We have two brains: a left and a right. Modern brain scientists now know that your left brain is your verbal and rational brain; it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to numbers, letters and words… Your right brain is your nonverbal and intuitive brain; it thinks in patterns, or pictures, composed of ‘whole things,’ and does not comprehend reductions, either numbers, letters, or words.

Most activities require both sides, each contributing its special functions, but a few activities require mainly one side, without interference from the other. Drawing is one of these activities.

Paradoxically, “learning to draw” means learning to make a mental shift from Left brain to Right brain. That is what a person trained in drawing does, and that is what you can learn.

In looking for a way to “turn off” the dominant left brain and “turn on” your non-dominant right brain the following is a good exercise. It will force a cognitive shift and suppress the left brain completely. Follow these steps:

1. Total silence

2. Music

3. Better yet, a visual pattern movement such as dance with good music

4. Find a place you can be totally uninterrupted for twenty minutes, set an alarm if possible. If you don’t care about keeping track of time (a Left mode function) omit the alarm.

5. Tape down a piece of paper to the table (absolutely necessary).

6. You are now going to draw your hand without seeing what you are doing.

7. Turn your body completely away from the paper so you cannot see the hand drawing.

8. Do not peek at your drawing. The minute you do you will slip out of the right brain. The impulse will be great but you must resist looking no matter how overwhelming it is.

9. Focus all your attention on observing the hand you are drawing as you draw.

10. Focus your eyes to some part of your hand, observing ever variation and undulation of the edge. As your eyes move, move your pencil at the same slow pace on the paper, creeping a Millimeter at a time.

11. Match the movement of the pencil exactly with your eye. One or the other may attempt to speed up, don’t let it happen.

12. The left brain will say, “Stop this stupid stuff right now! We don’t need to look at things this closely. I’ve already named everything, this is boring – if you don’t stop, I’ll give you a headache.” Ignore this left brain complaining, simply persist. You do not care if the drawing looks like a hand. After you are finished remember how you felt. Did you become enthralled with what you saw? Next when you go again to this state will you recognize it?

For further information,refer to Betty Edward’s best selling book,”Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”.


2 Responses

  1. Tom…The best source for the application of the right brain in business is the book”Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink…Sid

  2. Nice site thank you. I’m interested in learning more on how to turn on my right brain at will, especially when I need to be creative business writing wise.

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