The Power of The Easter Resurrection and Your Brain
Category: Articles, | By: Dr. Jill | Share On Facebook
Easter just came and passed. I’m curious how you celebrated it, and what it meant to you?
My father was an Episcopalian preacher man, so the rhythm of our family life revolved around the church calendar. My mother GG was known as the ‘hostess with the mostest’ because of the sheer volume of people who would dine in our home during the major holidays.
When I was a child, the religious rituals of the celebration of Easter took many forms. Of course, my child-self was always eager to find that one golden egg at the annual egg hunt. Food-wise, we always had a ham—well actually, we had the whole pig (head and all) dressed up for dinner.
Trust me, there is nothing creepier to a 5-year-old than a whole pig with an apple in its mouth, in the refrigerator.
Although I never became a religious scholar, as I grew older, I learned to value the Christian lessons of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. But later, as a scholar of the brain and the differences between our two hemispheres, my understanding about the value of Easter shifted completely.
Our two brain hemispheres are fundamentally different in the way they process information.
Your left brain hemisphere functions as a ‘bridge across time’, as it processes your past and future. This means that everything that ever happened to you in the past—your joys, successes, and all of your past traumas, are located in your left hemisphere.
In addition, there is a group of ‘ego center’ cells in your left hemisphere that define you as an individual. You know your name, your phone number, and all of the details of your life, because those cells in your left hemisphere collect that data and routinely share it with you.
Most remarkably, you know the boundaries of where you begin and end. There is another group of cells in your left hemisphere that creates a holographic image of you, so that you perceive yourself to begin and end where your skin meets the air. Without those cells performing that function, you would perceive yourself to be an energy being that is as big as the Universe, connected to all that is. Instead, your wonderful left hemisphere helps you separate yourself from everything else around you so you can be functional in the world.
All of this is to say that the magnificent gifts of your left brain enable you to not only perceive yourself as an individual in the world, but retain memories of the past, and perceive yourself to have a future.
Your right hemisphere is a very different tool in that it is always processing the ‘present’ moment—without any of the distracting information about your past or future. In addition, because you the individual is manifested by the cells of your left hemisphere, you the egoistic individual does not exist in the cells making up your right hemisphere. Consequently, your perception of yourself shifts naturally into a shared consciousness of all that is—call that the cosmic consciousness, God, Allah, or whatever is most comfortable for your system of beliefs.
To our right hemisphere consciousness, we are not separate from one another but rather ONE human family. And in this mindset, we intuitively know ourselves to be perfect, whole, and beautiful as the spectacular form of life that we are!
In my opinion, these differences between our left and right brain hemispheres are one of the true gifts of the story of Christ. As bi-hemispheric beings, we humans have the ability to reach back into our past experiences and feel the pain of our own physical, emotional, or spiritual crucifixions—our traumas from the past. Our left brain holds on to our past pain and suffering so we can reflect upon those experiences, gain insight from them, and consequently change how we live life in the present.
We have the power to heal our lives, because we have the power to choose how much time we spend letting the pain in our past interrupt the joys of our present.
The gift of the present moment is the power of the Resurrection because in any instant you can bring your mind into the present, forgetting about the pains from your past. You have the power to choose moment by moment who and how you want to be in the world. At any moment in time, you can choose to hook back into that pain of your past and relive your trauma, or you can allow the power of the present moment Resurrection to sweep your soul into the peaceful bliss of the present.
Two hemispheres, two powers. You choose.
How exciting is that!?
Peace be with you.
From my brain to yours,
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor