She’s opinionated, needs to feel right, needs to feel safe and protected, needs to defend herself against the world, needs to feel separate and independent, needs to feel good about herself, needs to feel righteous and virtuous, needs to believe she can figure out anything by just thinking it out, needs to defend herself when feeling attacked or blamed, needs to judge everything and everybody.
World: meet my left brain, my Ego.
Sad really. I have always been so proud of my analytical, left brain. It helped me do well in school, solve complicated problems, allowed me to have an intelligent conversation on a (limited) range of subjects, helped me manage a complicated schedule. Served me well. Still does. But something has been left out in the cold, and that is my entire right brain and sense of who I am separate from my identity. My joy and my bliss.
Please forgive me since I am still a neophyte in this area, and am truly just learning about the 50% of my brain (and much of my self) that I’ve ignored and belittled for most of my life. In my infinite left brained wisdom, I finally realized, “well what happens if I used my WHOLE brain, rather than just one side of it?” Some of you might call that an Aha moment. Others, a du-uh moment (or really: du-uuuuuh).
Earlier I wrote about Eckart Tolle’s concept of the Ego, and how the Ego (also the left brain) provides for each of us the sense of who we are, what we believe, and our identity not only to ourselves but to the world. This Ego has us feel separate from others, but also has a need to feel superior in some way – whether it is to feel right or righteous. It is human nature and collective sickness, according to Tolle, that we feed the Ego and encourage these tendencies. It is our journey and our challenge to re-discover our conscious awareness of self without the Ego. That conscious self is living in the present moment, is in tune with the connection between us (that we are all one, not separate), and observes the egoic mind without feeding the thought or emotion behind it.
As a newbie to all this, I’m still processing the ideas in Tolle’s book, The New Earth, and I haven’t quite finished reading it. But what I’m gathering so far is that simply being AWARE of our Ego and it’s dirty tricks will improve our ability to be present, and will also help others who are unconsciously immersed in their egoic mind become more present and aware as well. We can observe our Ego react to its need to be better, be right, be strong, be powerful, be more beautiful/talented/richer/smarter/accomplished/virtuous than someone else. Accepting our need to feel that way also paradoxically allows us to diminish that need.
Tolle also recommends that the next time we are criticized or blamed, that we do nothing but sit with the discomfort of the criticism. Criticism doesn’t diminish who we are, our essence, by one iota. Yet again, watching and not judging our reaction to criticism allows us to engage with the self / consciousness that is separate from the Ego. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to try this exercise yesterday. I’m not sure exactly of the outcome but feel like I had a little more lightness in my chest afterwards.
This will be my challenge for my 6th decade…. (yes, my Ego is reacting to what seems like double counting the early decades), to really get to know my right brain, its wisdom and the bliss that it provides. My left brain has gotten all the attention all these years and it’s time to right that situation. The two hemispheres will also learn how to play nice together and finally learn to work as a team. Who’s with me?