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Jill Bolte Taylor’s Stroke of Insight

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Jill Bolte Taylor’s Stroke of Insight

By Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of My Stroke of Insight

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight

My story is ironic and really quite profound. I was a brain scientist at Harvard, teaching and performing research when a blood vessel exploded in the left hemisphere of my brain. Over the course of four hours, I watched my brain completely deteriorate in its ability to process all information. On the morning of the stroke, arterio-venous malformation (AVM), I could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of my life. I became an infant in a woman’s body.

On the morning of the stroke, the cells in my left hemisphere became completely nonfunctional as they were swimming in a pool of blood. When my language centers went off-line, I could no longer create language with my vocal cords or understand language when others spoke to me. In the absence of language, I shifted away from my normal perception of reality. With my brain no longer communicating with me through my normal brain chatter, I shifted away from having any understanding of the external world. When my brain-chatter became silent, I shifted into the consciousness of my right hemisphere, where I experienced a deep sense of peacefulness and euphoria.

The left and right hemispheres of our brains really do process very different information in very different ways. Our left hemisphere is our ability to process language and communicate with the external world. It breaks the big picture of life into details and thinks linearly, methodically and sequentially. As a result, it is capable of understanding the past as it relates to the present, as it relates to the future. It is exceptionally capable of both judgment and critical analysis. Our right hemisphere, on the other hand, is all about the present moment and it embraces the big picture of the context of our lives. Our right hemisphere is a right here right now experience that celebrates the essence of our existence. It thinks in pictures and is the source of our gratitude, appreciation of the present moment and experience of deep inner peace.

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Read more: Spirit, Inspiration, Make a Difference, The Celebrate Your Life Series, , ,

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9:47PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Thanks for posting.

4:28AM PST on Nov 28, 2011

Thank you for sharing your insight. Brains are cool! :)

5:57AM PDT on Oct 17, 2011


9:29PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Jill Bolte Taylor's story is a fascinating one, and provides us with some amazing information about the power of our brains. We have so much power to make a difference in our own lives, if we just implement the information that is made available to us.
Thank you for sharing :)

10:51PM PDT on Oct 15, 2011


8:58PM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

great articles, thanks for sharing

5:05PM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

Just returned the book to the lib today. Will check it out every few years. Wish I had read it before my wonderful mother had her strokes.

9:25AM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

If you would like to hear Dr Bolte talk about her experience, have a look at TED Talks:
Also, explore this site generally, it is completely brilliant.

9:04AM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

What an incredible story! It is interesting as when in a savasana in yoga we get that quick urge to scratch - wipe off the sweat( I do hot yoga) our monkey minds tell us to react and within 20 seconds of breathing normally in and out it is gone.. and when you are aware as you mention it is amazing how we can just move to another thought or not so quickly. I really felt connected to the piece about we choose to create the thought to linger longer- sadness- anger... when you are not aware- we blame everything else on that emotion... really glad I found your story. Bless you!


8:11AM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

My 87 year old mother had a stroke that severely damaged the left hemisphere of her brain. She was a different person after the stroke .... not better (she was already exceptional), but her understanding of the "mysteries of life" took on a whole new meaning. Some may say those 47 days after her stroke were the worst days of her life. I see it very differently.

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