Want to see something amazing? Watch this. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist, had a stroke at age 37. It was life-altering. The whole thing will blow your mind. I think it’s important to watch this, so I’ll wait while you do. It’s almost twenty minutes long, so I’ll just go grab a coffee while you watch it.
Tum tee tumm…
Okay, so what did you think? She watched her own stroke, from the inside out, from an expert’s point of view. I found it amazing that a scientist, someone who we think of as being totally fact-based and analytical made such a spiritual connection with her experience. Not that scientists aren’t spiritual, that’s not what I mean at all. I know lots of sciencey-people who are very emotionally connected, maybe more so than the rest of us who take the vast complexity of the physical universe for granted. I think it’s part and parcel of science, that the world around is so mind-bogglingly complex that it brings out awe and wonder in us.
I heard her giving an interview on the CBC yesterday. The point that really stood out for me was that we each are composed of EIGHT THOUSAND TIMES as many cells as there are people on the planet. That’s a lotta cells, people. And without those physical cells creating a vessel, there’s no office for that brain to carry out business.
We need that left-brain to function. The left brain saved her life, by making her take physical actions to save her own life. The left brain makes us feed ourselves, go to work, and do all those things that make our vessels function every day. It makes us aware of ourselves in a physical, spatial sense. It’s how we manage not to fall out of bed every night. It’s important.
But the right brain! Ah, the right brain, the in-the-moment, brain that connects us to every other cell in the universe. That’s the brain that’s going to change the world. That’s the brain that wants us to make the world a better place. That’s Tom Robbins’s “floral brain”, as opposed to the “dinosaur brain”. His “Jitterbug Perfume” is one of my all-time favourite books – I don’t have time at the moment to wait for you to go and read it, I have to go the gym at ten o’clock, but do promise me that you will.
I think that’s why people like to get high, honestly – to turn off that left brain and connect. That’s probably not good for those however-many-trillion cells we have. Probably meditation is a slower, safer route to Nirvana.
I’d like to take a moment to celebrate both halves of my brain. My right brain wants to connect with the universe. My left brain is taking a moment to blog about it.