Tuesday, February 8

My Stroke of "Touchy-Feely"ness

My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor, has had buzz around it for a while, she has done a TED Talk about her experiences, so when the book was on for $6 I added it to my shopping cart.  A description of what a stroke and the subsequent recovery is like from the head of a neuroscientist sounded not just fascinating but promised to be helpful as I interact with, assess and treat people with strokes on a fairly regular basis (during placement). Let me just point out that she is a major hippie for being so into brain science.  The book is deifnitely not going to win any prizes in literature; it definitely the subject matter of the book (recount of how it feels to have a massive brain hemorrhage) that justifies its publication and not the quality of the writing.

The first half of the book is very descriptive.  The author uses language to describe what it felt like to become separate from a linguistic existance, to process the world using the right hemisphere.  She describes this as in-the-moment thinking, that the right hemisphere is more interested in the big picture at any given moment created from information gained with our senses.  That is where the lines between science and sap become blurred.  Before I continue I think I deserve some major props for even finishing this book.  When I realized that the second half was going to be entirely fluffy talk about feelings and experiences and thought patterns I considered checking it off the list prematurely.  So props to me for holding out.  And I have to admit that I am (somewhat) glad that I did.

I have always been resistant to uninterested in meditation and ideas like retraining thought patterns.  Boring.  How can you clear you mind?  Why would I want to do that?  Her perspective helped because it was coming from a neuroscientist and she used fancy science words.  Don't worry, I'm not going to move to an ashram or start speaking in confidential voice all the time about the energy around all of us but I've decided to consider some more "hippie" ideas.  Basically, that meditation is actually trying to create a more balanced relationship between the calm, content, sense-driven right side of the brain and the detail-oriented, analytical, language-driven left side.  To let the right brain have a little more say.  Shutting down one's mind, from what I got from this book, can be seen more as quieting the language (inner voice) for a short time to let the other side be conscious.

Wow, I really could not have sounded cheesier.  There goes, maybe I'm becoming more emotional in my old age.  I suspect this thought process won't take me too far but who knows.

Do you meditate?  Refuse to meditate?  How do you let your right brain rule sometimes?

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

My left side of the brain is winning these days! But as you might suspect, I would say prayer, silence and solitude usually help me quiet down and let the right side rule! :)