Whereas the attention of the left brain is focused and narrow, the right brain is broad, vigilant, and attends to the big picture.
The left brain is sequential, separating time into “before that” or “after this,” while the right brain is focused on the immediacy of the present moment.
Both aspects of left and right brain development and functioning are necessary to live life to the fullest. It’s not that one side of the brain is better than the other. More so to bring into balance both aspects of the left and right brain especially if you find yourself in the grip of your left brain’s constant mental chatter.
So how do we turn down some of the left brain noise and turn up the right brain ?
Think of an activity that makes you feel relaxed, calm, content and peaceful. You’ll notice it’s because that activity slows your left brain storytelling. In those activities you feel present, in the moment, absorbed in such a way that you lose track of time.
Activities like yoga, tai chi, meditation and mindfulness all help access right brain consciousness and are focused on experiences in the present moment and in doing and being in a way that is beyond thinking and language.
Earlier I asked you to think of an activity that helped you feel calm, content, relaxed and at peace. It may be things like meditation or perhaps playing a sport, or listening to music or playing a musical instrument, gardening, surfing, walking on the beach, or the awe you feel in nature. All of these activities help you be more present and in the moment.
If you are feeling overwhelmed from the overthinking of the left brain try to turn that down and turn up your right brain with some of these activities.