When is our Brain at it's Best for doing What?

" I awake usually around 2am and study till about 6am every day,yet after working 8am to 5pm as a carpenter,getting home,I walk my dog George usually for 1/4 mile walk,then play Frisbee for a half hour,then fix his supper and mine,take shower.usually I am asleep by 7pm,At 5pm.I am very aware that I am not in the right mind to study,to make any major judgements etc"..

The 2am to 6am time is a time for high state of creativity,desire to study,very "diffused thinking.High Awareness.

I started studying in this method about 3 1/2 years ago while still in alcohol rehab.,and I think I can safely say ,in this amount of time,I have learned 10 times more then I learned in 12 years of school,and embodied this knowledge.

I personally view the way I was taught from 1968 to 1980 as a day-care,except for being lucky to have a few great teachers.

Hopefully our school system has improved,or is in the process of changing.

Focused Versus Diffuse Thinking
Since the very beginning of the 21st century, neuroscientists have been making profound advances in understanding the two different types of networks that the brain switches between—highly attentive states and more relaxed default mode networks.[i] We’ll call the thinking processes related to these networks the focused mode and diffuse mode, respectively—these modes are highly important for learning.[ii] It seems you frequently switch back and forth between these two modes in your day-to-day activities. You’re in either one mode or the other—not consciously in both at the same time. The diffuse mode does seem to be able to work quietly in the background on something you are not actively focusing on.[iii] Sometimes you may also flicker for a rapid moment to diffuse mode thinking.

Focused-mode thinking is essential for studying math and science. It involves a direct approach to solving problems using rational, sequential, analytical approaches. The focused mode is associated with the concentrating abilities of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, located right behind your forehead.[iv] Turn your attention to something and bam—the focused mode is on, like the tight, penetrating beam of a flashlight.

Diffuse-mode thinking is also essential for learning math and science. It is what allows us to suddenly gain a new insight on a problem we’ve been struggling with, and is associated with “big picture” perspectives. Diffuse-mode thinking is what happens when you relax your attention and just let your mind wander. This relaxation can allow different areas of the brain to hook up and return valuable insights. Unlike the focused mode, the diffuse mode is not affiliated with any one area of the brain—you can think of it as being “diffused” throughout the brain.[v] Diffuse-mode insights often flow out of preliminary thinking that’s been done in the focused mode. (The diffuse mode must have clay to make bricks!)

Learning involves a complex flickering of neural processing among different areas of the brain, as well as back and forth between hemispheres.[vi] So this means that thinking and learning is more complicated than simply switching between the focused and diffuse modes. But fortunately, we don’t need to go deeper into the physical mechanisms. We’re going to take a different approach.

The Focused Mode – A Tight Pinball Machine

To understand focused and diffuse mental processes, we’re going to play some pinball. (Metaphors are powerful tools for learning in math and science.) In the old game of pinball, you pull back on a spring-loaded plunger and it whacks a ball, which ends up bouncing randomly around the circular rubber bumpers.

Take a look at the following illustration. When you focus your attention on a problem, your mind pulls back the mental plunger and releases a thought. Boom—that thought takes off, bumping around like the pinball in the head on the left. This is the focused mode of thinking.

while in focused mode, sometimes you inadvertently find yourself focusing intently and trying to solve a problem using erroneous thoughts that are in a different place in the brain from the “solution” thoughts you need to actually need to solve the problem. As an example of this, note the upper “thought” that your pinball first bounces around in on the left-hand image. It is very far away and completely unconnected from the lower pattern of thought in the same brain. You can see how part of the upper thought seems to have an underlying broad path. This is because you’ve thought something similar to that thought before. The lower thought is a new thought—it doesn’t have that underlying broad pattern. The diffuse approach on the right often involves a big-picture perspective. This thinking mode is useful when you are learning something new. As you can see, the diffuse mode doesn’t allow you to focus tightly and intently to solve a specific problem—but it can allow you to get closer to where that solution lies because you’re able to travel much farther before running into another bumper.

