I’ve been carrying Neil Slade’s new book, Tickle Your Amygdala, around with me for a couple of months now. I take it with me to my favourite café, open a page at random and start reading. It’s an amazing book – in its way one of the best I’ve ever read.
Tickle Your Amygdala is both a “how to” book and a collection of interviews with people who, in the author’s opinion, demonstrate frontal lobes cooperative, creative and intelligent thinking in their daily lives. If the subject is new to you, I suggest you read my article, The Crazy Wisdom of TDA Lingo first and then come back here. I wrote that article years ago, not long after I discovered amygdala clicking (now more appropriately called amygdala tickling).
Okay, now that you’re filled in, I’ll get on with the review. Neil Slade has been talking and writing about the amygdala and its potential role in “brain self transcendence” or just plain positive thinking for over 30 years. His website, neilslade.com, contains something like 2000 entries and has been read by millions. He regularly makes appearances on nationally syndicated radio shows in the U.S. In spite of this, he is not a big name “self help guru” and would probably cringe at the notion of becoming labelled as such.
Tickle Your Amygdala is Neil’s latest effort to show the world how easy it is to tap into the better parts of your consciousness. He does this in a number of ways, including interviews with a variety of people who, in his opinion, demonstrate advanced frontal lobes brain activity in their daily lives. Not only do these individuals not all practice “amygdala tickling” as Neil explains it on his website, some of them don’t practice it at all, but the results of the practice resonate with them.
I was recently asked a question by someone:
I’ve been giving the amygdala tickle a go, but with little success. I can’t seem to envision the actual tickle sensation, and also struggle with the location I should be focusing on. Any tips would be very appreciated!
I’ve been putting off answering it because I don’t know quite how to answer it. The “feather tickling” exercise worked for me originally, but since then, I’ve discovered dozens of other ways to shift my consciousness from the reptilian brain to the frontal lobes. There’s no sense outlining them all, because Neil does a much better job of it in his book. I will, however, offer this quote, which I think sums it all up best:
Brain Radar is a force that manifests through Passive Activity.
Passive Activity is “effortless effort”, to do something with a light touch.
Imagine shooting an arrow into a target. You put your arrow in your bow, you aim, then you let go.
The arrow flies, and meets its destination.
. . . . . .
It’s not the product of doing nothing, but the product of doing nothing special. It occurs as the result of a perfect balance between Doing, and Being.
I’ve sat down and tried to write a review of Tickle Your Amygdala a half dozen times at least. Every time, I find so many quotes I want to use, I’m almost tempted to transcribe the whole thing. This afternoon, for instance, I was sitting in my favourite café here in Sihanoukville wondering, for the upteenth time, why I seem to be one of the few expats in town who enjoys life here. What’s not to enjoy? It’s a friendly town, has great beaches and now that it’s grown, I can even get my favourite Western comfort foods. In spite of this, the majority of expats here live in fear and loathing of the police and seem to think half the population is out to get them. There’s a rather dramatic example of the difference between their perception of Sihanoukville and mine in this post from my Sihanoukville Journal: Sihanoukville Police Checkpoints!
So I’m sitting there with these thoughts in the back of my mind when I open the book and have a Duh! moment (A Duh! moment is sort of like a Eureka! moment, but the flash is so obvious you feel a little dumb when it comes). The reason why I’m happy here and so many are not is because they still perceive Cambodia as a dangerous, corrupt and frightening place. In other words, they are stuck firmly in their reptilian “fight or flight” fear based brains while I, probably thanks to “amygdala tickling”, can see the positive side of life here.
My “Duh!” moment still didn’t help me with my other dilemma, which was how to answer the question, “How can I make it work for me?” Well, I opened the book for answers and once again, I was tempted to transcribe the whole thing. Then I had another “Duh!” moment. It went something like this:
That’s a question Neil Slade and those he interviews answer best in Tickle Your Amygdala.
I happen to be one of the people Neil interviews, but that’s beside the point.
If this sounds like a sales hustle, let me assure you, I am not compensated financially in any way if you buy the book. My compensation comes from the satisfaction of knowing I’ve given the best possible advice. Here’s the link to the Tickle Your Amygdala purchase page. Note that it’s not a tiny url and doesn’t have an affiliate ID tacked on to it.
I’ve been on a roll today. This is the second review I’ve written. If you’re interested, check out this article on my Writing Resources blog: How to Learn Positive Writing.