Lesson 29- Comunicating wih Gods Right Lobe
I dont know whether my listeners have noticed it or not but we having been running re-runs since June the 3rd in keeping with my practice of taking a rest during the summer months. Therefore, this is the first new talk since my return in September. The teacher in me is reluctant to begin this talk as though it was just a continuation of the talk that was aired last week because I suspect that many of my listeners also either took off during the summer months or, at least, were away for vacation. Therefore, I feel that I should bring everyone up to speed by repeating some major concepts which, although I might have mentioned them before, bear repeating. And, as always happens, even when one cover old ground, there is always something new and fresh in the presentation. So with that said, let me begin with this talk.
As you may have noticed, I have been building my talks around the latest discoveries involving the split-brain operation by Dr. Roger Sperry which led to the discovery that the right and left hemisphere of our brains not only act like two different persons but are in reality two different personalities. This discovery solves a problem that has plagued Christian theologians for centuries. The problem was how could we possibly believe and defend the doctrine of the Trinity, which held that God was one and many at the same time, when it seemed to be a contradiction in terms. We generally begged the issue when our opponents challenged us by saying, Well, its a mystery, and as one might expect they always thought that this was a cop out.
Now, the mystery is becoming less mysterious, because not only is it possible for a being to have a sense of being one, while in reality being two, but it is also possible for a being to have the sense of being one and in reality be three. What modern brain research in saying is that the rational human brain is composed, in its most general form, of three functional areas: the right hemisphere or lobe of our brain which is a non-verbal creative, artistic genius; the left lobe which is a verbal, logical craftsman, and the frontal lobe which, being the center for judgment and action, is a blending of the perception of the other two.
Now, not only is a Trinitarian being possible, but also it appears that we ourselves are Trinitarian. Now the claim of the Ancient Jews that we are made in the image and likeness of God takes on a new and deeper meaning. If, as they held, our rational mind reflects the rational mind of the Creator, then if we, being rational beings, are a trinity then it logically follows that the Creator, the Super Rational Being who created the universe, must be a trinity. Once we understand this, it not only helps us to understand ourselves but also to understand the mind of God because our own mental processes ought to be, at least in their operational principles, a dim reflection of His mental processes. If we know how our own right lobe, which has a personality separate from our left lobe, operates, then it logically follows that we also have an inkling of how Gods right lobe works. The same would be true for our left lobe and frontal lobes.
The implications of this insight is mind-boggling because its a two way street. The more we know about ourselves, the more we know about God, and the more we know about God, the more we know about ourselves. If we know how our own brain creates, then we also have an inkling as to how God creates and vice versa. Thus to know ourselves is to know the Creator and to know the Creator is to know ourselves.
And how does the interaction of our three lobes go about creating? Well, in general terms we could say that the imaginative right lobe, which being nonverbal, thinks in broad, general, holistic pictures. In other words, it sees the finished product in its minds eye. However, what it sees exists subjectively and potentially because it is only a dream of what could be. Our logical left lobe then reflects on the feasibility of the dream and considers the logical step that would be necessary to move it from a subjective dream to an objective reality, in other words, from potentiality to actuality. If there is disagreement between the two lobes in which the left lobe finds that the dream is not feasible, then the dream dies because it cant be logically implemented and, we might say, that the left lobe logician bursts the bubble of the right lobe creator. If, on the other hand, the logical left lobe looks at the dream of the intuitive, creative right lobe and sees a dream that is not only beautiful but also highly feasible, the agreement and love between the two creates an explosion of creative energy which we call enthusiasm. Since the word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words, en theos, and means God in us it would be accurate to say that this creative energy is a Holy Spirit which provides the energy that the other two need to make that which is subjective and potential into that which is objective and real.
What I have described is how our rational mind creates and, it logically follows, that this is the way that any rational mind would create. Thus, the basic components of any creative act is a mind that know what to do, another mind that knows how to do it and a third mind that does it.
