Speaking of gratitude and insight …

… and the present moment… 

My Stroke of Insight
by Jill Bolte Taylor

At the age of 37, Dr. Taylor, a Harvard neuroscientist, suffered a stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. While it took a decade to recover fully, she observed painstakingly and enthusiastically the process of her recovery which she shares in her memoir along with good advice for “tending the garden” of our own brains. It’s a fast, easy, inspiring read.

Here’s the insight: when her left hemisphere shut down, she experienced fully the right hemisphere’s gift. Peace. Bliss. Compassion. Oneness with the universe and humanity. A sense of fluidity and unbounderied energy of Being. “Nirvana,” she calls it. The eternal fascination of the Present Moment.

Consequently, for Jill Taylor, the effort to struggle to regain function in her left hemisphere (order, judgment, language, files of information, the little ego, communication – the capabilities necessary for normal life) was a conscious choice to some extent.  But as a neuroscientist she also remembered the plasticity of brain cells, the body’s eagerness to learn and to heal and concluded that recovery might be possible and desirable. She set about learning again, to sit up, to walk, to speak, to read, to think. Her perceptive, loving and intuitive mother helped her full time.

Later in the book, Taylor encourages the reader to find strategies for quieting the busy left brain “storyteller” delighting in planting drama and trauma in ceaseless chatter and loops of negativity, and to nurture the “right mind” for the sake of self, humanity, the planet.

Bill came across Jill Taylor’s remarkable talk on TED.


Knowing my interest in the brain (having had two fascinating but debilitating brain events in my own life) he shared it with me. And I pass it on to you, as it seems to me to compliment this week’s self-guided retreat on gratitude, insight, and the present moment on the Edge Of the Enclosure web-post.

2 Responses to “Speaking of gratitude and insight …”

  1. biancabookworm Says:

    I went to her presentation and book-signing! She is a remarkable woman; I think nearly everyone (men included) teared up during her talk because she is so inspiring and profound while being humorous about everything! 🙂 Great post, Amma!

  2. travelersabode Says:

    Thank you.

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