I Can Read!
By: Debbie Rosas | July 8, 2009
I am in the midst of reading another great book. It’s a story filled with science to explain the “reading brain.” The book is called Proust and the Squid, by Maryanne Wolf, a professor at Tufts University. This is yet another book that spoke to me while walking past a bookstore in the airport – and the second to call out to me with the name "Proust" in the title. Since I have trained myself to listen to my inner voice, I went into the bookstore to seek out this book, calling to me. It was actually the message of the subtitle that caught my attention: The Story and Science of The Reading Brain. As a dyslexic, my interest was both personal and professional.
I hoped reading this book would give me information about the brain, how it works and doesn’t work. I got this and more.
One quote in particular resulted in a wonderful conversation between my body and mind: “Those who can read see twice as well (Menander)." As a dyslexic always attempting to improve my ability to read, I wondered if this statement could also be true for the body, as in "reading the body." I wondered, if I can read the body, do I see twice as well? I came to a yes as I realized I can and have always been able to read. I’ve always had a reading body. I can read!
I love how Wolf synthesizes cutting-edge interdisciplinary research: psychology and archeology, linguistics and education, neuroscience and history. How she looks at what she calls "the reading brain," chronicling our human development and detailing the neuroscience behind writing and reading, the magic and mechanics. I now have a greater love for my reading brain and a deep curiosity for will happen as we live in a technological world and shift into a digital brain.
When people ask me what I am here to do, I always say, “I am here to help people to feel so they can heal.” I have always known this is my work. As we move into a digital world, I can’t help but wonder if we need a linking intelligence. Something we can use to unite our sensory, reading body with our reading brain, an intelligence to reconnect what I believe is a missing link in developing a new kind of evolutionary intelligence, one that includes sensing and thinking.
What will happen if we create a new kind of communication by developing a "psychophysical" alphabet, which integrates our sensing body and the reading brain? By developing this alphabet, would we be able to consciously communicate with others and ourselves in better ways, even as we develop a digital brain? As a biological species coded to think and feel, would this help us intelligently evolve in a more loving and conscious way? By integrating feeling and thinking, two forms of intelligence, could we more successfully evolve technologically, without losing what I believe to be one of the most valuable gifts and attributes of being human - feeling? I think so.
With nothing other than what Nia has taught me, through The Body’s Way and feeling, this is the vision I believe will help us to socially evolve, teaching us to learn from what we think, do and say by feeling and sensing. Will the result of communicating with a psychophysical alphabet help to eliminate pain and disharmony, replacing it with love? Will love create more pleasure, kinder people and a more compassionate world? I hope so.
Wolf believes reading is one of the single most remarkable inventions in history, and our ability to record history has been one of the consequences of reading. Like other scientists researching the brain, she points out the brain’s extraordinary ability to change and make new connections due to the plasticity of its design. A design coded to change. A plasticity that forms the basis for much of who we think we are and can be. It’s now up to us. No more excuses. The brain is plastic. We can be different.
While this book tells the story of the reading brain, the context of which explains our evolutionary development and unfolding, I continue to wonder if what I was reading could be applied to a reading body. Is a reading brain the same as a reading body? I couldn’t help but wonder if combining the two could create a more holistic context to guide our evolution. I think - or should I say, I feel so. While the physical parts may be different, the interpretation and processing of information, the decoding, is the same and no matter how mentally capable one may be seem, normal or dyslexic, given the opportunity to learn, everyone can learn. I’m a perfect example of finding my way.
Use what I share to inspire and motivate you to develop your own psychophysical alphabet. Communicate using information from both your reading brain and your sensing, feeling body. Everyone and anyone in a body can do this. In this issue we share with you the Nia Principle of X-Ray Anatomy, a simple 3-step process to help you tap into your body’s psychophysical alphabet anywhere and anytime. Above all, The Body’s Way is a way of thinking and sensing combined!
Marcel Proust said “I believe that reading, in its original essence, [is] that fruitful miracle of a communication in the midst of solitude.” I believe sensing, in its original essence, is that fruitful miracle of communication in the midst of thinking. If you commit to cultivating sensing and feeling Pleasure in every moment, through your thoughts, words and actions, you will change your brain, body and quite possibly, the world.
Maryanne Wolf, Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007)