Does this sound strangely familiar? It should because, according to Christian theology, the Father is the First Person in the Trinity who dreamed the universe. In other words, He knew what to do because it was His plan. The Son is the Second Person in the Trinity, who planned how to do it by mapping out the logical steps that were necessary to make the dream a reality. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person in the Trinity, who, being the result of the love flowing from the agreement of other two, was the Creative Energy that was used to carry the plan into action.
Armed with these new insights, let us look at some familiar words that we have heard over and over again in our Scripture readings and liturgy to see what new light might be shed upon them.
In the beginning of St. Johns Gospel, we read the deepest and most philosophical description of the Divine Nature of Jesus. Remember that St. John was the Beloved Disciple and that it was he to whom Jesus, with His dying breath, gave the responsibility for caring for his mother, Mary. Thus, Christian tradition says that Mary spent the rest of her life under the care of St. John. This being the case, it is not surprising, that St. John, interacting with the mother of our Savior, had the deepest understanding of who Jesus was. John writes:
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God (and) all things were made through Him and without Him nothing came to be. What came to be through Him was life, and this life was the light that was found in all men. And the light shone in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John (the Baptist) was sent from God. He came to testify to the light, so that all might believe through Him. He, John, was not the light, himself, but came to testify to the light. It was the true light which enlightens everyone and it was coming into the world. He was in the world and the world came to be through Him, but the world did not know Him. He came to his own, but his own people did not accept Him. But to those who did accept Him, He gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us. And we saw His glory, the glory of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth... From His fullness we have all received, grace from grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
I believe that Ive already mention in a previous program that, since this gospel was written originally in Greek, that Word is spelled LOGOS from which we get the word LOGIC. Thus, this could rightly be translated into English as:
In the beginning was Jesus, the Logic of God, and this Logic was with God, and this Logic was God. He was in the beginning with God and all things were made though this Logic and without this Logic, nothing came to be.
This is mind blowing when we consider that the left lobe or hemisphere of our brains is the source of logic within us and that it is the craftsman that builds the dreams of our intuitive, creative, right lobes.
Now consider the statement: What came to be through Him (this Jesus, this Logic) was life, and this life was the light that was found in all men It was the true light that enlightens everyone and it was coming into the world.
Notice that it doesnt say it was found only in Christians or that it enlightened only Christians. It says that it was found in all men and it enlightens everyone. Therefore, this Logos, this Logic, this Jesus is found in every human being whether they are Christian, non-Christian, believer or non-believer. Where, we might ask, would we find this Divine Logos, this Jesus who is within every human being? Well, since we now know that it is the logical left lobe of our brain reflecting on our intuitive right lobe that makes us rational beings and separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, then it seems obvious that if we want to talk to the Jesus within all we have to do is to listen our left lobe. Because it is logical, it is always telling us that, logically speaking, we will always reap what we sow or get the logical consequences which flow from our decisions. Because it is logical, it is always evaluating things according to their primary purpose. Thus, it tells us that the real, objective primary purpose of food is nutrition rather than taste and that the purpose of sex is reproduction rather than pleasure. Because it is logical, it tells us that when we miss the logical primary purpose of things, then we miss the logical target and begin to reap the wrong results. And since the word sin, as used in the New Testament comes from a Greek word which means to miss the target, then this logical left lobe tells us that we sin against the purpose of food when we practice gluttony and we sin against the purpose of sex when we masturbate, fornicate, commit adultery, become involved in homosexuality, molest children, have sex with animals or practice any other type of sexual behavior which seek pleasure outside of a reproductive context. Because it is logical, it tells us that it is obligated by the rules of logic to always lead rational thinkers to whatever conclusions their premises require even though conclusions might be negative. In other words, hellish premises must always lead to hellish conclusions and heavenly premises must always lead to heavenly conclusions. Because it is logical, it says that anyone who holds a premise to be true when it is applied to other must be also willing to have the same premise applied to himself or to those he loves. Therefore, it says things like, As you measure, so shall it be measured unto you. Thus, if it is alright for you to cheat on your wife, then it must be alright for her to cheat on you. If you dont think others should receive mercy, then you have no right to expect mercy for yourself. If you accept the premise that there are humans and sub-humans and sub-humans have no rights which humans need to respect, then you should have no complaint when you or yours are declared sub-humans and thereby denied all rights. Thus, it advises us that, since God will eventually demand that we logically accept our own premises, then we should do unto others, as we would have them do unto us.
