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What is A “1?”

We Only Use 10% of Our Brain!left-brain-right-brain2

I don't know about you but I have heard more than once the saying that we only use 10% of our brains. If that were true, in theory we could go in and remove 90% of brain without any repercussions, assuming of course we got the inactive 90%. We all know that isn't true so the "using only 10% of our brain" statement is false, at least from a literal point of view. While it is true is that we may not be using all of our brain at any one time, i.e. sleeping, we definitely use all of our brain. In some cases, if even a tiny part of our brain is damaged, it can have devastating results.

Despite what you may think or feel about the e-mail/article I posted entitled Stepping Out of the Boat of Ordinary Reality, there was something in it that I want to mention one more time.

I recommended you google "Jill Bolte Taylor" and watch her 20 minute video on You Tube or Ted Video. This morning I found in my e-mails a link to the Oprah website where there is a transcript of Jill relating the events of her stroke etc. It was so "devastating" that at one point in her recovery, her mom was re-teaching her daughter, Jill, the neuroanatomist at Harvard basic math, and by basic math I mean one plus one. At one point, Jill turned to her mom and asked her "What is a one?" Can you imagine a brilliant research scientist not comprehending what a "1" was?

I would encourage you to go to

www.oprah.com/slideshow/oprahshow/20080904_tows_stroke/1 (if it doesn’t show, there are underscores after 20080904 and after tows)

and read Jill's words. In one photo accompanying the story you will actually see three human brains, one healthy and one in which a stroke occurred that probably resulted in immediate death. It was third one that struck me the most. Some of you know that I have worked at times for Federal Express delivering packages. It isn't unusual for me to deliver to nursing homes and bluntly, some of them can be extremely depressing places to enter, even for just a few minutes while I drop off a package.

It just seems wrong on some deep level that so many human beings should end up so diminished physically and mentally in their later years. I cannot be sure but if God sheds tears, I would think there would be few things that would cause those tears to flow more than the state of many of His/Her older children who have experienced devastating and debilitating physical and mental catastrophes and often spend their last years in a nursing home surviving or perhaps more accurately "barely living."

The third brain was that of a person that Jill speculates would have experienced a devastating stroke and would probably end up in a nursing home perhaps for a lengthy time. The right side of that brain had atrophied and virtually disappeared. Literally, this person ended up with basically half a brain. It is heart breaking to consider what that person had to endure.

Dad isn’t himself anymore

This isn’t really Mom

As I viewed that third brain with the right side virtually gone, it struck me that as that as the right side of that brain shrivelled up and died, so too did much of that person. Over time the family saw that person change and Mom or Dad wasn't the same person that they knew all their lives. Words like "Dad isn't himself anymore" or "this isn't really Mom" would have been said with great sadness. Again, something deep down resonates in me that this shouldn't be so. I cannot imagine what it must be like for families who have to endure the agony of Alzheimer's Disease.

As I pondered this, some thoughts emerged. Let's go back to the "you only use 10% of your brain fallacy" and reconsider that statement. Its origins are debated but perhaps an early 1900s quote played a role in the saying. William James wrote in 1908: "We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources" (from The Energies of Men, p. 12).

 We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.

Perhaps a more accurate statement might be something like this - "We are using all of our brain but we are not using it to the degree possible, nor as efficiently as is possible" and if I could go further and change it even more, perhaps we could say that it isn't the "brain" so much that we aren't using as it is the infinite intelligence, potential and possibilities that lie within us that are being neglected and lying dormant. The brain is simply the computer. We are neglecting all the fantastic software that could be used by the brain. We aren't tapping into the infinite stream of intelligence and creativity that lies within every person, that part of each of us that is the image of God."

