Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
TED - February 2008: Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight
Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness -- shut down one by one. An astonishing story. Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened -- and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery.
Jill Bolte Taylor is an neuroanatomist who suffered a stroke. She experienced herself having the stroke for more than four hours. She studied herself from the inside out. It took eight years for her to have a full recovery. She wrote a book about her experience and has appeared on several talk shows to tell about her story. I found it very moving. I never realized that the left and right sides of our brain store completely separate information. The right side of the brain is where we make our dreams into reality. We decide what we want and we make it happen. Our thoughts turn into energy and we send that energy out into the universe. The universe gives back to us what are thoughts put out. Our cells communicate with one another and with chemicals in the brain. This is how we process information. The right side of the brain is where we are right now. In the present moment. Jill explains that we are energy beings all connected together. I can relate to this because when I dream of something or I put a lot of thought into something, it manifests. It is the energy carried in the thoughts that I put out and the universe gives me what I ask for. This makes perfect sense to me. The right side of the brain is where everything is peaceful and right and beautiful. It is the side where we have the power to choose. We can choose to be whole beings. We can choose to believe that we are all perfect just the way we are. We can choose to get along with one another and let go of our perceptions and judgments. We are at peace with ourselves and with everyone else.
The left side of the brain is very different. This is the side that lives in the past and lives in the future. This is the side where we catergorize and add details. This is the side where we attach memories, sounds and sights to. This is the side that we build on from when we are children. Every experience is a memory and a story and we file it away. The story reoccurs over and over. Everytime an applie pie is baked a certain memory from childhood may pop up. Everytime we hear a certain song or movie we may recollect a memory or an experience. This can be positive or negative depending on the experience. If there is a tragedy in our past and we don’t deal with it, it will haunt us because our left brain does not forget. If someone hurts us, our left brain tells us not to trust that person. We hold on to that. We can’t let it go. Our left brain won’t let it go. This is how tension and resentment starts. We are not able to let go and this is what Jill talks about. We fill our left brain with BAGGAGE. That baggage gets in the way of us being who and and what we want to be. This is is how we become single, solid and separate from the rest of the world. We are not unified. We are out for ourselves alone. The left side of the brain thinks in language. It affects our relationships. It prevents us from connecting and experiencing joy. It holds on to grudges and stories. It does not let us progress as human beings because our minds are always going with chatter and we listen to it and it controls us. It tells us what to do and how to react. It tells us how to respond and how to feel. It is full of interpretations. I feel it can be our enemy if we let it control us.
I was moved by the closing of this video. Jill shared that we can be loving, beautiful, compassionate people who choose to step to the right of our left hemispheres. She talks about taking back our power and how we are the lifeforce of the universe. We can choose how we want to be in the world. We can let go of the chatter in our minds and just be. We can be that GIANT person where we feel on top of the world and nothing affects us. I found it to be liberating. I found it to be refreshing. I found it to be inspirational and motivating. We don’t know how long we have on this earth. Why are we spending so much energy on things that don’t really mean that much in the scheme of things. We are cells! We are dust living in an orbit in space. Most of what we complain about does not really matter. Do we really need to put so much time into fighting a war and guns and killing? When you put things into perspective, the small stuff seems so trivial to me. This video has helped me realize that if I can let go of the thoughts in my left brain and add to the thoughts in my right brain, I will experience nirvana.