I am intrigued by the power of our brains, so much so that I often discuss it in class and frequently blog about it. I have previously posted about neuroplasticity and the brain’s remarkable ability to actually change, adapting itself to situations that are presented to it.

Jill Bolte Taylor‘s experience supports my beliefs and pushes my curiosity to another level. Dr. Taylor practices neuroanatomy, the branch of anatomy that deals with the nervous system.

In 1996, after suffering a stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain, Dr. Taylor was amazingly able to witness and study the effects of the stroke on her own brain and document the resulting changes.

Our brains are made up of two hemispheres, the right and the left. 

The right hemisphere processes multi-sensory input and connects us to the “whole” energetically.  It places us in the present moment.  It validates our being “right here, right now.”  It thinks in pictures and learns through the movements of our bodies.  It connects us energetically and molecularly to the global human race.

The left hemisphere thinks linearly and methodically, connecting the past and the future.  It categorizes and analyzes, thinks in language and connects us to our external world.  It reminds us that, “I am.”  “I am a single solid individual and I am separate from the rest.”

Taylor lost the function of her left hemisphere the day of her stroke.  She tells her story of how her thinking became disconnected, how she could no longer define the boundaries of her own body.  Her molecules began to blend with the molecules around her.  Her analytical left hemisphere was bleeding, impaired and unable to communicate with her right hemisphere.  Dr. Taylor’s ability to define herself as a single, separate, thinking individual was absent.

She speaks of her experience as reaching nirvana.  After she awoke from near death and her life-saving surgery, she felt expansive and wondered how would she squeeze her newfound magnificence and expansion back into her limited small body.  She contemplated if it would be possible to live in this state of being.

We have the power to choose which side of the brain we want to direct our path.  We can live more heavily in the consciousness of the left hemisphere of the brain as a single, solid individual, separate from the flow of life around us.


As Dr. Taylor tells us, we have the power to emphasize the use of the right hemisphere of our brains moment by moment, which will consequently empower us to be who we want to be in the world.  We have the power to feel that “I am the life force power of the universe.”  We have the power to live beyond the limits of our physical bodies, to feel connected to one another compassionately, and to eradicate the feeling of separateness.

I am greatly inspired and quite excited by this concept. What an exceptional thought process from a neuroanatomist who was gifted the opportunity to study her own stroke and share with the world her discoveries.

Let us all be inspired to move beyond our pre-conceived notions and comfortable thinking patterns, to reach beyond the limiting boundaries of our bodies, and strive for nirvana.