By Matthew Fry
Jill Bolte Taylor, a 37-year-old Harvard-trained Neuroscientist, had a research opportunity few would wish for, when a blood vessel exploded in her brain causing a massive stroke. In the video below she talks about how she watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one, and about the spiritual and medical metamorphosis she experienced after.
Taylor explains how the brain is split into two hemispheres, and how each processes information differently and thinks and cares about different things, essentially having it’s own personality.
The right hemisphere thinks visually and learns kinesthetically. It is all about the present: “right here, right now,” which is the basic teaching of Zen philosophy; Zen meaning to wake up to the present moment. It is empathetic and sees that “we are energy beings connected through the consciousness of our right hemispheres as one human family.”
The left hemisphere thinks linearly and methodically and is all about the past and the future. It thinks in language and creates on-going brain-chatter, being the source of the little voice that says, “I am,” giving the sense of ego and separateness. On the morning of her stroke, Taylor’s left-brain was knocked out of action by a blood clot the size of a golf ball. She lost the ability to speak and read as her left-brain began to shut down. At the same time she stepped into the right-brain world of connectedness and empathy which she affectionately calls “la la land”. When she woke in hospital later that afternoon, she was shocked to still be alive. “I’m still alive, and I have found Nirvana, and if I have found Nirvana and I am still alive, then everyone can find Nirvana! I pictured a world filled with beautiful, peaceful, compassionate, loving people who knew that they could come to this space at any time and that they could purposely choose to step to the right of their left hemispheres and find this peace, and then I realized what a tremendous gift this could be, what a stroke of insight this could be, and it motivated me to recover.”
Fortunately, her left hemisphere was not permanently destroyed, and over the course of eight years, with an angel of a mother by her side, she made an awe-inspiring complete recovery.
Today, she says she is a new person, one who can step into the consciousness of her right hemisphere on command and be “one with all that is.”
I was deeply moved by her astonishing story which brought to tears when watching the video for the first time. Taylor’s drive and enthusiasm is infectious, and the combination of her science expertise and personal stroke of insight was profound and penetrative. It allowed my left-brained way of thinking to be utterly convinced of the reality of something else, something natural, something that was “part of the potential experience of every person.”
Through the process of meditation – a right brain activity – we can each cultivate a greater sense of peace, teaching our right-brains to dominate our left, and thus really harness the power of the left-brain, with the ego being tamed; perhaps converted from a perceived enemy into a friend.
Jill Bolte Taylor believes that “the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.”
What an amazing insight she has brought to us by means of her own personal, somewhat traumatic experience! I’m tremendously grateful for the blessing and see it as an incredibly important message that really needs to be shared with our world.
I hope one day everyone on our planet will embrace these profound insights and begin to develop their own sense of inner peace, for which meditation is an invaluable key.
Peace on Earth – it’s only a breath away.
About the Author of this Article: Matthew Fry is a Positive Change Agent and Social Activist. His Love and Enthusiasm is contagious.
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