Most people realize that they can see, smell, hear, taste and touch simultaneously,
but examining closely how you attend to each of these functions, you discover that
your conscious awareness is limited (see "Exercise -- Mindfulness: Improving Your
Conscious Awareness"). In the beginning stages of learning a new task, the cortex
crackles with electrical impulses and an increased blood flow. After the task has
become sufficiently learned, the action no longer needs your conscious awareness to
attend to it. The new neural pathways are established, and electrical activity and
blood flow are reduced.
Perhaps a subconscious awareness takes over, but a multiple brain functioning can
now be accomplished with the new learned activity while maintaining only a flashing
back and forth of the conscious awareness to reflect upon what is going on. Tap
dancing, typing on a typewriter and playing the piano all had to be consciously
attended to when first learned, but later became 'automatic' enough that talking and
listening at the same time provided little problem.
Learning certain motor coordinated skills can often assist you in seemingly
unrelated areas. In one experiment, when kittens were deprived of the motor
movement of walking after birth, they became perceptually blind! Apparently, a
stimulated motor center is needed to activate a cat's visual brain center. When
children are deprived of the motor movement of crawling in infancy and put into
walkers, some forms of dyslexia often result. Later if the crawling patterns are
eventually practiced, normal reading can often develop.
As an exercise, do the childhood game where you rub your stomach and pat your
head simultaneously. Now rub your head in a clockwise direction and pat your
stomach. Then make the rubbing motion in a counterclockwise direction while
patting with the other hand. Now do it while singing a favorite tune, quoting a
familiar verse, saying the ABC's or the 2's table or inwardly visualizing various
animals at the zoo. Practice adding on your other senses as you do this and become
aware of the odors in the room, the sounds outside and the tactile feeling of the
rubbing and patting motions --- and all simultaneously by flashing your conscious
awareness back and forth. Practice throughout the day other tasks like brushing your
teeth with your left hand while doing circular motions with the right hand and
inwardly visualizing the events of the day.
Hold both hands in front of you with the index fingers pointed away from you.
Now begin rotating one hand clockwise while rotating the other hand counterclockwise. Then reverse directions for both hands. Make a triangle or square in the air
with one finger while circling with the other. Now point the index fingers of both
hands toward each other and rotate similarly, clockwise for one, counterclockwise for
the other. Then reverse your hands and do a counterclockwise movement for the
one, and a clockwise movement for the other.
Since you might have trouble with these movements at first, stand up and do a
cross lateral marching movement to help balance the two hemispheres and alleviate
the blockage you're experiencing. From a standing position, simply raise your left
arm and right leg simultaneously, then raise your right arm and left leg
simultaneously, and continue this marching movement for 12 times on each side.
Afterwards rotate your hands the way you did before to see the improvement.
Now stand up straight and get relaxed. Begin this next drill by swiveling your
arms and hips back and forth together. Next, swing your arms and hips in opposite
directions, then together again, then in opposite directions. Now turn your head in
the same direction as your arms are swinging, then in opposite directions. After
mastering this combination, move your eyes in the same direction as your head, then
move them in the opposite direction. Now combine all the movements while jumping
up and down. Next, snap your fingers at the same time while doing all the rest.
With practice, these drills will give you more fluidity of thought and intention with
a deeper sense of competence and serenity. A hemispheric synchronization and
holistic use of the brain is achieved. But beware, there is a natural resistance to these
exercises, because they require effort. Effort requires energy and rather than exert
yourself -- the path of least resistance is always easier. Don't give in to it and practice
instead. Your brain will reward you with improvement.