Look Me In The Left Eye.

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In general, we tend to think that the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere of the brain process information in different ways. Generally speaking, the left-brain is literal, linear, and methodical, it organizes and relates new information to what it already knows and assigns language. It processes in a sequential and logical order, while the right-brain is more artistic, creative, non-verbal, emotional, visual, and processes intuitively and holistically.

For the vast majority of us, the left side of the body is said to be ‘wired’ to the right side of the brain and thus the right side of the body is wired to the left side of the brain – the two sides communicating via the corpus collosum. An example of this communication: the right-brain sees a car, your left-brain will say, ‘that is my parent’s car.’ Most people seem to have a dominant side of the brain, which is not conclusive, but a matter of preference in terms of how they prefer to learn. Can you guess which side you are? Are you right-handed or left-handed?

According to Scientific America 70-95% of us are right-handed, not only in the United States, but in the World. Being right-handed could hypothesize that we are left-brain dominant. Does this mean that the human inhabitants of the world are typically learning, seeing, comprehending and communicating from a first and foremost logical and categorical point of view and not necessarily balanced with an artistic, emotional or intuitive point of view? Perhaps it does.

It may also mean that if we are left-brain dominate, we could have a hard time really ‘understanding the big picture’ or even the ‘picture’ at all. In the fast-paced lifestyle of the West, the narrative described by the left-brain is often a quick assignment – this assignment can very well stem from a place that is not one’s own, nor from one’s own intuition, but someone else’s opinion: the media, television, and so on and so forth. How much truth comes from these sources?

The jury is still out as to if we are born with this dominance or if it is attributed via our DNA or something learned through our experiences and external environment. Another interesting finding is that the right-brain seems to develop before the left-brain, so perhaps this could lead to conclusions to ‘how’ this preference is developed. It is also important to note that no one is necessarily entirely either left-brained or right-brained, but that it is quite common that we have a dominant side of the brain just like we have a dominant hand, foot and eye.

We notice when we practice yoga that there are typically different sensations in either side of the body – perhaps one side is tighter while the other more relaxed. Over time we can experience equanimity, a balancing of the body, and the mind. We create symmetry and we tend to become more open to new ‘definitions’, expressions and outlooks. Could it be because both sides of the brain are working more harmoniously together, one not dominating the other?

Some say that it is our left-brain dominancy that gives us the feeling of being separate from one another. It is the ‘I am’ and the clinging to the past, logic and definitions, while it is the right-brain that connects and attunes us to one another presently, intuitively and non-verbally.

We can all agree that brains are quite complex phenomena. We can always speculate, but to really experience our inner workings, we can invite ourselves to recognize and become aware of what is truly happening within ourselves in the present moment.

This is a mere tiny drop of water within a giant sea of possibilities, but interesting to think, that by looking into my left eye, maybe, just maybe, you are seeing a different side of me.

Image by me, Tanya Lee Markul.

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Tanya Lee Markul

Luring the magic of what is natural back into our daily lives, Tanya Markul is a freer of creativity, of inner beauty + power, and an enthusiastic igniter of the wild spirit! She re-writing the wild flower sutras, and offers a refreshing & badass view on spirituality, wellness & authentic living. Sensitivity is her tree trunk, flower stem, and nucleus. It is her belly, and her heart. Tanya is an artist of life, a faery of trees, a wanderer of the dark, a writer of heart, a misfit yogini, and an Urban Priestess apprentice. She believes in the power of your personal weird, quirky, magic, and that only path toward inner freedom & light, is through the dark — eyes closed, heart open. Tanya is the creator of The Urban Howl, Yoga Write Now & Waking Wild. Join her free forum for monthly yoga & writing practices here. Join her free forum for 30 days of exercise for 30 days here. Join her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & get her free weekly & quirky newsletter here.

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anonymous Nov 25, 2011 2:33pm

Except…. the eyes are cross linked to both halves of the brain. They are the exception. Each hemisphere receives input from both eyes.

    anonymous Nov 26, 2011 1:41am

    Hi Debra! Thanks for your comment. What do you mean the eyes are the exception? Are you saying it is only the eyes that are linked to both halves of the brain and not other parts of the body? If so, great clarification. Thanks for being here.

anonymous Nov 25, 2011 5:11am

Re: your title and "the jury still out…"

In a work training last year it was said that when a baby is held in the crook of the left arm (which is common even for left-handed moms, I'm told) it is the right brain being fed by eye contact, which is happening mostly through the left eye. So maybe some of our culture's imbalance is due to mainstream impatience with holding infants to feed them, etc. Also, even though there is usually a preferred "side" in breastfeeding, it makes sense that breastfeeding balances brain development, another statement made in the training.

    anonymous Nov 25, 2011 7:23am

    INTERESTING!! Thanks for sharing Christie. I am truly fascinated by all of this.