Do you see it? The left lobe of our brain, because it is linear, logical, and goal directed is the source of all moral behavior. It is the moral conscience within all of us and, according to the teachings of the Church, we can never violate it, even when it is wrong because it represents the truth as we know it. When it is wrong, it is not the logic that is wrong; it is the premise upon which the logic is based. However, the Church also says that we have a moral obligation to make every effort to inform our conscience by reflecting on all of the issues and arguments involved in our decision.
In future programs, I will explore other implications that the left lobe has on our existence. However, for now, it is sufficient that we consider the possibility that the left lobe or hemisphere of the human brain is the Logos, Logic, or Jesus within that St. John talks about in his Gospel. And, of course as Christians, we also believe that that Word, or Logos, or Logic of God became flesh (in the person of Jesus) and dwelt amongst us. And that He came to show each of us the way to eternal life and human society the way to the Kingdom of God.
Of course, according to the Church, there is still another name for this Word or Logos which is even more accurate. Since the Old Testament says that God the Creator used His Wisdom to create the universe, then an even more accurate name for Jesus is Divine Wisdom, which is the same thing as saying Divine Logic. Thus, Jesus is referred to in Church writings as Incarnate Wisdom, or Wisdom made into flesh. Thus, to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior is to accept Divine Wisdom as your guide. To follow Jesus is to follow Wisdom, which it would appear any sane rational being would want to do. Since Wisdom, according to the Ancient Jews, was food for the soul, then Jesus, knowing His own nature said, I am the Bread of Life. And Unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you shall not have life within you.
To follow Jesus is to follow Wisdom because Wisdom saves us from missing the target or sinning by enlightening our minds so that we see and understand the real purposes of things. So where is the embarrassment that so many Catholics feel when they are asked whether they have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We should be embarrassed to say that we havent because it is an admission that we want to be stupid. And, of course, thats what sinners really are. They are stupid people who dont understand what things are really about and they cause confusion in their own lives, the lives of others, and, when they grow in large enough numbers, they cause confusions and chaos in their own cultures. When their numbers become great enough, that becomes the death knell for that culture for you see, its all about logic.
Having said all of this in way of review, let me now apply some of our new understanding to an issue that is presently on my mind.
I have just returned from a Catholic Unity Conference weekend filled with outstanding speakers, wonderful music, and a liturgy that moved spontaneously from enthusiastic praise to somber reverence. After participating in this event, I cant help but to notice the great disparity between what happened there and what happens in too many local parishes and I want to take a little time to digress from my discussion of the nature of love in my last talk to comment on the significance of this disparity. In reality, it will not be that much of a digression because I think that what my analysis will prove it that God must feel greatly unloved because of our failure to express our devotion in a way that totally communicates with Him. Of course, there is always the possibility that it is not just a breakdown in communication but, in reality, that we really dont love Him and that is why we fail to communicate it.
In a previous program I said that it disturbed me that, at least in my church, so few of the parishioners sing at Mass. Obviously, they never heard or understood what St. Augustine meant when he said, Whoever sings, prays twice. Think about it. If our own mind, which is made in the image and likeness of God, is Trinitarian in nature having an artistic, nonverbal, creative right lobe which is a master of artistic nonverbal communication and corresponds to the Creative, Artistic Genius who is the Father, and a logical left lobe, which expresses itself through language and corresponds to Jesus, the Logos or Logic of God, and a frontal lobe which, like the Holy Spirit, who according to the Nicene Creed, flows from the Father and the Son, combines the skills and talents of the other two lobes, and carries out their blended judgments , then it would appear that when we pray with words, it is only Jesus who hears us. The Father, who, like our own creative, artistic, right lobes is nonverbal, does not respond to language. Instead, He is a reader of our nonverbal communication which we express through facial expressions, body language and all of the art forms, such as music and dance. Thus, when we say Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest, only Jesus, the left lobe of God hears us because the nonverbal component to our communication is missing.
