My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey
My Stroke of Insight A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey Author:Jill Bolte Taylor PhD A brain scientist's journey from a debilitating stroke to full recovery becomes an inspiring exploration of human consciousness and its possibilities — On the morning of December 10, 1996 Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist experienced a massive stroke when a blood vessel exploded in the left sid... more »e of her brain. A neuroanatomist by profession, she observed her own mind completely deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life, all within the space of four brief hours. As the damaged left side of her brain -- the rational, grounded, detail and time-oriented side -- swung in and out of function, Taylor alternated between two distinct and opposite realties: the euphoric nirvana of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace; and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized Jill was having a stroke, and enabled her to seek help before she was lost completely.
In My Stroke of Insight, Taylor shares her unique perspective on the brain and its capacity for recovery, and the sense of omniscient understanding she gained from this unusual and inspiring voyage out of the abyss of a wounded brain. It would take eight years for Taylor to heal completely. Because of her knowledge of how the brain works, her respect for the cells composing her human form, and most of all an amazing mother, Taylor completely repaired her mind and recalibrated her understanding of the world according to the insights gained from her right brain that morning of December 10th.
Today Taylor is convinced that the stroke was the best thing that could have happened to her. It has taught her that the feeling of nirvana is never more than a mere thought away. By stepping to the right of our left brains, we can all uncover the feelings of well-being and peace that are so often sidelined by our own brain chatter. A fascinating journey into the mechanics of the human mind, My Stroke of Insight is both a valuable recovery guide for anyone touched by a brain injury, and an emotionally stirring testimony that deep internal peace truly is accessible to anyone, at any time.« less
A mind-blowing account of the author's experience before, during, and after a major hemorrhagic stroke due to an AVM. This book leads to the question, "who am I" or, "who is this 'I' I take myself to be?". Very thought-provoking for those with an open mind.
What makes this book especially interesting is that the author is a brain researcher and describes and explains the way our brains work so anyone can understand.
We clearly have far more control over our daily experience than we imagine. Read this book to find out how and why.
With much insight, this book fascinates and, ultimately, inspires us to tend the gardens of our minds.
This is one of the best books I have read this year! Taylor's book covers a number of aspects of having a stroke. Because she is a brain scientist, she was able to notice what was happening as her stroke progressed. She then talks about her rehabilitation and includes many sympathetic experiences that can teach us all about relating to stroke victims. The last part of the book discusses her experience reentering life having lost and regained the use of the left half of her brain. This is the part that never shuts up and often plays negative, nagging tapes in our heads. (Also is the mathematical and spatial part, so it's not all bad!) As she recovered, she found that she had control over what circuits she rewired in her brain and the last chapter is part A Course in Miracles, part Eckhart Tole. I found it very uplifting and inspiring and encouraging that the more we choose to feel, say, joy, the more those pathways become ingrained in our minds. A must read!
Fascinating. The first part is an almost surreal story about surviving a stroke but the book has more to offer. The author had been a well-educated but often stressed out and resentful person like so many in this modern world. Then she gained a new viewpoint after half of her brain was damaged. If you are ready to hear the author's message you can learn a lot about taking ownership of your own thoughts and reactions.
During the early history of neurology, strokes were informative "natural experiments:" by correlating specific lesions with specific neurological deficits, we learned about the normal functions of the different parts from the brain. However, there was little direct input from the patient. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a striking exception. In 1996, the 37-year-old Harvard neuroanatomist experienced a massive stroke. Remarkably, she survived, made a full recovery in eight years, and describes her experiences in My Stroke of Insight.
She became more aware of how her brain works: while her left hemisphere was rendered dysfunctional, her functioning right hemisphere filled her with a sense of connectedness and inner peace. After some introductory chapters explaining her background and brain science, she describes the morning of the stroke and the weeks immediately following in great detail. Then the book takes on an almost New Age direction. By becoming more attuned to her right hemisphere, she chose to experience joy and compassion (and we can too).
I believe Dr. Taylor makes some important points: we can all improve our understanding of a patient's perspective and needs; the brain is a resilient, adaptive organ; becoming aware of neural processes can help us attain conscious control over our thoughts, emotions, and behavior. In short, through reading this book I started constructing the scaffold by which I can hope to understand "Eastern thought" (for the lack of a better term) on a scientific level. However, keep in mind that this book is about one person's experience, which is not necessarily generalizable. I found her writing style to be overly poetic and repetitive—how many times is she going to write Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, hook into [neural loops], and step to the right—but heart-warming in its positive message.
Written on three levels, this book is for people who have had someone in their lives have a stroke, For people interested in the area of psychology and brain biology, and most interestingly, for people on the spiritual path.