From Barbara Oakley

Diffused attention has also been shown to be especially important to creativity and creative problem solving. In a study conducted by Northwestern researchers,(The Origins of Insight in Resting-State Brain Activity-PMC) participants with diffused attention scored much higher on the Creativity Achievement Questionnaire than participants in focused attention mode, with IQ being the controlling variable.  This insight is illustrated by the chart below:

The Origins of Insight in Resting-State Brain Activity-excerpt→ "Cognition and the Resting State Most research on human cognition has focused on directed, goal-oriented, thought. In contrast, a relatively small body of research has focused on the spontaneous, undirected, thought that occurs during a resting state when a person is given no particular task to perform (Christoff et al., 2004). Results from functional neuroimaging studies have shown that resting-state activity is decomposable into a number of separate networks (Damoiseaux et al. 2006) and that some of these networks include brain areas also recruited during the performance of tasks involving higher cognitive functions (Andreasen et al., 1995; Christoff et al., 2004). This suggests that spontaneous thought during rest may involve some of the same thought processes engaged during problem solving.
The neural correlates of the resting state are not identical to the default state identified by Raichle and colleagues (Raichle et al., 2001). The default state consists of the network of brain regions that are more active during the resting state than during the performance of a task. Activity in this network is attenuated during active engagement in a task. Spontaneous thought during rest engages additional brain areas that are also active during task performance but are not part of the default-state network and are therefore not attenuated during task engagement (Christoff et al., 2004)".

PMC archives papers that fall under the public or open access policies of participating funding agencies and organizations. For specific information on how to comply with the policies of these participating funders, please see their websites:

For information on depositing a paper in PMC in compliance with a public access policy, see How Papers Get Into PMC.

Additional information for NIH-funded authors can be found at NIH Public Access and PMC. Questions about a particular agency or organization’s public access policy should be directed to the contact provided on the funding agency’s website.

See PMC International to learn how non-U.S. funders participate in PMC.

..Learning in focused mode is usually what people think of when hearing the word “learning.”  It is using our focused attention to think solely about the information we are trying to learn.  During focused mode thinking, we are sitting down and deliberately practicing something or trying to solve a problem, without distracting ourselves with anything else.  When you are sitting down and writing a paper, doing a math problem, or practicing a specific dance move, you are in focused mode.

The focused mode can be thought of as the foundation of knowledge, laying the initial memory traces for us to form our knowledge base.  The focused practice and repetition of triple axles, free throws, roundhouse kicks, math problems, or vocabulary is what allows us to build a foundation of knowledge to ultimately apply it to what we are ultimately learning to do—whether it be figure skating, playing basketball, doing karate, acing a math examination, or learning to speak a foreign language.

Unlike focused mode, diffused mode doesn’t seem to have one central area in the brain that is mainly responsible—it seems to be a division of labor of multiple areas of the brain.

"The Artist's Way" is one method,and my routine for engaging the "Diffused" mode of thinking

Are You Listening to the Great Creator?

Julia Cameron believes that creativity is part of our 'spiritual DNA.'

What is the relationship between creativity and faith?

Art used to be made in the name of faith. We made cathedrals, we made stain-glassed windows, we made murals. When Michelangelo was flat on his back in the Sistine Chapel he was in service to something larger and greater than himself. And so artists have always talked about the inner connection to a larger something, and sometimes we call it the muse. But what we are actually talking about is that any time that you are engaged in a creative act you are engaged in a spiritual act. And that's probably the single most important sentence: Any time we're engaged in a creative act we're engaged with an inherently spiritual act.

Faith is almost the bottom line of creativity; it requires a leap of faith any time we undertake a creative endeavor, whether this is going to the easel, or the page, or onto the stage -- or for that matter, in a homelier way, picking out the right fabric for the kitchen curtains, which is also a creative act. You have to muster a certain amount of belief that you're not making a mistake and you're not a fool. And this means you have to have faith.

Is it faith in yourself, or something else, like a higher power?

Well I think when you have faith in yourself you are simultaneously having faith in a greater power. If we are all part of an interactive connected universe, which is what I believe, then as we listen to the still small voice which is another way of saying the intuition, the hunch, the leading -- which are all things that artists must pay close attention to. We are in effect listening to the Great Creator.

We can believe we are being self-reliant and independent and yet there is still clearly an overarching destiny, a great maker. So when we say we have faith in ourselves we cannot really separate the small self from the large self.

You say that making art is not an act of the mind or the intellect, but of the heart and the soul.

Yes, and I want to be clear about that. We have a culture that is very competitive and also very product-oriented. And artists live within this culture so there is a tendency to advise artists to think about shrewd career moves and consider the odds and pursue an artistic unfolding much the way someone would climb a corporate ladder.

However, the reality is that, again, if we are living in an interactive and essentially a benevolent universe -- and that in itself is a leap of faith for a lot of people -- then it comes back down to the idea that every time we make a piece of art we are in fact having a spiritual experience.

