If you have read the first 2 parts of this particular blog post, you will know we have reached the point of looking for practical ways to bring the 2 hemispheres back into union with each other. Our focus isn’t on shifting over from our now very dominant left hemisphere thinking to be right hemisphere thinkers, but on re-finding the beautiful BALANCE of the 2 very different yet essential forms of attention, that our divided brain was initially designed for.
As we mentioned in part 2, through the power of epigenetics, all our thoughts and drives are being filtered through a cultural viewpoint that mirrors the left hemisphere-heavy bias we were born with, and may well not really represent our real, personal thoughts at all. They form our autopilot thinking, having been instilled in us at every cultural turn- school, work, media, family. We often don’t know our own minds that well.
The real shift we are seeing towards the use of mindfulness and meditation practices is proving very helpful, because they are techniques that give us some space away from our autopilot to really focus on what is important to us, to think about our own thoughts (not just what we are told), show a little self-compassion and possibly start to accept and honour what is really ‘true’ to us.
These techniques, which we will refer to as ‘contemplation’ techniques to avoid getting embroiled in the many various definitions, re-engage the consciousness of the right hemisphere, beginning to give us a healthier perspective of ourselves, the world and our place in it.
Ok, all fine to say, but there are a million approaches available and to be honest, most of us don’t really even know what it is all about or where to start??
Our modern world is flooded with noise and distractions that are constantly stimulating us and keeping our senses busy, preventing us from being alone with our thoughts. So we are really looking for tools that help loosen the grip of the system on our mind and imagination.
Many techniques you will find online are great for reducing your stress response, especially if they include some breathing practice to slow and deepen your breath, as they effectively act as a natural tranquilliser, switching you out of your fight or flight response into your rest, relax, digest response
It is actually very useful to deepen your breathing and thus still your mind in this way before you begin any contemplation practice. An old blog post has some easy techniques https://www.atticteas.com/blogs/health-facts/the-importance-of-breath
Today we are going to look specifically at 2 modes of ‘contemplation’ practice which we ourselves use regularly to help create better left/right hemisphere balance. Compared with some of the mindfulness and meditation techniques around, these are more active forms of focused attention.
No. 1: Doing your own thinking
Come up with one thing, an initial thought, you would like to think more deeply about. It can be anything, from something small and seemingly trivial, to a huge, global topic. It can be emotionally driven, relationships, feelings, or something very practical. You are really just training yourself to be with your own thoughts, to HAVE YOUR OWN thoughts. Sit with this chosen thought and follow the various threads it conjures up all the way to their conclusion. If you have a breakthrough, a moment of clarity or simply a better understanding, you may want to jot it down before you get on with your day.
No. 2: Attune yourself to nature
There is a suggestion that the way we now live in the modern world has disconnected us from nature. But as John Michael Greer explains, we aren’t disconnected, we just choose to IGNORE nature. It is still all around us in the weather cycles and the trees and in fact, within us as we too are nature.
The real benefit to a regular practice that re-engages you with the natural world is that it wasn’t invented by human beings so it helps give you a broader, healthier perspective of the larger world around us. So try a couple of times a week to ‘contemplate on nature’. For us, we love bird watching and forest walking but for everyone, it will be different, something that fits into your own life and environment. By starting to perceive the world using all your senses, the smell of an Autumn day, the sound of the bird song, the taste of wild strawberries- It will all bring you surprising joy!
In our experience, once you have shifted your perception, it is almost impossible not to change your behaviour, not to be called to some action, even if it is just the actions you carry out for yourself- reducing your plastics, helping other people, giving your self more time to relax, being more mindful of where your food comes from. It can also sometimes be challenging as many things around you no longer make good sense. But these subtle calls to action are what moves us to live lighter, they are what naturally happens when we see life through the correct coloured glasses.
The tools we use at ATTIC Teas to help with this balancing begin with daily tea drinking. Pure Chinese hand-crafted, whole leaf teas- as they have the highest quantities of L-Theanine and nutrients to keep your body and mind healthy. Raising both dopamine and serotonin levels, it feeds both left and right hemispheres. The ritual of drinking this delicious, luxurious leaf has the added benefit of providing the perfect platform for contemplation practices (2 of which we have mentioned above).
I would like to finish this blog post with a return to TAWAI (the Bruce Parry film I have referenced through this particular 3-part blog). It was something that really struck me about our modern values. The tribe the film is about have no land rights to the forests and environment they have called home for many generations because there is so little proof they were ever there. They have left no trace…. And are now being penalised for it.
Our tea ceremonies https://www.atticteas.com/pages/ceremony are a live experience of this practice. They make great stand-alone experiences but also may inspire you to integrate certain parts that resonate into your daily life. They are available to groups and we happily travel so if you wish to know more, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of this information comes from a podcast by John Michael Greer.