Thirty seven year old neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte Taylor, rose on the morning of Dec. 10, 1996 to start her morning routine getting ready for work. It turned out to be anything but routine.

 A blood vessel exploded in her left hemisphere leaving her unable to walk, talk, read, or write.

To understand what she experienced, it’s important to recognize how the two parts of the brain work. The right hemisphere thinks in pictures and connects us all as “energy beings” as Jill describes it. The right brain is all about being in the moment and sees us as perfect and whole. The left hemisphere thinks linearly, connecting us to past and future. It thinks and plans using language. It is the left hemisphere that creates the experience of the self as separate from everything else.

JB Taylor

Jill woke that morning with an intense pain behind her left eye. Not realizing anything was truly wrong, she attempted to get on with her day and proceeded to her cardio-glider to get her exercise done. On the machine, she noticed that her hands looked like strange claws. Then she had the experience of witnessing her body as if it were a separate entity. Her head pain intensified so she got off the machine. It was then that everything seemed to slow down. Gone were her quick and fluid body movements. The rigid boundaries of her body evaporated as she propped herself against a bathroom wall. She watched as the molecules and atoms of her body merged with those of the wall. Next she lost her left brain chatter as her mind was silenced.

In the quiet, Jill was drawn into an expansive field of oneness. This was a peaceful, delightful place until the left brain returned telling her she had a problem and needed help. She would alternate between these two realities: one she called La-La Land which was a beautiful state of pure consciousness and connectedness and the other that called her back into the world with ever-increasing urgency. When her right arm became paralyzed, Jill realized she was having a stroke. She knew she needed help and attempted to call work. But by this time, she had lost the ability to recognize words and numbers and it took 45 minutes to finally make this all important call.

At the hospital, Jill struggled with the pain and sensory overload of being in the body. Those experiences were relieved at times by journeys into nirvana (her word); that profound place of peace, freedom, and expansiveness. On a deeper level she comes to understand that everyone can experience this nirvana state.

     “That they could purposely choose to step to the right of their left hemisphere and find this peace.”

This is her stroke of insight, the gift she brought back into the world, the source that would motivate her  year long recovery.

We have the choice to move between the hemispheres moment by moment. We choose, we create. Jill believes (and I agree) the more time we spend in the right hemisphere, the more peace we will find as individuals and the more peace we will bring back into the world.

Jill Bolte Taylor has written a wonderful book. It will especially appeal to the scientifically minded, but it will attract just as many mystics. The other true gift of her experience has to do with understanding what it’s like to have a stroke. If the medical community and family members had this level of understanding, it would revolutionize the care we give stroke victims. I would especially recommend her book to anyone who is caring for someone who has had a stroke. To learn from the inside out what it’s like can only make us more compassionate and more understanding.



Filed under Book Review, Energy medicine, Spiritual/Mysticism

60 responses to “HER STROKE OF INSIGHT

  1. sagarika

    Great excerpts of the book. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  2. You seem to review a wealth of great books! I loved the Jill Bolte Taylor story when I first heard of it last year. Glad to see people like you connecting us all to inspiring pieces ❤

  3. Sounds interesting indeed. I may venture to read it although I’m hesitant because it seems to be such an unnerving experience.


  4. I read this book a while back and found it very fascinating. It was amazing that she was able to observe herself while going through the stroke, and to relate her insights. Your blog has some interesting books covered, so I will take a further look, and will follow you from now on. Thank you!

  5. I cry every time I see this video. So moving. Thanks for posting it.

  6. I watched this video with great interest some time ago. She does an incredible job describing the system breakdowns and recovery potential.
    Her position as neurosurgeon gave her an a great vantage point from witch to view this amazing health challenge.

  7. What an experience. Thanks for visiting my blog and leading me to yours. Come back on Fridays for a free flash fiction story.

  8. I cannot stop crying… What an amazing experience Dr. Bolte had.. My soul was touched by every single one of her words… How extraordinary to have been aware of the mystical ONENESS… Oh! she is so right, if only I could be more often using my right brain (I only do when i am painting, and hardly have time for it), my left brain doesn’t stop for a second, totally overtakes my life.. Thank you for the video, it has inspired me to continue in my self-discovery and spiritual path with much more purpose… I really need to seriously access the mystical… Love and light always xx

  9. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Awesome description of her experience!!!

