Thank you very much to Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor for her inspiring book which I thoroughly enjojed and through which I gained many insights.
About 20 years ago I came across a meditation technique called Sahaja Yoga which completely changed my perception of reality and of myself. I have since been practicing regularly twice a day using the technique allowing me to live my day to day life in a more balanced way and enjoy the benefits on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels.
It happened one Sunday morning through my wife who had been practicing Sahaja Yoga for some time. The technique is based on the awakening of the latent residual spiritual power which we all have in the Sacrum bone at the base of the spine, known as Kundalini in the ancient tradition of Yoga. When awakened it rises through the spinal cord passing through variuos energy centres (chakras)to reach the fontanel bone area on the top of the head where it unites with the all pervading power of Divine love. I felt this experience as a gush of energy similar to a cool breeze flowing from the top of my head and entered into a state of complete thoughtlessness and well-being which lasted all day. I felt completely carefree and joyfull and nothing in the world could disturb me.
After that I started meditating regulary and would often find myself in a state of complete mental silence, devoid of any activity on both the left and right hemispheres of the brain with my attention drawn to the centre of the brain corresponding to the limbic area, activated by the Kundalini. In that state I would experience the oneness of everything as descibed by Dr. Taylor, accompanied by a feeling of unconditional love for all. I would find myself totally absorbed in the experience of the present, completly aware yet without any thoughts or reactions.
Then another incredible thing happened. I started perceiving my subtle energy sytem within directly on my central nervous system. In meditation I would feel any blocks or unbalances in my chakras (energy centres in corrispondence of nerve plexesus)and nadis (channels corrisponding to the sympathatic nervous system) and over time I learned how to correct these unbalances through the action of the power of the Kundalini.
I hope this technique may be of use to you as it has been to me.
Dear Seeker, 1. Thank you very much to all, even those advertising their schools.
2. THERE IS NO "Balance Brain Techniques" HERE WHATSOEVER! MIGHT BE I WAS SO UN ATTENTIVE, FORGIVE ME PLEASE. MIGHT BE IT WOULD BE MORE FAIR TO CHANGE THE TAG. Let us consider a more fair tag -"Balance Brain CHATTING" or "Balance Brain FORUM".
3. HOLISTIC. How many of us tried to analyze the fact that thinking, marveling the state, using even the right hemisphere still proves that ones deal with body, BODY, level. Pardon me, for being so direct, I found no one expecting to go further. One might think that he/she is able to plunge into meditation just without any additional actions previously performed and still be successful in meditation. Let us be frank, it's impossible. In effect, there are a lot of things shell be considered: (1) previous experience, say, memory; how to up-root bad trait for good and entirely? or it will flourish with tripled power; (2) usual or habitual state of affairs falsely deemed acceptable; (3) enormous, dramatic amount of chemicals stored in our body precluding the seeker to achieve even relatively clear condition, condition without any thoughts shell not even mentioned here, it is useless...; (4) bad food; don't you people feel it? when food prepared by someone preoccupied with material thoughts, in crown of it all food prepared with meat, fish, garlic, onion...; polished with thoughts of a seller ... (5) etc. corrupted character, bad habits, feeble health... let us stop.
The seeker who is open minded will dig the meaning of HOLISTIC in regards of meditation. Meditation is the 7th level, which shell reside firmly in concentration of a very high level, that, in its turn, resides in control of all 5+2 inner energies... if energies not harnessed there will be illness...
Along with that I humbly ask forgiveness for chatting here. I had no intention to ridicule someone, my true motive was to provide the true seeker with necessary alert, hint, alternative info.
(I am not a teacher, I am not the one who might provide with accurate advise. I'm not.)
By just giving attention to the left side of my body, I feel oneness peacefull complete thoughtless, I get a smile on my face. After reading an article of Jill Bolte Taylor in the Dutch magazine Happinez about her experience with the right side of the brain I have the feeling that we have the same experience. You can enter it via the body or via the right side of the brains. I am a yoga teachter and meditate daily.