During her stroke, Jill Bolte Taylor experienced something profound. She experienced the right side of her brain like she never had before. She experienced the right side of her brain while the left side was virtually non-functional. I would suggest to you that she definitely experienced an altered state of consciousness and a non-ordinary reality that she didn't know existed previously. It is a reality that I believe Jesus, for example, was very familiar with. It is a reality where people can walk on water, where healing of the body, soul and spirit can occur and it is a place where oneness exists, where separation and division fade into oblivion. It is a place of peace and serenity and joy and ecstasy.

... it is the salvation that results in humanity being whole and when one is truly whole, one will also be “holy,” not in a religious sense but definitely spiritually!

It is the place where salvation is experienced, not a salvation from some place of eternal punishment (which is by the way totally foreign to the nature of God who is life and love) but it is the salvation that results in humanity being whole and when one is truly "whole" one will also be "holy," not in a religious way but definitely spiritually! It is a place of infinite freedom where every weight, every bondage that causes us to miss the mark of expressing who we truly are, of expressing our truly divine nature has disappeared. It is the eternal state of bliss which is the very nature of the kingdom or presence of God. It is experiencing the joy and wonder of the timeless NOW.

There is a story in the Bible that has I think many meanings. It is the story of the "fall" of Adam and Eve and ultimately humanity. In it the "two" are to become "one" and as such, the loss of either one would be tragic for it is the two becoming one that results in wholeness. Perhaps on an esoteric level, we have come to a time when it is time for the left and right side of brains to become "one." To put it another way, perhaps we have come to a time when our humanity will discover our divinity and the two will merge into one. What would that look like? For me, the best example that I am aware of is Jesus.

Spiritually speaking, I think I’ve been trying to access the spiritual, non-ordinary reality that Jill Bolte Taylor experienced with "one part of my brain tied behind my back" and in answer to a question that I think Dr. Phil asks "And how is that working for you?" -- I would say "Not very well." One of the benefits of the shamanic workshop that we participated in was the awareness of how many barriers and boundaries I have erected around myself and how much I seek to stay within the walls/comfort zone (often called doctrines) I have erected in my life. Included in that awareness was how much my spiritual "right brain," including my imagination, has atrophied."

As a kid, I travelled with Sherlock Holmes on every one of his adventures. 221B Baker was a real place that I went to every time I picked up one of the stories about Holmes and Watson. I had no problem seeing the cobblestone streets of London and the hansom that Holmes and Watson rode in. And yet at the workshop, I struggled to simply imagine a hawk in my mind. I struggled to envision a small lake that not only did I sit and gaze upon while in Maine but actually used a picture of said lake as a desk top screen saver on my computer.

I cannot help but think of the words of Jesus. In the KJV we read "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

According to a lexicon, the Greek word translated as "converted" metaphorically means "to turn one’s self from one’s course of conduct, i.e. to change one’s mind."

“Unless we around and go back and become and start to think as little children, we will not experience the bliss, the joy, the ecstasy, the peace and the wonder that comes from experiencing the kingdom of God.”

To paraphrase "experiencing the kingdom of God, "we won't experience all that comes from the presence of the divine, the presence of infinite intelligence and possibility."

As crazy as it sounds, little children have no problem with the concept of non-ordinary worlds where animals talk and people can fly and healing can take place instantly. They have no problem talking to angels, or lions or dare I say,  faeries and gnomes. They have no problem travelling to other worlds and going back into the past or venturing forward into the future. Of course we adults "know" that all of that is pure fantasy, it isn't real. Our analytical, logical, reasoning, literal left brain will tell us that over and over but....

I wonder what would happen if our left brains shut down for a few moments. I wonder if our holistic, intuitive, creative right brain might have something very different to say about all of that.

It isn't possible to stand in a shower and be unable to define your own physical boundaries, to be unable to define where you begin and end? It isn't possible for that to happen, especially to a neuroanatomist. And yet...... it happened!

Perhaps it is time for us to realize that the suggestion that "we only use 10% of our brain" would require us to be able to measure the capabilities of our brain. That might be possible if it weren't for one thing.... how can we measure the infinite?

Blessings, shalom, namaste

Doug Trudell

 

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