We experience the same thing when we are communicating with others. If I said to my wife with a deadpan expression and my hands at my side, I love you. I love you. I really love you, she would not get the sense that my love was real because, while the left lobe of her brain heard the words of love, her right lobe got the sense that I really didnt mean it because the nonverbal component of my message was missing. Where was the facial expression which communicated the sincerity of my words? Where were the body postures which indicated my desire to unite with her? Where were the warm and loving tones that conveyed the depth of my feelings? And, if she observed that when I was speaking with the lady next door, my face lit up, my body came alive, my tone became enthusiastic and warm, then I would have no one to blame but myself if she left me because of my failure to communicate totally my love for her and her suspicion that I was having an affair with our neighbor.
Now if this is true when we communicate with each other, dont you think that it is also true in our communication with God? When we recite the responses at Mass with a deadpan expression, a monotone voice, and a distracted appearance, what do think God the Father thinks of our prayers? If my analysis is correct, they never even registered on His radar screen. As far as He is concerned, we said nothing because, based on the nonverbal messages that we were sending, we werent even there. Our hearts and our minds were somewhere else. And, if he also observed that when we were talking about sports, or entertainment, or some other area of interest, our face lit up, our bodies became animated, and our tones overflowed with expression, then we would have no one to blame but ourselves if He, like Hosea, suspected us of being unfaithful lovers who were sleeping around with other loves.
St. Augustine was correct when he said, Whoever sings, prays twice because, while Jesus hears the words, the Father sees and hears only the nonverbal dimension of our communication and I suspect that He feel more welcomed and loved in the singing and clapping found in many Black churches than He does in the silent, distracted environments of some of our white churches.
And, yet, the Catholic Mass is probably the most powerful prayer that we can offer to God and it rightly contains a reverential spirit. However, that doesnt means that it cant also contain the joy and enthusiasm which spontaneous springs from true love and devotion. We are only kidding ourselves if we think that God is so sacred and somber that any noise or excitement disturbs His Celestial Peace. If the nonverbal, creative, artistic right lobe of our brain is patterned after the Father, then He must be the source and author of all the arts, which means that He is the source of all music and dance and if the Holy Spirit is the Creative Spirit that springs from the spontaneous love between the Father and the Son and it provides the creative energy that renews the face of the earth then it is the source of all true enthusiasm. In fact, the word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words, en theos, and it means God in us. When this Spirit touched the Apostles at Pentecost, they didnt suddenly go somber and rigid. They ran out of the room in which they were hiding and were thought to be drunk by those who witnessed it. They were overflowing with joy and excitement and were unable to contain it. Psalm 100 says:
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness, come into His presence with singing
Then where did we get the idea that our God was a somber God in whose presence we had to whisper and who was offended by any enthusiastic displays? As much as I hate to admit it, it may have been my Irish ancestors who did it. Now dont get me wrong. We know how to party as well, if not better, as any other ethnic group. As a child growing up in South Philadelphia, I can assure you that whenever my Irish relatives got together, there was music, singing, dancing and lots of laughing. Yet, for some strange reason, these very same people seemed to become mute once they entered a church. The reason may be historical more than anything else because, during the English occupation of Ireland, the Catholic religion was outlawed and priest were hunted down and killed. Thus, Catholic priest had to disguise their identities by wearing non-clerical clothes and Masses had to be held in secret in private homes or barns. Detection meant death or imprisonment. Therefore everything had to be done quietly. Once a pattern gets started, it can become ingrained in our minds and, after a while, succeeding generations forget the reason why the pattern was started and they continue to do it simply because they cant remember when it might have been different.
Sometimes when my wife and I are playing at a guitar Mass and we find ourselves looking at a spiritless congregation where only a few make the effort to sing, I am tempted to scream out, The Brits are gone! The Brits are gone! Open up your mouth and sing! However, I suspect that even this wouldnt lift the out of their lethargy because once the heart becomes harden though lack of use, it takes more than a historical truth to soften it. They would only find another reason like I dont sing well to which I would reply Very few people do. Its the rare person who has a good enough voice to sing solo. However, when a group of not so good singers join together in song, the strengths and weakness of each balances out and the total sound is better than each individual input.