What a way to start a topic huh? It will happen. It is genetic. Mygrandmother died in my mothers arms, my Dad had two, one at age 48 another at age 69. Now my brother at age 64. He knew it would come and tried to prevent it, everything. I am 56,57 in March. Scariest part is that I have had migraines for 28 years like Dr. Taylor and unresponsive to tx. A couple of Zomig sprays might work. See her book, page 90 on migraines. I do all I can, it will happen.
My dad had a stroke 4 months and 3-wks ago. He spent the whole time, until his recent transfer, in a hospital... in what they called a stroke ward. A few days after his stroke, they told us that he had bleeding in his frontal lobe, on the right side of his brain. He experienced MANY hallucinations, mood swings and became physically abusive to a couple of the nurses. He still remains paralyzed on his left side, to this day. They began treating him with medication used most commonly for patients with dementia. It seemed to have worked... it took away his hallucinations and calmed him down, completely. Although I give no credit to the staff at this hospital, he was bed ridden or left sitting up in a wheel chair for the few months as they had no ides how to treat him, for his type of stroke... but they treat most of their patients the same way.
I mentioned that he was transfered to a more permanent residence... we were originally told that he would be with people with the same type of condition.... it turns out to be a physchiatric ward in a mental hospital. With patients that literally live on a 20 to 60 sec loop of repetitive behavior. He is getting really good physio there, but a huge concern for me in his state, that is still child like... could he start to adopt, (if you will) the way they behave. He's going to be there for a while, 5 to 6 months...I 'm very concerned and I did read your book!
I just completed my first 10 day Vipassana course at the center in California. The whole environment is set up to reduce the left hemisphere busyness (no communication during the course, quiet, serene rural setting, ego is diminished by everybody sharing the same accomodations and food, no contact with the outside world for the duration of the course) while enhancing the right hemisphere (10plus hours of meditation daily, teaching how to observe bodily reactions and staying in the NOW, learning to quiet the mind). I still meditate an hour twice a day and the best I can describe the feeling is that I am sitting in the lap of God during these times. Total peace and serenity. If anyone is interested in a Vipassana course, log on to www.dhamma.org The course benefitted me on so many levels, I am still in awe of the whole experience.
Loved every second of the Dr. Taylor's book. Aspects of the left hemisphere loss are reflective of my cognitive loss with ADD (when the Meds fade) and the effects of PTSD and TBI with the military population I work with. The healing process seems to advance with lots of rest and it is rest from the left side chatter and directives.
I use a self-directing process (non-verbal) that comes from Dr. Steven Porges' Poly-Vagal Theory. Using the concept of a bilateral connection between the heart, guts and right hemisphere, I simply locate my focus of attention (consciousness) from this "heart" place and let it radiate outwards. Who knows where it (consciousness) is happening. The important thing is that we (client's) and I can learn to communicate (experience) from this place and re-enter the world with this skill. The automatic reactions to stimuli still happen, however, the sense of self-control is profound. With or without the need to pass through 90 minutes because you are watching aspects of yourself affected from aspects that are not (at least not to the same degree).
This process is also critical to consider and contrast with the therapeutic industries use of cognitive therapies and especially stories told over and over for veterans and trauma. Using Dr. Taylor's information and experiencing its process with reducing PTSD will / can transform the way we treat our military/veteran/families.
Immediate reaction, yes, but pause and consider your response
Dr. Jill's concept of 90 seconds of emotional reaction is a wonderful adjunct to the technique I work towards. I try to notice my emotional reactions now. (I wonder why we don't teach our children about the difference between emotional reactions, the 90 seconds and that they pass?) I learned about this only late in life. So now that I am aware, I work to notice my emotional reaction, pause, and then formulate a thoughtful, mindful response.
