By Christina Captain, DOM
As hurricane season approaches on the West Coast of Florida, the thought of preparedness comes to the forefront of most people’s minds. As a native of the state, I experienced Andrew while living in Miami and developed a tolerance for the fears surrounding the hurricane issue. Preparation is a natural process for me now.
Pondering on the concept of being prepared, I often wonder:
Do individuals feel equipped to handle whatever life might bring them.?
The question comes to mind, “What should we be prepared for?” Life-changing events such as acute illness, injury from accidents, a sudden diagnosis, or just everyday issues associated with aging, to name a few. Or what about spiritually transforming events, such as an opening of consciousness and creativity?
Of course, following a healthy lifestyle, including clean eating and exercise for the mind, body and spirit, helps to prepare us for stresses in our daily lives and enhances our spiritual life. However, what if something truly life-altering happens?
I recently had the opportunity to view an 18-minute video clip on TED.com by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard-trained neuroanatomist who woke one day to discover she was experiencing a stroke in progress. She wasn’t prepared for it but took an intellectual perspective and began to study herself as her brain and body functions slowly degraded. The stroke was happening in the left side of her brain, which is the side that keeps our ego alive. It is the part of the brain that gives us the boundaries of our bodies and which tells us “constantly” who we are and aren’t. It is, in other words, the side of the brain that limits us.
Since the stroke was evolving on the left side, this hemisphere would periodically shut down and turn off the voice that defined her limitations, and when this chatter was silenced it allowed the right side to take over. As she describes it, when the right side of her brain was in full control, she could feel her boundaries release and the energy that she perceived was “her” merged with the energy of the objects and even the walls around her.
The “connectedness” that she experienced was described in her words as Nirvana.
In fact, it was so heavenly she was not aware that she had a problem until the left side of her brain was able to come back online and scream, “You need help!”
Much to her surprise, she recounted the fact that she really didn’t want to be back in control and rather preferred the stress-free environment that the right side of her brain offered.
She ended up mustering the energy to call for help, and after years in recovery she is now is able to relate her experiences very well. This story overlaps much of what is being presented by many of today’s consciousness pioneers. For example, Ekhart Tolle’s book The New Earth describes the ego and absence thereof with striking similarity to how Dr. Taylor relates her experience.
In my study of Chinese Medicine, the concept of yin and yang also relates to the opposing sides of the brain, which the practice considers interrelated and mutually dependent in how they express significantly different personalities. The yin side is most relative to the right side of the brain, where it encompasses “just being.” The left side of the brain is more yang and actively tells stories to limit our sense of possibility and creativity. In Chinese Medicine, both yin and yang are needed for humans to live harmoniously. The thought is provocative, however, to wonder what life would be like if we could turn off the left side of the brain at will and stop the endless self-limiting chatter. Of course, in this scenario we also would not be able to communicate because the left side of our brain houses the speech and language centers.
An alternative and more practical approach may be meditation, as some masters profess that deep medication and other spiritual experiences create the same type of Nirvana. Are we prepared as a culture to let go of control and pursue such a path to open our consciousness to the right side of the brain?
Are we prepared to bring into existence who we truly are, which is powerful energy beings with abilities to heal ourselves?
Or are we still standing in line to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy?
I hope that nobody has to experience a life-altering event such as a stroke to awaken to the possibility of connecting more intimately with the energy that creates our world and everything in it. However, I hope the messages from Dr. Taylor and other spiritual teachers encourage us to step out of the confines of our belief systems to explore the more creative potential of allowing our right brains to dominate. Now is the time to prepare for this opportunity because we never know when the universe will open the door and allow us to walk through.
Christina Captain, DOM, AP, SLP, FSC is a board certified acupuncture physician and the founder of The Family Healing Center. She earned her degree in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine from the East West College of Natural Medicine, Sarasota, Florida, where she is now a senior faculty member and advisory board chairperson. Christina received additional training in acupuncture injection therapy and earned a Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology and Communication Disorders and is an expert Feng Shui practitioner and teacher.