anonymous Nov 22, 2011 3:53am

We must set a goal of total function for all humans. We must reject any cultural standards of norm and assume that human beings have the capacity to flower and flourish far beyond any presently observable models. We must assume that the outstanding abilities which show up in some human beings are latent in everyone. We must set the goal of complete flowering of every human, not simply adjusting to a particular environment or society.
Apparently if any one of us could preserve in operating condition a very large portion of the flexible intelligence that each of us possesses inherently, the one who did so would be accurately described as an "all 'round genius" by the current standards of our culture.

anonymous Nov 21, 2011 2:19pm

Interesting article, Tanya. In kindergarten, I still remember trying to use my left hand but being forced to use my right. I'm definitely a right brainer.

    anonymous Nov 22, 2011 2:35am

    Lynn, that is just crazy! I also remember some of my peers being forced to write with their right-hand as well. Here in Denmark, the term for someone who is left-handed is translated into 'awkward handed' – interesting, huh?! I am sure with more research on this, we could really find that throughout time lefties have been suppressed in different ways and hence, the right-brain. 🙂

anonymous Nov 20, 2011 4:27pm

Fantastic article, Tanya! Can't wait to see more from you on this topic as your research progresses.

    anonymous Nov 21, 2011 3:59am

    Thank you so much kind Valerie. Grateful you are here. Tap, tap, tap. 🙂 xoxo

Kate Bartolotta Nov 19, 2011 9:09pm

Love this Tanya! My dad used to do brain dominance research in the 80's with Herman Brain Dominance Institute…it's always fascinated me! I love the idea seeing different parts of each other by looking in one eye versus the other…poetic…but maybe true too!

    anonymous Nov 21, 2011 4:01am

    How cool!
    It is definitely interesting what happens when we go beyond what we believe are our current perceptions. 🙂 xoxo

anonymous Nov 19, 2011 9:30am

I have always been ambidexterous. Do you believe that the preponderance of the right-handed in our world has anything to do with the suppression of the feminine? Your article is very timely, as I found my self wondering about this very thing yesterday during a massage.

    anonymous Nov 19, 2011 10:54am

    Wow – great question, Margaret! Some deep thinking while getting a massage! 🙂 I have read that the right-brain is also called the feminine side – you could really be onto something here! I would agree that it definitely could be a big factor playing in the suppression of the feminine – we are raised to not show our emotions (especially men), to necessarily use our gut instinct (but to do what we are told), etc. I'm going to research more about this. xoxo

anonymous Nov 19, 2011 5:45am

Great post! I have been a left brain dominant person most of my life. Math and computers were my main interests and the focal areas of my career. However, the more asana, pranayam and meditation I do, the more open I feel in my right brain. It helps me unleash my creativity, feelings, intuition and people connection.
Try this. Take 2 pictures of your face, one being your actual face, the other being an inverse, say from a mirror image. Cut them both in half. Paste both actual right sides together to make a new face. Then past both left sides for another.
Look at the difference of each new face. While it's typically not a "pretty" site, you'll see your two different brains in a "whole" other perspective!! Namaste- J

    anonymous Nov 19, 2011 6:23am

    Hey JMC! What a crazy test! I have read that there is more expression coming from the right-brain therefore the left side of the face shows more expression – sometimes the left eye is even smaller than the right! It's wild. Have you ever noticed which eye you look into/speak to when you look at someone? I've been doing a little test of looking into people's left eye and sometimes it seems to through them off – it's like they think I'm looking at something behind them and not into their eye. Love little experiments! Thank you so much for sharing and for being here! 🙂 Namaste!

anonymous Nov 19, 2011 4:07am

Well said, T. I always enjoy your posts, and look forward to more. Xoxo, ~T

    anonymous Nov 19, 2011 6:24am

    Thank you, Temple! I have to say I feel the same about yours – love your poetry. 🙂 Glad you are here. I think you really inspired a lot of poets to share their creativity and expression with our Elephant audience! 🙂 xoxo

anonymous Nov 18, 2011 12:34pm

Thank you for inviting us to contemplate the way our perspectives in life might have neurological origins we can train to balance out! Personally, I have always felt myself to be more of an intuitive, than a linear person. I have always appreciated this about myself, but the problem is that the world is more organized to accommodate the left brainers! Even when us artistic personalities bend to fit into society, society still demands we loose most of our creativity and imagination. It seems that in order for a balanced communication to occur within us, we also need to employ the effort to destroy and reconstruct the exterior, lest we end up with having to favor imbalance again (logic over intuition), just to be productive in today's modern societies. Of course, there is that ever-alluring alternative of going off the social map altogether. But WHERE can we find entire societies that honor the sense of equilibrium and oneness you highlight in your article? How beautiful our world would be if we could create such peaceful synergy! Thank you for a stimulating piece. And yes, let me peek into your left eye dear! You are lovely!

