Neurosurgeons and neurologists have studied the human brain for centuries. Today, they agree there are two halves, or cerebral hemispheres. The left side controls the right half, and Eureka! The right side controls the left. Apparently the left hemisphere, specializing in speech and language comprehension, is the technical detail-oriented area that is logic-dominant. The right brain is regarded as the intuitive, non-verbal emotional chamber where the creative arts reside.In my unlearned opinion the word "creative" should be applied to both hemispheres.
A creative accountant or financial consultant can be the most creative person you'll meet in your lifetime. But what the bleep do I know? We are told each hemisphere can be divided into four lobes of the cortex (the outer layer's gray matter): occipital, parietal, temporal and frontal, the functions of which can be found in textbooks and on the Web. If that sounds escapist and simplistic, it is, and I am far too incompetent, lazy and right brain to further expand on something of which I know little.In attempting to explain to us dip-heads with half a brain, scientists posit that both sides of the brain communicate with each other through a thin stalk of nerve fibers. After resolving a complex problem in the logical left side, tiny impulses (messages) are sent across to the right hemisphere where our masterpiece is born and the genius cries out, "aha!" But what about that intangible entity that departs the concrete material brain when the brain dies?.
I used to suffer from recurring migraine headaches that were so debilitating I would do anything to put an end to them. When someone suggested I participate in a headache study at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York I immediately agreed. The study consisted of three doctors who fired questions at me while they made notes of my physical reaction and verbal response to each question.
I will not repeat some of my vocal responses, but the exercise was so stressful it produced the worst headache of my life, and sent me fleeing the scene. Eventually, through meditation and a good neurologist, the headaches subsided and are now infrequent. But the exercise was revealing.Most individuals lean more heavily to one style of thinking. Fewer are more "whole-brained.
" Since kindergarten, when faced with a question or problem-solving situation involving numbers, I'd panic and go into high stress mode, which is what happened at Mt. Sinai. Though in other stress related matters I reacted within normal boundaries, that series of impulses connecting the right brain with the left abandoned me during number solving.
Everyone experiences some form of (bad) stress in his or her life and I am no exception. But the demon of mathematics plagued and puzzled me for years until I learned that I am more right brain than left, the more I obsessed over a perceived inadequacy the more stressful it became, and anyone can achieve a more balanced method of thinking if they choose.Dr. Hans Selye, a well-known endocrinologist widely considered "the father of stress research," devoted his life to understanding the nature of stress. Through scientific investigation he and his colleagues proved that there is good stress (a terrific tennis game or passionate kiss) as well as bad stress, one that results in illness or disease. A pioneer in his field, Selye identified the specific part of the brain known as the hypothalamic and pituitary gland, which is responsible for secreting the hormones that affect all our physiological processes.
His numerous books include, "Stress Without Distress" and "The Stress of Life.".According to Selye, the physical changes occurring during meditation are the opposite of the body's reaction to stress.
In my case, I had suffered from post traumatic stress, which also contributed to the migraines. Many people including myself have practiced long-term meditation techniques with positive results. I gradually began to have fewer headaches each week, then fewer each month. But I also discovered that when settling into a state of relaxed alertness, I experienced something beyond the effects of hypothalamus hormones on the physical body.As is often the case with prayer, there appears to be an unbounded intangible connection to a silent entity within that has no verbal expression, yet often can produce indescribable bliss, and have a rejuvenating effect on the physical body, coupled with a steady manner of dealing with stress when in activity. There are numerous meditation techniques and there is no single one that is better than another.
Whatever works for the individual is the right one. One thing is certain. The human brain is a great deal more than the sum of its parts."Simplicity-Courage-Humor-Soul"®.
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By: Susan Scharfman