Monday, May 26, 2008

A stroke of bliss

Jill Bolte Taylor

Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who worked at Harvard’s brain research center, experienced bliss and a kind of enlightenment when she experienced a stroke in 1996. According to the NY Times, her new book, My Stroke of Insight, chronicles her sense of contentment after the stroke affected the functioning of the left side of her brain.

“My perception of physical boundaries was no longer limited to where my skin met air,” she wrote.

After experiencing intense pain, she said, her body disconnected from her mind. “I felt like a genie liberated from its bottle,” she writes. “The energy of my spirit seemed to flow like a great whale gliding through a sea of silent euphoria.”

Using her scientific knowledge, "she brings a deep personal understanding to something she long studied: that the two lobes of the brain have very different personalities," The NY Times says. "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."