“The right frontal lobe’s capacity to inhibit our natural impulse to selfishness means that it is also the area on which we most rely for self-control and the power to resist temptation.” ~ Iain McGilchrist
I have mentioned my own neurosurgeries, repeatedly, and I probably will keep chirping about it till I die. Nonetheless, Iain’s comment on our neurological management of selfishness does not disquiet my time in the Jesus Prayer. Rather, Dr. McGilchrist is reframing what this quieting on toward the death of self the Church Father’s encourage us on toward. At least, for the moment, some in neuroscience and psychiatry are portraying our right hemisphere as the master. Other’s such as Michael S. Gazzaniga focus on the left hemisphere which Michael with a calm tone tells of it’s fabrications.
Think for a moment about our Desert Fathers’ unceasingly encouraging the rest of us on toward selflessness. At least in my primitive mind, I see the works of both Gazzaniga and McGilchrist as oddly voicing facets of what those Fathers have been calling us toward. Learning this fashion of prayer requires an increasing acknowledgement that our versions of self are naturally off the mark. But, unceasingly accusing the Devil of those concoctions we are not to follow, has that one cheering us on from the sidelines.
I am not saying that one is uninvolved, rather, I am putting forward our using Satan to keep our eyes off our own part in fallenness. So then, take what Evagrios the Solitary advocates as essential: