Jill Bolte Taylor – My Stroke of Insight

Dr. Joel Ying, MD

Physician, Educator, Storyteller. He hosts this website for "Living the Present Moment" as a conscious journey of Body, Mind, Emotion & Spirit. Holistic and integrative, his practice includes Tai Chi and Yoga, Craniosacral Therapy, Healing From the Core, Meditation. Always exploring his edges, he shares them in the blog, newsletter, courses, and online study group.

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  • Seeking nirvana? enlightenment?
  • Struggling to escape control of the mind chatter?
  • Trapped in the baggage of the past?
  • Stuck in the anxiety of the future?
  • Disconnected from the world?

Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist, describes how a stroke and near-death experience turned off her LEFT BRAIN and gave her an insight into the RIGHT BRAIN experience of inner peace and deep connection to the world. Is this the nirvana that we seek?

Although it is an oversimplification, we can think of the LEFT BRAIN as logical, analytical, and rational. The RIGHT BRAIN is intuitive, creative, and holistic. While the LEFT BRAIN is thinking, the RIGHT BRAIN is feeling. However, we need both sides to work together. In order to use the creativity of the RIGHT BRAIN, we often need the logical LEFT BRAIN to actually birth the creation into the world. Too often, we fight against our LEFT BRAIN as mind-chatter, without respecting the gift of thinking. We struggle to turn off “the mind” of the LEFT BRAIN. On the opposite side, we may try to shut down “feelings” of the RIGHT BRAIN. In the end, we are shut down and cut off from our greatest gifts.

brain 18Perhaps the goal lies in balance. It takes BOTH BRAINS with the bundles of connections that run between them to navigate the world we live in. As we continue to map the brain, the complexity of interconnections is the greatest of lessons: perhaps life is about CONNECTIONS and BALANCE.

Jill Bolte Taylor describes the life-threatening stroke as at once lyrically beautiful and absolutely frightening. After surviving the difficult eight years of recovery to reclaim her life, she now shares the wisdom of that experience in this moving TED talk and subsequent book.

Watch the TED talk: My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor