Whole Brain – Whole Body, expanding the horizon of our being
Monday 20th March to Friday 24th March 2023
Our fragmented view of ourselves is reflected in our fragmented world. Bringing together science, traditional wisdom and direct experience, we will explore the realms of our inner and outer ecologies, to see how we can move out of predominantly left-brain thinking and into something more whole.
What might our inner and outer human landscapes be like with a more balanced approach of left and right brain thinking? What might they look like if we extended our thinking even further, to see ourselves as bio-psycho-social-spirito-enviro-organisms.
A hundred years ago Carl Jung introduced the four functions of mind: thinking, feeling, intuiting and sensing. Thus expanding our understanding of how the human mind works and how we interact with our inner and outer worlds. Dartington Hall Trust’s mission for living a many-sided life echoes Jung’s mandala of knowing – bringing in more of ourselves to our lives. Connecting Jung and Dartington’s perspectives in this way is especially meaningful. How are humans fairing on the inside in response to our conditions? As Albert Einstein actually said, ‘A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels’. The time is ripe for shifts in perspective, understanding and in thinking.
We begin our week with a session from Iain McGilchrist, psychiatrist and author (The Master and His Emissary, The Matter With Things), who will guide us in our search towards wholeness in a divided, polarised, uncertain world. Left-brain thinking dominates decision-making and leadership, with all its subsequent consequences such as social and national divisions, psychological illness and a scarcity complex amongst others.
Through an exploration of practices that seek to extend the notion of the ‘ecological self’ (or what it means to be human) beyond our ‘head’ brain, we begin the process of challenging held norms as to what it means to be human. These practices include nature connection; heart, dialogue and embodiment; gong meditation; fermentation and food. Wholeness involves the resolving or dissolving of polarities such as left- and right- brain, or body and mind, nature and culture.
In order to dissolve the opposites, their mutuality needs to be appreciated – they cannot exist without each other. How do we do that? Our aim is not to swap out one set of labels for another, or to provide another abstract, theoretical sense of wholeness. Our goal, through a co-created, live (nature-culture) enquiry and a series of real-life practices is to shift the context of how we see ourselves as humans. This is what we call ‘engaged ecology’ of the human being. We will engage, do and be, as well as converse and think, our way towards a wholeness that is relatable and felt. Iain McGilchrist joins us again towards the end of the course for an online session to discuss and reflect on your experiences and some of the topics that have emerged.
This course is for the explorers, the seekers, the curious unlearners… a place where you can experiment and dive into what wholeness is. We will invite our curiosity to bring us into new relationships, as wise, meaningful beings. We are not proposing to adorn participants with answers. That would be too hubristic in these ever changing times. We will point ourselves in the direction of where new levels of thinking might be found. Now is a moment to reverentially encounter experience, to ask questions and to reflect. If this is a space of inquiry and learning that appeals to you, we seek your company. For it is in the collective wisdom that insights emerge.
ON THIS COURSE YOU WILL
- Learn about the dominance and qualities of left-brain thinking in our lives and our society
- Learn about the right brain and whole-brain thinking
- Explore different ways of ‘thinking’ and knowing
- Learn about practices that engage the brains in our head, heart and gut
- Understand that there are multiple dimensions to being human, how they are interconnected and why they deserve our attention
- Engage in various practices and practical exercises throughout the course, for direct experience of different ways of thinking, knowing and being, so as to deepen understanding of the content