I think creativity is just part of our spiritual DNA, in one form or another. Artists talk about it a lot of different ways. But essentially when you're really in the moment of making something -- whether you're singing or in acting or painting or writing -- you have an experience of something moving through you. And people have that when they get involved with sewing an apron or making curtains or writing a letter. It's that funny sense of altered time -- and that's a spiritual experience, although people don't often think of it that way. You know when someone will say, "I looked up and three hours had gone by." That's because they were absorbed in the now. All spiritual practices talk about getting absorbed in the now.

"Walking in This World" makes the case that beyond the heart and the soul, the body is also intimately involved in the creative process. How?

When we walk things tend to become clear to us. You know a lot of us intuitively know this, like if we have a relationship that's not working very well we'll go out for a long walk on it. And we'll think oh we're being so moody but we may come back saying I should stay in it or I have to break up. We automatically access our bodies just from instinct. This is also why if somebody has a trauma, bodywork is often used to release grief.

What I'm hoping to do is to get people to integrate their body into their spiritual practice and into their art. And many times in creative situations your stomach will start to go crazy and it'll be, "Don't trust this producer," "This agent isn't right for you." Your body is the first line of defense signaling danger. And so creative people really need to learn to listen to their bodies, because often their heads are slower to catch on to something suddenly wrong. We tend to want to lead with our heads. We tend to say, "That's not rational." And actually our intuition -- which we access often through walking -- our intuition is our early warning system.

As far as doing something physical -- can it be anything, or is there something about walking that particularly refreshes your soul?

I think walking is a spiritual practice, an ancient spiritual practice for a good reason. There is something about walking that really integrates the body and heart and psyche. I experience sort of a physical shift when I walk. I can literally feel it in sort of the back of my brain at the top of my head. It's as though I go out on a walk worried and somewhere, maybe 20 minutes into it I suddenly am in the moment. And I'm not saying that skating or roller-skating or running don't work but I think that aborigines and Native Americans go on walk-abouts and vision quests for a reason. And also walking is easy, you don't need any special stuff. Anybody can do it you can do it anyplace, you could do it in the center of Manhattan you can do it in Los Angeles -- although people stare at you when you don't drive your car. You can do it in New Mexico you can do it Chicago, you can do it in Des Moines.

You say were called to this teaching. Do you ever feel as if you've started a new religion?

I probably started an old religion more than anything. People will come up to me and say "'The Artist's Way'" is a Sufi book," or "'The Artist's Way' is a Buddhist book," or "'The Artist's Way is a creative spirituality book, or science of mind book. It seems to connect to a great many spiritual pursuits. And I think that's because if you get the barnacles off, most spiritual traditions teach pretty much the same thing. So I think that since art is a spiritual path, and it can be pursued within any number of religions, "The Artist's Way" is complementary to other religions.

Personally, I think of myself as a working artist. I worry if my plays are going to get done this year, if I'm rewriting my novel. I am very careful that although I do teach I've spent an equal amount or a greater amount of my time actually making things. So I feel like I've largely dodged the silver bullet of guru-dom.

There are also many artists who would never talk about art in spiritual terms at all. And yet they would be having the experience and learning the spiritual lessons exactly the same as a spiritual path but they would never put it in those terms. I've been a writer for 35 years. This has taught me patience. God knows this has taught me humility. God knows it has taught me to enjoy inspiration and conscious contact when I feel it. These are all the same things that a monk would tell you. If you meet somebody who has done one thing long enough, they've always learned a lot. Someone who's been a baker for 35 years has learned the same lessons as a painter who has learned the same lessons as a monk.

Being Entertained,as a Laziness and Apathy

“Efficiency is intelligent laziness. – David Dunham

"Most unfortunately, our apathy keeps us from making a positive mark or three on the world in our own unique ways.  If I don't care about things, I'm not going to volunteer my time to help other people.  If I don't care, I'm not going to challenge myself to make things better.  If I'm apathetic, it's very easy to simply sit on the couch and passively experience the entertainment that's been created by people who have taken action and who have pursued their dreams."..so seek to be Entertained.

"But if I'm apathetic, then I'm not creating conditions in which I learn.  After all, our most effective and most important learning comes when we've taken actions and we learn from the results of those actions, be the results positive or negative, what we hoped for or what we hoped to avoid.  A lack of action keeps us from learning very important lessons." so seek to be Entertained.