People often jump into my pause and don't give me a chance to respond. This is irritating but I find that by allowing this, most of the time, the conversation winds its way to a point where I do get to express my thought. And we end up with a much better result.
Try it! It is not easy to change your habits but the benefits are immediate and huge. good luck.
When I meditate, I sit in meditation position and just feel what I'm feeling. I feel the sensation or the energy. When I first started doing this, I would feel the energy inside my body. Perhaps, I would feel tension in some part of my body (a sore upper back perhaps). I would put my attention on the sore area and over time I would start naturally breathing, yet directing my breath into the sore area. By doing that, I decreased the pain and discomfort in that area of my body. After some time, the sensation or energy seemed to move further away (outward) from my body. I had to energetically stretch and reach out in order to feel the sensation. It was difficult to reach; just like if you were stretching or reaching to grab something that was just out of your grasp. But, I kept reaching and stretching until one day I felt like I grabbed the sensation. Then, I just felt the sensation. I noticed that when I would feel that sensation it was less painful and uncomfortable and it somehow was connected to my physical body. I knew that it was connected to my physical body because when I would feel it and keep my attention on it for a period of time and breath into that space, my physical body would relax more and also any pain or discomfort in my physical body that was connected with that particular part, of what I am assuming is my energy body, would decrease. I had the thought that I was touching my energy body that encased my physical body and that explained why when I touched it (my energy body) it affected, in a positive way, my physical body.
The most important factor regarding the "feeling" is to just feel exactly what is. If it feels uncomfortable, I feel the discomfort. I stay with the feeling. If the feeling is the shape of a tube, I notice the shape. If I notice shades (darkness, light), I notice that. I just take in what is there. I don't try to change it and I don't try to move away from it. The closer I am to it, the better. It's as if I am aligning myself (my consciousness) with the energy that is around me (encasing me).
It feels very peaceful and very healing.
I am very grateful for Dr. Jill's experience and her acumen at describing exactly what occurred. To the Western mind, it makes it "real". I think this will help society not be able to make excuses anymore that it is just hippy dippy stuff. To have someone clearly describe nirvana from a scientific standpoint is a marriage between science and spirituality that has been long desired, I think, by many.
Like Peter Bull (entry#49), I too am a Vipassana Medititor as taught by Mr. S.N. Goenka. Dr. Taylor's experiences with the stroke do indeed mirror the experiences that occur with Vipassana Meditation. 'Vipassana' means Insight, or to see things as they really are.
There are many approaches to Vipassana meditation. I can only speak to the power and efficacy of the technique as taught by Mr. S.N. Goenka - it is quite powerful in its effects on the brain and bringing people to a 'right-sided brain conciousness'. I certainly encourge interested folks to check it out. There are Vipassana meditation centers teaching this technique all over the world.
Another note - this technique has also been featured on Oprah's Soul Series via an interview with Jenny Phillips about her self produced film "The Dhamma Brother" - a documentaary about teaching prisoners Vipassana meditation, the experiences of the prisoners, and helping them to become more peaceful and purposeful while serving life sentances in prison.
Usually people tend to mix mind with their "inner me", which is not quite right. Ekhart Tolle had a strange 'awaykening' and realise that we are not our thoughts. This is very important - if you need to "get out of your mind" than you must realise that you and your mind (the 'voice' you hear inside your head) are not the same. Also, I strongly encourage you to search within youtube, a short presentation of what is the 'Apyral Dynamics' - maybe you can identify yourself within a Level of conciousness and therefore become more simple to see yourself as a growing human being. Thus understanding your needs and wishes becomes unexpectadly easy... PS - On youtube, please search for 'Levels of conciousness - Spiral Dynamics' - I could not the link...
I'm a Christian. One technique that I use to connect to God, and focus on Him is to speak in tongues. I find that "tongues" can be used in 2 ways. One--may be close to "meditation." By using my mind to speak in this way, and focus my thought on it, I use more and more of my right brain, and focus less on the tasks I have. I focus on the "who" I am, not the "what I must do." And I think of God and me and love.... By constant use of the tongue and language centers, it helps lessen the control of the part of my mind that wants to analyze.
