Friday, September 17, 2010

If I Quiet My Mind, Will I Get Anything Done?

In the last entry, I talked about the inner chatter of the left brain.  It may be helpful to know that this inner chatter has developed over time as a means to "keep us going."  We use mental prompts to take action, we use fear and anxiety provoking thoughts to drive us forward, or hold us back.

As we practice quieting our left brain in order to access the power of the right brain, the left brain may feel threatened.  After all, it's been running the show for quite a while.  It may say things like:

"If you quiet me, you won't get anything done..." or...
"You need me to keep you on task..." or...
"If I quiet my mind, will I know what to say, or do? Will I be able to perform, keep up, be brilliant!"

The truth is, brilliance comes from the right brain (soul), and your left brain (ego) knows that.  So the left brain might be feeling a little insecure with your attempts to quiet it and be guided by the right brain.  

As weird as it seems, it's like there are 2 of us - our ego (which is expressed through the left brain), and our soul (which is expressed through the right brain).

Reassure your left brain that you're on the same team. That you both want the same thing.  Let it know you still need it, and that you value its expertise.  We need our left brain's skills to carry out the guidance from the right brain.

Remember, a calm mind is an effective mind.  
A quiet mind is an intelligent mind. 

You'll still get a lot fact, you'll probably get more done.  And it's a lot more fun from your higher mind, rather than from fear, anxiety and comparing and competing.

Keep practicing!  It's worth it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Inner Voice of the Left Brain

Lately I've made it a practice to notice and observe the inner voice of my left brain.  This is the ongoing dialogue inside my head that informs me of logistics, to-do items, comments, comparisons, etc.

It sounds something like "don't forget to do call this person, I'm hot, I'm tired, I'm not sure how to do this, I don't know enough, there's not enough time to do what I have to do..."  There seems to be 3 general categories of the left-brain dialogue.  I see them as: 

1) helpful sorting of information in order to make a decision or take an action 
2) unhelpful comments based in insecurity 
3) manager/boss type comments about action items, to-do's, etc

I decided to play with these voices and interact with it a little differently.  I began to see the "insecure" comments as needy children wanting my attention (perhaps parts of me that had "split off" or didn't get what they needed).

Instead of trying to ignore them or push them away, I simply listened from my right brain (the compassionate, neutral observer) and every time I'd hear a comment, I'd simply say to it, "thank you, I love you." (derived from the Ho'oponopono Hawaiian Prayer). 

I saw the manager voice as the CEO in my head trying to keep me on track.  Instead of getting stressed or reacting to the voice, I again said, "thank you, I love you."

I did this over and over consistently for a full 2 days. After a while, they began to quiet down.  In fact at one point, when the manager/CEO stood up to tell me something to do, I started to say, "thank...." and it interrupted me and said, "yeah, yeah, I got it." and it "sat down" and became quiet.  It was quite humorous!

It was a great experiment in shifting to the right brain throughout my day, and taking action from a place of true power, calm and clarity.  It found it liberating and expanding.  The left-brain voices are part of me...but they don't need to run the show.  Of course, it is an ongoing practice from here.

Action: Try noticing  your own inner voices, and experiment with interacting with them a little differently.  Find a way that feels right to you to give them what they need, without giving them all of your power. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Conscious Listening (Right Brain)

One way of listening is "Reactive Listening." This is ego-based listening, or left brain. When we are listening to someone and we are unconsciously judging, comparing and evaluating, it is a way to hold the ego identity in place. It helps us form opinions, which helps the ego feel more real. You may remember from the 2nd blog entry, when we form an opinion just for the sake of opinion (not associated with a decision or action), then we are in the left brain, or the ego.

The other way is "Conscious Listening." This is soul-based listening, or right brain. It is a purposeful way of listening with the intention of understanding, relating, or learning something new (either about ourselves or about someone else). By focusing our attention on suspending the inner commentary, we enter into the "real" (instead of the constructed reality of the ego/left brain). This reality is life-giving. It will feel different. It is sustaining, and offers the promise of real connection and unexpected outcomes versus predictable outcomes based on our past.

I tried this recently with my husband:

As we sat together on our day off, I suspended my habitual way of conversing. Normally I would comment on problems to solve, stuff to do, and scheduling questions, etc. I noticed these thoughts (instead of speaking them as they came in), and brought by attention back to the moment. If a thought pulled me into the past or the future, I didn’t go with it. Instead, I focused on what was happening right then in the moment.

The empty discomfort turned to spaciousness. It felt good. We unexpectedly ended up listening to music, and dancing for 4 hours! My energy picked up. It felt spontaneous and alive. By letting go of our habitual way of relating to each other, unexpected ways of connecting became available. You could call it “soul inspired.”

It’s worth it to travel through the discomfort of letting go of a “left brain based” conversation and enter into the unknown waters of a “right brain based” conversation.

Action: Try Conscious Listening this week with someone, and see how it feels.

Note: Reactive and Conscious Listening is drawn from Shifra Hendrie, Living a Miraculous Life.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Shifting awareness to the Right Brain

When I first started trying to shift my focus to my right brain (in the first weeks of this experiment), it felt a little disorienting.  I was so used to identifying myself through my left brain (where the ego resides): a constant commentary running through my mind - discussing, comparing, judging, reminding me of things I need to do. 

When I would consciously try and shift to my right brain (by literally imagining it - focusing my attention on the right side of my head), I would get a slight headache.  It felt like a weak muscle needing to strengthened.

