I recently read (actually listened to) the book My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor. It was an extraordinary book on the workings of our brain and the functions of the left and right brain! There is so much information to gain from this book that I am listening to it a second time! (I listen to audio books going to and from work everyday.) I find it absolutely amazing that this lady, a neuro-anatomist, was able to document her actual stroke AND the following 8 years of recovery such that we could all benefit from the insight and experience! When else have we as a people ever been able to find out what it is like for a stroke patient, what they are going through, what they best need to recover, and how they need to be treated during recovery? Neurologists everywhere must be in awe to have such a resource for helping to understand the human brain and how it works.
I especially found the inter-relations of the 2 sides of the brain particularly intriguing. Since Dr. Taylor’s left brain was compromised from the stroke, she was left to exist mostly in her right brain in the early post-stroke months. The absence of the left brain’s functionality allowed her to retreat to an existence that reminds me of what Eastern religions typically called nirvana or meditative enlightenment. I believe that her right-brain experiences could actually explain much of what people attribute to their religious experiences. I think it is very interesting how she saw the energy that everything and everyone around her had and how that energy seemed to flow from one to another. That we are all part of that same energy and can affect each other by taking away that energy or giving to that energy. That we are all a part of the world’s energy.
Additionally, I learned that the left brain is responsible for linear, sequential thought to a much greater extent than I realized. That it defines the “edges” of our very being, the group of atoms that define us as an individual. That the left brain is responsible for the concept of time, past and future. The right brain only understands the “here and now” and has no concept of the passage of time. I loved that escaping into the right brain brought a sense of peace and serenity and a muting to the constant internal brain chatter that existed when the left brain was working properly. There is so much to learn and gain from this doctor’s experience. I highly recommend everyone reading this book and gain a better understanding of the human brain and it’s elasticity.