We are not our brain
The brutality of the war on drugs can be traced to the idea that drug addicts are “beyond redemption” and “not human.” This is indicative of a belief in a mechanistic universe, including a mechanistic brain. For over 300 years, science has been teaching us that everything that exists is material and that consciousness is produced by the brain. This is why it is thought that only force can effect change, that change cannot come from within.
We need to know that what science taught us in this regard just isn’t true. Consciousness does not reside in our brain. The neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander, in his book “Proof of Heaven,” relates how bacterial meningitis destroyed his neocortex and put him in coma for seven days. His doctors gave him a mere 2-percent chance of survival and no chance of recovery. With a devastated neocortex, he was not, according to science, supposed to have any consciousness.
But it was in this state that his experience was, Alexander says, “far more real than this world” and where he felt unconditional love and received the message that we are loved by the Creator. When he was about to be taken off the respirator on the seventh day, he regained consciousness and proceeded to fully recover. He now knows that his experience is not unique to him: He says that millions of people who have had a near-death experience also felt unconditional love, bliss, and being one with all of creation and the Creator.
Powerful lessons can also be drawn from the experience of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist from Harvard’s Department of Psychiatry who suffered a stroke that caused her left brain hemisphere to hemorrhage and consequently lose its function. In her book “My Stroke of Insight,” Taylor explains that the left brain hemisphere is responsible for memory. It thinks linearly, is all about the past and the future, is responsible for all our brain chatter, and is the seat of the ego. It gives us a sense of being separate from everything. It is also the seat of all learning.
Taylor lost all that. She was left with a fully functioning right brain hemisphere which, she explains, brings one into the present moment. She relates what she experienced: “At first I was shocked to find myself inside of a silent mind, but then I was immediately captivated by the magnificence of the energy around me. I felt enormous, expansive, like a genie liberated from her bottle, and my spirit soared free like a great whale gliding through the silent sea of euphoria. I found Nirvana, but then I realized, ‘But I’m still alive, I’m still alive, and I have found Nirvana. If I’m still alive and I’ve found Nirvana, then everyone alive can find Nirvana.’ I pictured a world filled with beautiful, peaceful, compassionate, loving people who knew that they could come to this space at any time, and that they could purposely step out of their left hemisphere and find their peace.”
New science is now able to demonstrate that our thoughts and emotions affect and even create the material. In his 1930 book titled “The Mysterious Universe,” Sir James Jeans, a British physicist, astronomer and mathematician, writes: “The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a machine.” (The Bible says “In the beginning was the Word.”) Since then science has, in many ways, shown the truth of Jeans’ statement, as does Taylor’s experience.
As the left brain hemisphere is fed some true but unfortunately also largely false information and exposed to both negative and positive energies from the day we were born, our ego is created. It is formed based on inputs from our environment mainly from ages zero to 12. This untrue self suppresses our right brain hemisphere’s access to the ever-present Spirit, and we end up believing the stories that the ego in our left brain tells us about who we are. This disconnect from the Spirit (and its consequent feeling of isolation, of aloneness) then opens us up to possible forms of addiction. We may or may not become addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling, but surely, albeit unconsciously and insidiously, we become addicted to our ego. We become blind to the existence of the soul, a soul linked to all souls which ultimately links to the Spirit.
Princeton University’s Global Consciousness Project, a multidisciplinary collaboration of scientists and engineers, has shown that when even 1 percent of a population have feelings of peace at a given time, it is enough to bring peace to their environment. Just as Taylor has experienced, science has established that everything is energy, including thoughts and emotions. They are in vibration, in a frequency, with like frequencies attracting the same frequencies. Violence, and even the anger it generates, attracts even more violence. It is therefore imperative that we find peace within ourselves by changing the false story about who our left brain hemisphere says we are, so that we can enable our right brain to access the Spirit.
It would be great, too, if the world’s religions could reclaim their respective mystical traditions. It will hasten the road back to peace, to the Kingdom of God within.
Philip S. Ycasiano is director for HR of the Philippine Columbian Association.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.