Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I was lucky enough to attend a conference held by Antonio Nuzzo who made some very interesting points about our "mental structure" ( including, as we would say in English, our "emotional baggage") which, as we grow from a baby to a child and them to an adult, becomes more solid and intricate as does our ego.

What is it about being a child which is so appealing (apart from having someone to do the cooking for you)? When you hear the wise and enlightened talking about returning to the "child-like state" what is it exactly that they are getting at, what do they mean? Exactly what Avicenna implied (although this was not his thesis) when he spoke about "the floating man".

I suspect they mean using the right hemisphere of the brain, allowing space for your right hemisphere to have it's "say". In children under the age of three the right side of the brain is dominant - it "thinks" through the senses (seeing as verbally not much is happening yet) . Everything is learnt through sensations, tone, sound, touch etc. rather than through verbalization, interpretation and cognitive analysis. It is for this reason for example, that all mothers from a ll cultures tend to use that kind of "baby voice" and "goo and gar" when talking to their little ones. Because it is through tone and sound that the mother communicates with her child at that very tender age "it's right-brained friendly". Then as we age the left analytical critical part takes over, bullying the right. Seeing as we as a society reward those who are academically ahead we are encouraging a left-brained way of being. (you baby can talk ALREADY? She can do SUMS?) I once met a baby girl on the beach in Sicily who was TWO years old at the time (the same as Nina my daughter who running around the beach yet could not say her own name) , this tiny tot could reel off a list of brand-names; Dolce e Gabbana, Cavalli etc. which was "impressive" to say the least. Although she couldn't walk yet, she could say her prayers. I'm not criticizing this, what I found interesting was the joy and celebration and applause her mother and aunt showered on her for this ability. We are a society that rewards analytical thinking, that prizes linguistic prowess and...forgets about the right side of the brain. We are destined to become left-brained dominant. There is nothing wrong with that apart from the fact that it is not conducive to calm, to peace, to tranquillity. It is not conducive to living in the present moment of time, it all about living for the future or dwelling in the past. What a SHAME. It's a verbal despot with an objective in mind; to keep us busy, to keep us thinking, to keep us projected towards tomorrow.

But we are living NOW.

In order to let go of the ego, in order to find a moment of calm of on your yoga mat as in with life, one needs to plug into the child like state that is - in my humble opinion - the right side of your brain. One of the ways you can do this is by practicing yoga, which goes without saying.

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