From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Jill Bolte Taylor: Neuro Nirvana

Human Brain  (Modified Image by Looie496)
Neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor (formerly of Harvard, now at Indiana University) has shared this unique definition:  Religion is a story that the left brain tells to the right brain.

She evolved this definition experientially, via what Taylor calls "a stroke of insight." According to The New York Times, this literal stroke (involving "a clot the size of a golf ball in her head") had greatly
diminished the functioning of her brain's left-hemisphere.  When this occurred, increased reliance upon her right-hemisphere resulted in new ways of perceiving her relationship with the universe.

This daughter of an Episcopalian minister was now expressing insights such as the following:  Nirvana exists
right now…  There is no doubt that it is a beautiful state and that we can get there.  Some traditional religionists are wondering whether the stroke has left her "physically damaged and confused."  Others (mystics and mindful meditators) are hailing her newfound wisdom.

Taylor spent eight years recovering from this stroke.  She is now "committed to making time for passions – physical and visual – that she believes exercise her right brain…" (for it is via right-brain consciousness that awareness of unity with the rest of creation can occur).

Taylor now believes "that the left brain can be tamed."  When anger arises, "she trumps it with a thought of a person or activity that brings her pleasure." 


Copyright August 30, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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