Left Brain–Right Brain

Strange, but fascinating.

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.

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10 Responses to Left Brain–Right Brain

  1. rhb says:

    Just started this yesterday. T, my wife, has been reading about the way brains work for some self motivational reason and I caught the title of this one out of the corner my eye while strolling through Borders. I was two chapters in before I knew it.

  2. rhb says:

    One line I just remembered: This book tells you a strategy for moving to the right of your left brain.

  3. rahmama says:

    Your blog headline caught my eye. I find this subject fascinating because I have to switch brains on a regular basis. Our business requires a lot of bookkeeping type chores, but my true love is writing. Switching over gets easier with practice.
    I wrote a blog about this subject not too long ago and inserted the swirling dancer which turns clockwise and counterclockwise, depending on which side of your brain is kicked in.

    I have two blogs, the link below should go to ‘Blink of an eye’ posting…..if my left brain is working right.


  4. Nath says:

    I’m skeptical of the whole left brain/right brain thing. I found this http://www.rense.com/general2/rb.htm
    that seemed to support my suspicion, though I would be willing to look at other studies if someone has them.

    As far as the twirling dancer illusion, how does that prove what side of the brain your using? Why would switching perspectives make a difference to whether you are using your right or left side of your brain?

  5. Michael Rubin says:


  6. rhb says:

    Nath, rather than being disproved by the link you provided I think you will find the this book actually is working along similar lines of research and discovery.

  7. Nath says:

    Yeah, I had a feeling that what was described above was not really the whole idea. I’ll check it out. I didn’t think the link I posted disproved it so much as let me know I wasn’t completely out on my own in thinking there were problems with the right brain left brain idea.

  8. Pathy says:

    I read “My Stroke of Insight” in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down. I laughed. I cried. It was a fantastic book (I heard it’s a NYTimes Bestseller and I can see why!), but I also think it will be the start of a new, transformative Movement! No one wants to have a stroke as Jill Bolte Taylor did, but her experience can teach us all how to live better lives. Her TED.com speech was one of the most incredibly moving, stimulating, wonderful videos I’ve ever seen. Her Oprah Soul Series interviews were fascinating. They should make a movie of her life so everyone sees it. This is the Real Deal and gives me hope for humanity.

  9. sensit says:

    You may find it interesting to read Buddhism-influenced review of My Stroke of Insight by Dr Jill Bolte Taylor


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