  10. This is an awesome video!!! This woman was incredible in describing her experience. Excellent!!!

  11. prayingforoneday

    Just WOW…
    This is inspiration right here.
    She used her stroke for good, to learn to teach. It amazes me how she said she almost felt lucky to have had this moment, as she does brain study as her job.
    Easiest re-blog I have ever done.
    Brilliant share, thank you, thank you, thank you!!


    • She’s an amazing woman with an amazing experience. One of my all-time favorite TED Talks!

      • prayingforoneday

        I love Ted. one of the best Teds was this one here

        Monsanto Corporation gets owned by 11 year old boy

        And yeah for what she has been through to be so amazing speaks volumes for her…

      • Great message and he’s way ahead of me. It’s only been in the last year that I’ve started to educate myself about GMOs. I’m sharing anti- GMO info on FB now.

  12. prayingforoneday

    Reblogged this on Looking for reasoning to a complicated world and commented:
    Thirty seven year old neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte Taylor explains what happened to her during a stroke. Powerful and just amazing, she is an amazing Woman who got the chance (As she put it) to see her brain patterns that she studies as her job. Best 20 minute video I have watched in a while, please find 20 minutes to be utterly inspired. Great blog, one of the best I have seen on Word Press ever…Please find the time. Shaun.

  13. thanks for posting this.
    There are ideas worth spreading here.
    ~ Eric

  14. Pingback: is the brain spirituality wired? | Hunt FOR Truth on wordpress

  15. Thank you for liking my last post! I lost track of your blog and it enabled me to find it again 🙂 Very interesting post- what a remarkable point of view, especially as she seems to be using the experience positively, as hard as it must have been. Thank you for sharing your review and passing on such an interesting read.

    • Glad to reconnect! When people get sick or have a serious health crisis, many get stuck focusing on the pain or disability. Taylor used her experience to re-direct her life (as many NDE survivors do), learn deep lessons, and go on to inspire others. Illness always has lessons to teach us.

  16. Oh, wow: Am I glad you liked my poem! This is a fantastic blog, really. It’s like finding a forum for that mental dimension you thought you inhabited alone. I’m a follower!

  17. I remember watching this a couple of years ago. It was amazing then as it is now. I will say that her insights make it possible to make the leaps and consider the reality for a number of disorders and diagnosis’. Awesome share. 🙂

  18. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.

  19. Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it
    was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your
    blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m
    still new to everything. Do you have any tips for rookie blog writers?
    I’d really appreciate it.

  20. Thank you for the wonderful review.

  21. I nominated you for the Liebster Award! Check it out on my blog!

  22. You do a great job of summarizing/reviewing the books you read. Thanks for checking out my new blog, a work in progress:) All the best to you.

  23. curiouserediting

    Hi, Ellis! I just wanted to tell you that I nominated you for a Lovely Blog Award. You can read more about it here: http://curiouserediting.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/curiouser-update/.

  24. What an excellent synopsis of her experiential journey! The book must draw each reader all in. I will have to get it!

  25. Absolutely loved this TED talk!

  26. I just watched this the other day and am in the process of writing a blog post about it, it’s such a remarkable story and so enlightening.

  27. Amazing journey, this story left me thinking deeply.

  28. This is very helpful 🙂
    Thank you.

  29. Hey, you’re back up and running again…!

    I watched the Ted talk ,…Humorous,Insightful and Educating.
    All Blessings, jim

  30. I LOVED this book!!!! … such understanding and so many insights she shared!

  31. What a coincidence! I just finished a blog about the Judgement card and how it describes spiritual awakening, which I define as the ability to dialogue between the conscious and the unconscious. The right hemisphere of our brain sure sounds like the unconscious mind to me, and the left hemisphere is the conscious. Thank you for the insight!

    • Continuing along those lines, I just finished watching Dreamworld with David Icke on DVD. He makes that same connection with the left/right brain and the conscious and unconscious levels. He goes a bit further and combines it with the heart (as guidance) to blast us into superconsciousness. Not sure if there are Tarot cards that would support that.

  32. Saw the TED talk a while ago, I love the part where she said her hand became the wall ,she was experiencing true reality, everything is one ,
    Great post Ellis

  33. I’ve known about her for awhile and saw the video, your review makes me want to buy the book.

  34. Great story, it almost sounds like she awoke into a LSD trip.

  35. This has inspired me to read her book!

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