Stroke of Insight
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Dear Still Water Friends,
Many of you have seen the video by Jill Bolte Taylor. If not, you can see it at: http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html
It is a powerful and enjoyable video. However, her book A Stoke of Insight is particularly interesting to those involved in the practice of Mindfulness. In the book, she goes into great depth describing what she experienced while part of her brain was disabled. She describes a world that is quite similar to what the Buddha described. She talks about how her experience with her linear thinking mostly non-functional was exhilarating and euphoric and something she was not sure she wanted to leave behind as she recovered. She describes how she “recovers”, or perhaps more correctly, regains her ability to think linearly.
During her disability, she experienced a timeless world in which there was only a present moment. She described a world in which she felt expansive beyond the confines of her body. She described a world in which she felt more than thought. Most importantly, she describes a way to voluntarily recreate that condition. Her experience, in my mind, tells us a lot about the experiences the Buddha suggests we can live in our own lives. I find that it brings to life what we all suspect – that mindfulness is real and not mystical, that it is a tangible part of life that does not depend on a belief in some extraordinary power.
We will talk a bit about Jill Bolte Taylor’s experiences beyond her video (that is more motivational than explanatory), and we will share our own experiences when we have intentionally or unintentionally taken the steps that Taylor says will help us see what she saw during her stroke.