But I might be willing to accept this excuse if these non-singers would at least pick up the hymn book and read the poetry contained in the lyrics because poetry is a combination of the left and right lobe because it blends the language skills of the left with imagery skills of the right. I have learned much insight throughout the years simply from the songs that we sung while performing guitar masses. Listen to the poetry that is contained in a song that we did this morning at Mass and tell me that it doesnt carry a lot of material for reflective thought. The song is Gather Us In.
Here in this place new light is streaming
Now is the darkness vanished away.
See in this space our fears and our dreamings
Brought here to you in the light of this day
Gather us in, the lost and forsaken
Gather us in, the blind and the lame
Call to us now and we shall awaken,
We shall arise at the sound of our name
We are the young our lives are a mystery
We are the old who yearn for Your face.
We have been sung throughout all of history
Called to be light to the whole human race.
Gather us in the rich and the haughty
Gather us in the proud and the strong
Give us a heart so meek and so lowly,
Give us the courage to enter the song.
Here we will take the wine and the water;
Here we will take the bread of new birth,
Here you shall call your sons and your daughters,
Call us anew to be salt for the earth.
Give us to drink the wine of compassion,
Give us to eat the bread that is You.
Nourish us well and teach us to fashion
Lives that are holy and hearts that are true.
I dont know about you but none of my prayers ever reach this level of sophistication and I am thankful to God that he has gifted someone else with the ability to express so eloquently what my own feeble heart is unable to say.
Those who neither sing nor read the lyrics have failed to communicate with God the Father on two levels of communication which were specifically designed to reach him. I often wonder what will happen when they finally meet him.
I can imagine a conversation that might take place between Jesus, the verbal left lobe of God and His Father, the nonverbal right lobe of God. It might sound like this:
Jesus: Father, this is Joe Reilly who has worship, loved and admired you through most of his adult life.
The Father: Joe who? Are you sure? I dont remember any Joe Reilly. You say he worshipped, loved and admire me through most of his adult life.
Jesus: Yes. Dont you remember how he used to say Holy, holy, holy Lord God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of Your glory. Hosanna in the highest
The Father: Son, you know the problem I have with words. They just seem to fly over my head. Thats why you had to show Me your love for them and for Me by dying on the cross.
Jesus: I know Father. Ive tried to tell them that words are empty but they are a hard-hearted people.
The Father: Wait! Is this fellow that used to sit in the last pew in the center aisle?
Jesus: Yes! Thats him.
The Father: He was praising me? Is that what he was doing? It didnt look like he was even interested. He hardly opened his mouth and when he did, he mumbled half the words and never showed any type of expression or emotion. In fact, I hardly knew that he was there. He never expressed any interest, he never sang and you do know how much I respond to singing. Its just as my son Augustine said, He who sings, prays twice. However, this fellow hardly ever prayed once. If anything, he reminded Me of Judas who, as you know, was the first person to leave Mass early.
Jesus: Well, maybe hes a little shy, Father, and has trouble expressing himself.
The Father: Wait! I recognize this guy. Isnt he the guy that paints his body green? And wears an Eagles beak at football games?
Jesus; Well, yes. Hes been known to do that on occasion. What shall I tell him?
The Father: Well, I dont have anything against football games but look, I hardly know the fellow. He and I never communicated and we dont even have a relationship. In fact, I never knew that he was interested in a relationship and you know I dont like to impose myself on others. I dont think hed be happy here. Tell him to go to hell. Theyve got some great football games there and its obvious that that is really where his heart is and you know, Son, I have to respect everybodys heart.
I hope that you dont take this to mean that I believe that God is against anyone who is a football fan because, if he is, then I am condemned. I am simply suggesting that when we have great enthusiasm for football and none for God then something is wrong.
Well, I see that my time is up. Heres Dom.