Another specific way to practice this is to shift your visual field from a narrow focus on specific objects in your field of view, to a "wide lens" field of view (peripheral vision).  I recommend trying this while in motion, such as walking, and not just in a sitting position or during meditation.  This exercise quiets the left brain, and activates the right brain - and is particularly helpful in making a quick shift during high activity, when the left brain would normally be dominant.

As I did this regularly throughout my day, it felt odd.  I felt kind of "blank" in my mind.  Instead of feeling good, my left brain immediately put its judgement on it to try and gain control back.  It would say things like, "this is boring, maybe I'm depressed, I won't be effective if I have a quiet mind, YOU NEED ME!!"

So right now it's about practice and noticing - lots of practice and noticing, so that the ability to consciously "switch platforms" becomes strengthened.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Horse (left brain) and Rider (right brain)

June 30, 2010

I woke up this morning with thoughts running through my head…so much to do, and the list is growing longer. Then I remembered that this is my left brain trying to cope, to control, and to “be in charge.”  This is what you want to watch out for. 

Whenever the mind is engaging in an “internal dialogue” that is not connected to a specific decision or action (in this case it was one thing after another…a rambling list with no clear direction or focus), then this is what can be called an “ego-based conversation.”

When you notice this kind of conversation (ie: “usually fueled by I should, I need to, I can’t, I’m afraid to, how can I do all of this”, etc), then remember that this is the left brain trying to “lead the horse.”  What we want is the right brain (higher mind) to be the rider, and the left brain is the horse.  In other words, the right brain sources and directs the left brain.  Direction or insight from right brain can be considered a “soul-based” conversation.

What to do?  Simply practice becoming aware of the left brain conversation in your mind.  Then intend to shift your awareness to the observer, the quiet, still place that is beyond that list, beyond that voice.  It is connected to a larger picture – it feels expansive, connected and at peace.  It’s always there, you simply need to intend to focus on it, even if you don’t know how yet. 

Practicing this will “build your muscle” for becoming a master of shifting platforms from the left brain to the right brain, and back again for taking specific, directed action.

Check back – I’ll be going into this in more detail in upcoming posts.

Action: Today, practice being aware of your left brain inner conversation (ego based) and right brain inner conversation (soul based).  Just notice and play with it.  The more you practice, the easier it will become to make the shift moment to moment – even in demanding situations. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Starting to play with the shift

I made the following notes in my journal in the first week of the experiment:

May 27:
I  was having a really intense sinus reaction to something - a cold? allergies?  My left brain wanted to name the problem, to figure out what it was, why it was there, and how I can make it go away.  Wanting answers!  Wanting relief! (as we all do with any physical discomfort).

So, one of my wise colleagues (Rachel Neumann), encouraged me to "NOT name it."  To be in the unknown (switch my focus from the left brain to the right brain).  

The right brain is the home of the unknown.  To live there can feel awkward and uncomfortable at first.  So, I sat for a few minutes and just noticed my breath, and imagined myself "releasing" all explanations and thoughts about my symptomsI simply noticed them from a quiet, observing place (the right brain).

I stayed in a place of "open receptivity" (also the home of the right brain) by simply observing instead of identifying with the symptoms.  My symptoms almost immediately dispersed, and were completely gone within 24 hours.

Try it for yourself!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Introducing the Right and Left Brain

As a start, I thought it would be good to introduce the overall functions of the right and left brain from a "consciousness" perspective (derived from the Living a Miraculous Life class I am taking).  Below is a list that is a starting point.  I will add to it as we go. This experiment will track my attempt to shift platforms from using my left brain as dominant, to using my right brain as dominant.  Why do this?  Take a look at the list below, and see what you think.  I'll let you know how it's going in my next entry!

Empowering use of the Left Brain:
  • Untangling confusion
  • Problem solving
  • Using discernment or judging to make a choice or a decision
Limiting use of the Left Brain:
  • Judging turns to judgment
  • Creating an opinion just for the sake of having an opinion (ie: self-talk of "I like this, I don't like that, it's not as good as before, I can't do that because...")
  • Perception based on what we know already: the past equals the future
Accessing The Right Brain: (could be considered "higher mind")

  • Allows for what it doesn't know yet (so it can feel uncomfortable)
  • Opens the gateway between the soul and the personality
  • Allows you to maximize your effect on your life by aligning the Right Brain, Left Brain, and Action
  • Co-creative power Highest Intelligence, expansive, learning, creating toward your destiny (the past does NOT equal the future)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What's so interesting about the right and left brain?

You may be wondering why I chose to focus on an experiment like this.  Why the right and left brain, and what does that have to do with being a conscious leader?  I will be answering this question in small "bites" as we go on this journey together.  

My intention is to keep these blog posts brief so that you can read them "at a glance" and yet gain meaningful, relevent information that you can apply to your work and your life.  Or, at the very least, that you find something intriguing enough to want to check back on the experiment. 

I started this specifc experiment on May 26, 2010 (about 2 weeks ago) because I was inspired by some infomation that I came across in a class that I am taking on "Living a Miraculous Life."  Those who are tracking the field of "consciousness" seem to agree that we are entering a time of "expansion and evolution."  

Yes, on the one hand it looks like everything is breaking down.  The other side of that coin, however, is that new possibilities for creating from our "higher mind" (the right brain) are increasingly accessible to us in these times.  What's so cool about that?  We'll be exploring that together as we go.

As I attempt to integrate my "higher mind" (right brain) amidst chaos and activity of daily life demands (left brain), I will share with you tips, pitfalls, successes and questions along the way.  I believe integrating the right and left brain is a doorway to transforming these turbulent times into a world we dream of - from the inside out.

Thanks for going on the ride with me!