I’ve been reading a very interesting book by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D called My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. I discovered the book through an interview with Dr. Taylor that appeared in Science of Mind magazine.
Dr. Taylor suffered from a massive stroke that resulted in her being unable to access the language centers housed in the left side of the brain. What she learned through the experience was the difference between the way her left brain saw her world and how her right brain viewed it. She discovered that without the language processing ability of the left brain, she felt very connected to the Universe and very able to live in the joy of the moment. Dr. Taylor said of this experience, “My stroke of insight is that at the core of my right hemisphere consciousness is a character that is directly connected to my feeling of deep inner peace. It is completely committed to the expression of peace, love, joy and compassion in the world.”
I found this fascinating because as I’ve grown in my own spiritual development I’ve noticed two very distinct parts of myself. My intuitive self is very willing and able to let God work through me without attaching to the outcome. That part of me thrives in peaceful, gentle experiences and doesn’t feel the need to strive or accomplish. My analytical self enjoys deep thought and analyzing my emotions and experiences. It derives great pleasure out of accomplishment and anything connected with language and communication. It loves to help things grow. While I love and appreciate my analytical side, I do realize that it is also the seat of worry and anxiety. I can become so caught up in what I am creating, that I lose touch with my physical self and the moment I’m in or become too engrossed in the speed with which things are growing. On the other hand, if I spend too much time in my right brain, I lose a sense of being grounded and connected to my Earthly existence.
My interest in Dr. Taylor’s work was to learn how she has gone about integrating these two parts of herself…her left brain and right brain personality. I find her advice about “stepping to the right” very meaningful, as I often hear God calling me to come and rest with him when I am becoming wound up in a project or impatient with delay. At first, it was very challenging to “step to the right” as I felt very emotionally invested in whatever I was working on or worrying about. I’m finding though that the more I am able to go to a more peaceful space within myself, the easier it is the next time. I’m learning to recognize when the one way of thinking is becoming out of balance and needs to be “checked” by the other side.
Dr. Taylor says of working with both sides of our personalities, ” Some of us have nurtured both of our characters and are really good at utilizing the skills and personalities of both sides of our brain, allowing them to support, influence, and temper one another as we live our lives. Others of us, however, are quite unilateral in our thinking-either exhibiting extremely rigid thinking patterns that are analytically critical (extreme left brain), or we seldom connect to a common reality and spend most of our time “with our head in the clouds” (extreme right brain). Creating a healthy balance between our two characters enables us the ability to remain cognitively flexible enough to welcome change (right hemisphere), and yet remain concrete enough to stay a path (left hemisphere).”
For awhile, I felt that I needed to “subjugate” my left brain, as it seemed to “take over” and lead me on a high speed race to which there was never any end. After reading about Dr. Taylor’s experience, I’ve come to a more peaceful view of these two aspects of myself. I do need both aspects, but I also need them to be in balance. For me, this means moving to the right more often and learning to let the more “laid back” part of me lead the way.
Dr. Taylor closes her book with the following passage, “I think Gandhi was right when he said, ‘We must be the change we want to see in the world.’ I find that my right hemisphere consciousness is eager for us to take that next giant leap for mankind and step to the right so we can evolve this planet into the peaceful and loving place we yearn for it to be.”
How about you? Are you ready to see life from a more balanced perspective? I encourage you to pay attention to your reactions and actions. Which part of you is leading? Is it leading you somewhere you really want to go? If not, remember you can always choose again! Breathe deeply, remember the peace of a warm summer’s day, and let yourself return to a state of calm. From there, all things are possible.
To purchase Dr. Taylor’s book, visit our Amazon Store: http://astore.amazon.com/sanctuary0a-20?node=15&page=2