“Busy-ness is Laziness,”

Many, many people tell me “I’m having a lot of problems doing this [meditation] practice because I am so busy. I’m really busy. I have a full life. It’s busy and I run from morning ‘til night.” People actually say that.

Now think about that for a minute. What kind of life is that? Is that a life worth living? Some people feel it is. America is probably the most extreme example of a speed-driven culture—and this is not my particular personal discovery, but something that has been said to me by many people from other traditional cultures. The first time this was said to me was when I was 19 and I went to Japan. Western people are running from themselves and they use the busy-ness of their lives as an excuse to avoid having to actually live their own life. We are terrified of who we actually are, terrified of the inner space that is the basis of the human experience.

Excerpt from : elephantjournal.com

How evil triumphs with our apathy and complacency

excerpt from above :

Ronald Reagan once said, “History will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.”

That happens far too often, and it is an indictment of us all. We in the comfortable West have allowed too many things to take place which never should have happened.

For example, far too many folks — Christians included — allowed the evil of human slavery to endure. Few took a stand against it, and those who did were greatly vilified and attacked by those supporting the status quo — and that included far too many Christians.

Indeed, plenty of slave-owners were Christians, and they railed against Christian abolitionists such as William Wilberforce. He was hated and despised not just by non-believers but by believers as well. He was even known as “the most hated man in all of England”.

However, he was also known as “the conscience of a nation”.

We need many more such champions. They are in the clear minority. The majority prefer to just sit back, comfortable and relaxed, unwilling to rock the boat. Whatever evil may be happening all around them, they will not speak up. They will not resist. They will not do that which is right.

History is full of such apathetic and callous hordes. At the very time when men and women should have stood up and raised their voices, they stayed silent. As a result, they permitted horrific evil to occur. They in their silence are just as guilty as those who did the actual evil.

Hitler’s Germany

Consider Germany in the 1930s and ’40s. Most Germans said nothing and did nothing about the developing cloud of Nazism. All too many supported it. And most Christians also kept silent. Those believers who stood against the evil of Hitler were in the clear minority.

Three Types of Arousal

excerpt from: changingminds.org

When we are aroused we are energized and 'feel alive'. There are three ways that arousal can be achieved: mentally, emotionally and physically, as described below:

Cognitive arousal

Cognitive, or intellectual, arousal is about thinking and mental stimulation. This is the state where we are exploring, learning and discovering interesting things. We are driven into this cognitively aroused state by curiosity, novelty and general interest.

Some people are more easily stimulated by cognitive arousal than others. When aroused, some are more focused on learning whilst others (often 'experts')"the ego" are more likely to act to display and defend their pre-existing ideas and knowledge.

Affective arousal

Affective, or emotional, arousal happens when we are emotionally charged up and feel passionate about something. We may be angry, excited, scared, joyful or feeling the stimulation of any other emotion.

Some people fall easily into affective arousal and may be considered to have a volatile temperament.

Affective arousal is, in some ways, most central to arousal in that cognitive and physical arousal are more likely to be accompanied with some degree of emotional sensation. There is a less frequent direct connection between cognitive and physical arousal.

Physical arousal

Physical arousal occur where our bodies are in a heightened sense of arousal, typically with adrenaline coursing through our system and activating our muscles. Physical arousal includes both sexual arousal and the bodily activation we feel when we are engaged in sports and other physical exertions.

There are deeply programmed responses to physical threats which create arousal and action without cognitive intervention, for example when we jump out of the way of a falling branch or block a punch thrown at us.

Although we generally seek positive emotions, there is also an attraction to negative emotion, as evidenced in the many stories and movies that engender fear, sadness, anxiety and so on. Likewise many physical sports engender anger, fear and so on. What often happens in these situation is that, by some curious process, the negative emotion gets converted into pleasurable excitement.

Thinking Skills and How to Think

Knowing how to think in any given situation – which type of thinking to employ – is a vital skill. The start point is understanding that there are many different ways to think; that how we think should be a matter of conscious choice.

So, if how to think is a choice, what are the key types of thinking skills? Here are some of the most commonly used categories. Rather than simply repeat dictionary definitions of thinking skills, we have included brief descriptions of how we see the terms being used in the real world of work:

Creative thinking – a general term for the ability to develop fresh perspectives and new ideas. There are many specific techniques available to aid the creative thinking process. Our most popular creativity course is called Creativity for Logical Thinkers – although in reality it is highly relevant for all thinking types who need to be more creative.