    anonymous Nov 18, 2011 2:16pm

    Beautifully expressed, Katarina. I am not sure why the fear to create this imbalance exists. In many ways, I think we all know that however way this is expressed, the balancing of the two hemispheres of the brain or said another way, it is something we all desire. – to feel whole, peaceful and to really know ourselves. I feel when we achieve this balance or find this balance that we also identify a 'mastery' that gives our life purpose and meaning – along with an internal balance. Indeed how beautiful our world would be and how alive we would all feel. So much love to you. You are lovely!! 🙂

anonymous Nov 18, 2011 11:04am

Such a thought-provoking post Tanya. Love it!

    anonymous Nov 18, 2011 2:10pm

    Thank you, Jeannie! Love to you and love your recent blog as well. Such a great interview! Very inspiring!

anonymous Nov 18, 2011 8:22am

Tanya — I love this article. You have put into words exactly what I have begun to embrace, equanimity.
Having always been categorized as right brain/artistic/creative, etc…. I felt something was lost, missing, unresolved and I began to train myself to use my mind full spectrum from mathematics/excel sheets to abstract expressionism. It has made me achieve a balance I had never known existed and I feel more creative and sharper than ever, as they compliment each other immensely.

    anonymous Nov 18, 2011 8:26am

    Hi Robert, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it and I appreciate reading about your experience as well – ' felt something was lost, missing' – that is a fantastic way of putting it. I can entirely relate. Thank you for being here. xoxo

anonymous Nov 18, 2011 2:09pm

Hey T,

A lefty! Yay! 🙂 I think it is pretty safe to say that most public schools cater to left-brain thinking and doing (did you have to buy the special lefty notebooks?). 🙂 I think that could be a reason why most of people feel confused about their calling in life. It creates a lot of confusion, like something is missing, and perhaps it is also a reason why we can't express ourselves. It creates enormous amounts of suppression, in my opinion. And, on the contrary for those who are more right-brained who are in this type of environment also end of feeling confused and isolated, get poor grades, etc. It isn't conducive either way.

It is also sad to know that most schools (in the US) will typically cut the arts, music and sports first, if they are having budget trouble.

I have felt quite strongly the left-brain influence that has been in my life. I've also felt a desperate desire to allow my right-brain to be used more, or perhaps it is that I've had a longing to balance the two. Yoga has definitely helped me this.

Love to you T!

anonymous Nov 19, 2011 6:27am

Hi Kristi – I feel I am so similar! Yoga has absolutely opened up another world for me – I think I used to be afraid to let my right-side shine, yoga has definitely helped me become more in touch. Since I've started practicing, I've been painting, photographing, etc – all the things I've always 'wanted' to try and do, but was too afraid I wouldn't be good at it. Also, with more awareness, I feel I know now when it's a good time to tap into one or the other and when to balance the two. Thank you sweetly for your comments! Hope to hear from you again soon. xoxo

anonymous Nov 19, 2011 6:27am

Total oneness.

anonymous Nov 19, 2011 11:00am

Thank you so kindly!
Ah – I never thought about that – I do remember some of my lefty classmates being forced to try and write with their right hands, not that I think of it. I never thought about the consequences of it!

Great point – I suppose it does give lefties an advantage in that way – being in many ways forced to learn from the other side, although it is even more helpful when one is 'aware' that this is happening and not in turn suppress the right-brain because of that force. Nice trick – I'm going to do some observing. Have you ever noticed the size of people's left eye versus right eye? Thank you so much for your comment, Chiara Ghiron! xoxo

anonymous Nov 20, 2011 1:24am

Hi Tanya

I actually write with my left hand and what I meant about the fountain pen and scoliosis is that to avoid smudging ink all over my hand I had (like most left-handed writers actually) to make quite a few hand-arm-shoulder contorsions which I am sure were not particularly good to the development of my spine….
And yes I have noticed that my left eye is smaller, and that if you look at people into their left eye they think you are not looking at them but behind them but I never made the connection… as for the body asymmetries, I have more… my left breast is slightly smaller amd I am more hairy on the left side…. but I thought it was me!!!! I certainly know though, what half I would choose if I were to perform jmc photoshop test 😉 and certainly yoga is fantastic to develop awareness of our asymmetries although I am a long way behind harmonising them….
Another interesting observation I made as I trained and worked as an organic chemist for a long time, is that there is a very high proportion of left-handed chemists. I guess we/they need to do a lot of visual thinking when planning synthesis, organic reactionmechanisms and the like. I wonder whether somebody did some epidemiological studies about what professions are 'enriched' in lefties… perhaps architects would be as well?
Thanks, it was fun!!

anonymous Nov 21, 2011 4:00am

Valerie – WOW!