Dr. Taylor is getting a lot of press these days due to release of her book My Stroke of Insight. Here’s a recent New York Times article. Here’s video from her recent appearance on Oprah, and here’s a video of her speech to the prestigious Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) Conference.
Because of her work at Harvard’s brain research center, Dr. Taylor was well aware that the left half of our brains gives us logic, time, ego, analysis and other structural faculties. The right side gives us creativity, empathy and things of a more intuitive nature. In 1996, Dr. Taylor, at 37, suffered a stroke that incapacitated parts of her brain’s left hemisphere. She found she could experience the right brain without impediment.
“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.” She saw her body’s atoms and molecules blend with the space around her and realized the whole world and all of its creatures were parts of the same shimmering energy. “My perception of physical boundaries was no longer limited to where my skin met air.”
It took her eight years to recover, but the knowledge the stroke provided has remained. Her driving motivation these days is to make sure people know that they can choose to live more spiritual and peaceful lives with the help of their right brains.
Of particular interest to me is her message that organized religion is a far cry from the intensely beautiful spirituality she has experienced. The daughter of an Episcopal minister, she says, “Religion is just a story that the left brain tells the right brain.”
“Nirvana exists right now,” she says. “There’s no doubt that it’s a beautiful state and that we can get there.”