Secular Religion: Belief in God is a right-brained activity
by phil on Saturday Jan 3, 2009 3:16 PM
One of the most interesting chapters in What Color Is Your Parachute? is "What to do if you get stuck." The author, Nelson Bolles, goes deep into a discussion about how getting stuck on the career search is a symptom of an over-active left-brain. The left-brain, the one that controls logic, he argues, is the safe-keeping part of the brain. We use the left-side of our brain to order our world. And ordering our world is an anxiety-relief gesture against overwhelming complexity. However, this is an inappropriate response in many cases, especially in something as thorny as finding purpose. An over-reliance on order will paralyze our thinking as solutions seem to dry up.
The right-brain, on the other hand, is the experimental, creative side. Bolles offers some simple suggestions, such as going for walks, listening to music, and being open to risk. But I think we can go even further and suggest that you turn to religion. It is my belief, that in order to engage religion, or anything supernatural for that matter, you have to activate the right-side of your brain. One of the principles of right-brained thinking is in imagining connections where there are none. Believing in angels, demons, and that "everything happens for a reason," all help to activate a creative style of thinking about the world. Creativity and dabbling in fantasy go hand-in-hand. Both require a leap of faith that transcends the protective logic of the left-side of your brain.