Book review: My Stroke of Insight

by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.


Why is a book about a brain scientist’s experience of having a stroke gracing the pages of my religion blog?

Because it was a religious experience. Jill’s massive stroke caused the left half of her brain to shut down. The side responsible for linear, logical thinking. So what remains?

It’s not so much that the two hemispheres process different information; a person can survive with only half a brain. The difference is in the way the two sides think. To the right side, no time exists but the present moment, and each moment is vitally alive, the moment of now being timeless and abundant. Our right mind is the big-picture side, spontaneous and carefree, imaginative and artistic, uninhibited and empathic. We walk in the shoes of another and feel their feelings from the right side of our brain.

By contrast, the left side of our brain is detail-oriented. It is organized and deductive, logical and analytical, able to divide past from present from future. Our left brain conquers the world we live in. Our left brain is also the part of us most responsible for identifying the I. It carefully draws the boundaries between us and the rest of the world, protects us from hurt, preserves our precious identity. It revels in our individuality and strives for our independence.

So, what happens when you find all sense of gone, and you’re left swimming in a universal and eternal sea of brotherhood, suddenly at one with the universe? And, more important: Can we tap the right side of our brains?

Drive fast to your bookstore and pick up this book. Go now.

1 Comment

  1. I think I’ll have to check this one out.

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