An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of July 7, 2008
Issued from the woods edge near Natchez, Mississippi, USA

RIGHT BRAIN, LEFT BRAIN

The other day on Public Radio a brain specialist described her own experience with a stroke that left the entire left hemisphere of her brain nonfunctional. Though the stroke was a tragedy, it afforded the specialist an opportunity to study the right brain/ left brain situation.

The human brain's left side is logical, practical, and fact-oriented while the right hemisphere deals with feelings, beliefs, symbols and "the big picture." More information and a visual test to determine whether you're more right- or left-brained oriented, is at http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22556281-661,00.html.

The brain specialist explained how our two brain hemispheres cooperate to produce "us." After listening to her I visualized each human personality as being like a 3-D image suspended in space where light-like beams from two different brain-projectors pass through one another. Turn off one projector, or remove one side of the brain, and the resulting projected image, or personality, changes dramatically.

Maybe the most interesting feature of the brain specialist's story was how she found being without a left brain an ecstatic experience. During the early days of her not having a functioning left hemisphere she lived in a world in which she couldn't speak, but she experienced the effects of colors, textures and shapes with profound intensity, very much like someone on LSD. Sometimes during her rehabilitation, as her left brain gradually came back online -- as she learned again the complex facts of life and began realizing how she fit into a large, often frustrating and threatening world -- she often asked herself if she really wanted that left hemisphere back in her life.

Stroke victims who lose the right side of their brain instead of the left undergo completely different experiences. Such folks often find themselves overwhelmed as their left-brain hemispheres obsess on the ordering and details of life's events while being unable to judge which details are more important than others, and what they all mean.

In the workings of the two-hemisphered human brain, then, we see that the Creator isn't content having us humans all the time sitting around admiring clouds and feeling good. Nor does She want us to behave like super-rational automatons. She wants emotions to color our rationality, and She wants us to concern ourselves with both the minutia of life as well as the big picture. To me, the two-hemisphered brain is no less than a spiritual imperative to follow The Middle Path.

Thinking like this, The Middle Path reveals itself to be very much more than a compromise between opposites, or the meeting place of extremes. The Middle Path is a miraculous state as charged with its own possibilities as a human personality is when it ignites into being as a right brain hemisphere and a left brain hemisphere focus their energies onto the same spot, and self-awareness erupts. Facebook Icon.