“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself”
― Henry Miller
In the brain, it is the right hemisphere that is involved in the perception of anything new or emotionally engaging. New experiences, new information and the learning of new skills all engage the right side more than the left, even if that information is verbal (typically more associated with right mode functioning). When something has been ‘learnt’ or a skill becomes familiar it shifts into the left domain.
Only the right hemisphere can direct attention to what comes from the edges of awareness. The right hemisphere is the only one that can bring us something other than what we already know. The left deals with the known; it is predictive; it prioritises what is expected, prefers what it knows. The left is more efficient in routine situations. It is less so when basic assumptions have to be revised. The left is drawn by expectation; therefore, the right side outperforms it when prediction is difficult.
At different moments seek out what is novel inside yourself or in your surroundings. The expression on a person’s face, patterns in the sky, a feather blown by the wind, or the lines of a leaf. The world is full of fascinating things but it requires the activation of the right hemisphere to perceive and appreciate them.
Taking in new information or learning something new are other ways to shift into the ‘right mode’. With a right shift there emerges a state of openness, curiosity and fresh perception of the world, as if seeing things for the first time.