I read a book looking at what happens in the brain during "God-interactions" in people. There is a disassociation with part of the brain. I believe that science is watching what is happening chemically and physically, while the mind is "knowing" and "experiencing" what is happening (within the body and with the body's assistance).
(The other way "tongues" operates is when I'm "stimulated" by the Holy Spirit, by a thought, to begin moving my tongue in praise or prayer, and then He "takes over" and different sounds, like a language comes, which I am not directing. A few times I have "known", without using analysis, what the ideas in "tongues" are concerning.) This use of tongues is NOT what I am referring to for use in this forum.
The polarity of Narcissism is between self-importance and inadequacy, with the feeling of inadequacy causing one to project self-importance. Confessing inadequacy, much like Catholics confess sinfulness, may open a channel for a response to a prayer for help. I have been focusing on this confession and prayer through much of my day lately, asking for help in staying aware of the presence of a greater power moment to moment, and I think I feel better for doing so. Hooray for me, the important person, no? -- Aloha ~~~ Ozzie Maland ~~~ San Diego
...balance is achieved by stepping to the left of your right hemisphere? If I'm already (predominantly) on the right-hand side, and wish to identify more with the left (because in all honesty, if I wish for more left-brained people to understand me, perhaps I have to understand them first?), then are your viewpoints in disagreement to that?
Many of my personal traits could be described as ambidextrous. I feel like I can categorically do lots of things - either creatively or logically/lineal - and even give such a perception to those around me, but really I can only rely on my dexterous and spatial traits to be true and honest: I often feel like I've abandoned my left hemisphere for fear of failure... maybe that doesn't make any sense. Maybe it does?
I think an important point is being missed here. A balanced brain means we have to listen to and acknowledge the left brain and not just try to escape it and skip over to the right. As Dr Jill said she decided which parts of her left brain she wanted back, in order to do that she had to listen to what it was saying. She trained it through constant awareness and saying yes or no a thousand times a day. A trained left brain allows the right side to come through naturally. Ignoring it, virtually saying its no good, give me the right side of love and peace, is not the way to go. Our left side is very important but we need to take control of it and not let it control us. Training the left side of the brain is hard work and needs constant attention in the present moment - which is exactly where we access the right side. It is important that meditating brings us into the present moment, helps to make us aware - aware of ourselves both internally and externally as well as everything that surrounds and is a part of us. The thinking distracts us but if we listen and acknowledge without building on it, it will go away naturally. And the more we do it, the more we access the peace and love of the right brain without force, without strain, it just comes all by itself.
I was so fascinatied by your book, pictures and movies.Your speech is so powerful, encouraging and influential. I thank you first of all. I was also very impressed with your stained glass brain (Unfortunately the picture is not shown in the recently published Japanese version of your book, so I did not have an idea what it was like until I bought the original English book and saw your homepage). I am a psychotherapist having experience of practicing sandplay with brain damanged people. I was often fascinated by the the sandplay scenes made by those with aphasia.Your book gave me hints and ideas about how they were feeling, what they were thinking, and how they might have stepped to the right brain.
Personally, I have been suffering from bipolar disorder. When I was severely depressed, my mind was filled with negative thoughts and I was dying to stop the "brain chatter", or just all of my thinking function. Making sandplay scenens under a trained sandplay therapist has helped turn away from this negative direction (thought and emotional circuitry)and move towards the opposite way. Though invisible, this, I think involves "stepping to the right brain".
Thanks to your book, I have gained new ideas for my dream, which is to show how the sandplay therapy would help many people trapped with left brain diseases, so to speak, (There are many "rehabilitation refugees" in Japan who cannot receive appropriate rehabilitaion. And more than 30,000 people commit suicide each year in our country).