Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor was a neuroscientist working at Harvard’s brain research center when she experienced nirvana.
But she did it by having a stroke.
On Dec. 10, 1996, Dr. Taylor, then 37, woke up in her apartment near Boston with a piercing pain behind her eye. A blood vessel in her brain had popped. Within minutes, her left lobe — the source of ego, analysis, judgment and context — began to fail her. Oddly, it felt great.
Today, she says, she is a new person, one who “can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere” on command and be “one with all that is.”
To her it is not faith, but science. She brings a deep personal understanding to something she long studied: that the two lobes of the brain have very different personalities. Generally, the left brain gives us context, ego, time, logic. The right brain gives us creativity and empathy. For most English-speakers, the left brain, which processes language, is dominant. Dr. Taylor’s insight is that it doesn’t have to be so.
Her message, that people can choose to live a more peaceful, spiritual life by sidestepping their left brain, has resonated widely.
If you are struggling to get your right brain in control of your left brain, she has written a book about her work called My Stroke of Insight.