Friday, June 02, 2006

Scanning brain activity through body language

From the Observation Journal: Understanding mental activity through body language

It started as joke, when we said, “my mind works like a computer – and heats up like one too.” Gradually, though, it became clear that the mind is the original computer we first met. And that it processes, stores, works, and heats up.

Now that I am conscious of this, and also doing a lot of brain work, I can clearly feel the areas on the temples and the front heating up after extensive thinking. If it weren’t for cooling by ablutions and praying, and care by massaging, I am certain that it would accompany major hair loss. As I put water on the head during ablution or bath, the water turns noticeably warm as it flows down the head. Such is the intensity of heat.

I also noted from the cues of body language (people touching parts of their head) as to which area of the brain activity might be taking place in, and what were these brain activities visibly associated with. It’s pretty simple. Observe, in this order:

  1. the surroundings and

  2. the circumstances of the subject,

  3. and see which part of their heads they touch,

  4. and what particular action do they do (pull hair, point to their head, scratch).

  5. For finer observations, note the intensity and duration of the action.

  6. note also whether the action is: a/ agitated or b/ peaceful.

  7. Also whether the action is: a/ thoughtful and calculated or b/ reactive and thoughtless.

  8. Then note what the subject does and what changes does she make happen in their circumstances.

When I say “surroundings and circumstances” I mean the visible, tangible surroundings. However, that is for the novice observer. An advanced observer will know that “circumstances” are not just visible; they are defined in terms of intangibles such as feelings, emotional dilemmas, and thoughts themselves.

Secondly, not at all times will a person change their circumstances – often the circumstances will just act upon the person. In these cases, the body language is agitated.

I became aware of the whole process recently when during traveling, I met a person for whom I felt a strong attraction. My companion traveler explained that this person was spiritual, and generally had a lot of attraction about him. (Frankly, I didn’t feel it was all “spiritual.”) I decided to observe.

One day, I was toiling away at my computer trying to find a certain troubleshooting method, a task which I had been unsuccessful at in the many earlier attempts. I noticed that he went all quiet. He put the tips of his index fingers on his temples, and appeared to be concentrating. That very moment, I felt as if I had a memory of how I troubleshot the bug earlier. I followed the steps I saw in my mind, and within seconds, I found the method I had been looking for. I exclaimed, “I found it!” He let go of his head and said, “Yes, I was trying to recall how it was done by a friend of mine.” I told him I was sure that I received that information from him. Interestingly, he was a believing kind, and for a few days afterwards, the whole group of us enjoyed a spiritual camaraderie with many experiments that none of us were skeptical about.

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