Lateral thinking – this is the term used popularised by Edward De Bono to describe a non-linear mode of thinking. De Bono’s Lateral Thinking courses remain an effective way to learn how to think in order to systematically generate new ideas.

Critical thinking – this term is used in many different ways. Perhaps most commonly it is used to denote thorough or exhaustive thinking. Our structured and critical thinking training course makes use of a number of models and templates as an aid to thorough thinking – ensuring all angles are covered.

Logical thinking – the process of progressing a thought process in a linear way. It is probably the dominant thinking process in western society – and many others too.

Parallel thinking – this is the process of avoiding group conflict by all adopting the same mode of thinking at the same time. The best known example of parallel thinking is De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats. Each metaphorical (or physical) hat represents a different type of thinking.

Structured thinking – another way of describing critical thinking; using templates and models to think exhaustively about something.

Positive thinking – although often referred to as an attitude rather than a distinct thinking process, the inclusion of techniques such as CBT – cognitive behavioural thinking – adds weight and structure to positive thinking training courses.

Strategic thinking – a widely used term and therefore one that is used in many different ways. Typically it is used to refer to the sort of thinking required by organisations to set direction rather than individual tactics to deliver results.

Divergent thinking – in the creative thinking process, divergent thinking refers to the thinking required to generate an unfiltered pool of ideas.

Convergent thinking – once ideas have been generated, they need to be assessed and developed into workable proposals. This process is often referred to as convergent thinking.

Associative thinking – the process of linking one thought or idea to another. Associative thinking can be used for creative thinking purposes and has a key role in most memory techniques.

Radiant thinking – this is a specific form of associative thinking where the thinking radiates out from a central idea. Tony Buzan’s Mind Mapping is a good example of radiant thinking. Mind Mapping training is available from Illumine as face to courses or through our online Mind Mapping course.  Please click online courses in top menu. illumine.co.uk

Serendip Studio

A digital ecosystem, fueled by serendipity.

State-of-the-art research on brain asymmetry, explained from molecular to clinical levels.

Hemispheric asymmetry is one of the basic aspects of perception and cognitive processing. The different functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain have been studied with renewed interest in recent years, as scholars explore applications to new areas, new measuring techniques, and new theoretical approaches. This volume provides a comprehensive view of the latest research in brain asymmetry, offering not only recent empirical and clinical findings but also a coherent theoretical approach to the subject. In chapters that report on the field at levels from the molecular to the clinical, leading researchers address such topics as the evolution and genetics of brain asymmetry; animal models; findings from structural and functional neuroimaging techniques and research; sex differences and hormonal effects; sleep asymmetry; cognitive asymmetry in visual and auditory perception; and auditory laterality and speech perception, memory, and asymmetry in the context of developmental, neurological, and psychiatric disorders.

Contributors Katrin Amunts, Ulrike Bayer, Alfredo Brancucci, Vince D. Calhoun, Maria Casagrande, Marco Catani, Michael C. Corballis, Patricia E. Cowell, Timothy J. Crow, Tom Eichele, Stephanie Forkel, Patrick J. Gannon, Isabelle George, Onur Güntürkün, Heikki Hämäläinen, Markus Hausmann, Joseph B. Hellige, Kenneth Hugdahl, Masud Husain, Grégoria Kalpouzos, Bruno Laeng, Martina Manns, Chikashi Michimata, Deborah W. Moncrieff, Lars Nyberg, Godfrey Pearlson, Stefan Pollmann, Victoria Singh-Curry, Iris E.C. Sommer, Tao Sun, Nathan Swanson, Fiia Takio, Michel Thiebaut de Schotten, René Westerhausen


Isaac Lidsky
Born Isaac Jared Lidsky
July 30, 1979 (age 39)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard, Mathematics and Computer Science
Occupation Author, speaker and CEO of ODC Construction
Notable work Eyes Wide Open: Overcoming Obstacles And Recognizing Opportunities in a World That Can't See Clearly
Spouse(s) Dorothy Johnston Lidsky (2004–present)

Isaac Lidsky (born July 30, 1979) is an American corporate speaker, author and entrepreneur. Before losing his sight he played Weasel on NBC's Saved by the Bell: The New Class.[1] He is the only blind person to serve as a law clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court.[2] He currently serves as CEO of ODC Construction, a residential shell contractor in Florida.