Monday, February 13, 2012

Know thyself, said Socrates. Many other wise individuals have rendered the same advice over centuries. I have come to believe that this is the most important thing in life. I have also come to believe that when Christ taught that we should “seek first the kingdom of God” that He was speaking of the same thing. This is what we are meant to do—to know ourselves and to realize our connection to the divine. And I have come to also believe that this is quite possible because that connection is within ourselves, within each of us.

I am reading a book that offers a great clue as to the nature of this phenomenon. The book is “My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor. Dr. Taylor is a brain scientist who, in her mid-thirties, suffered a stroke one morning. The stroke was due to a blood clot that caused the left hemisphere of her brain to cease functioning for periods of time. During those periods, she was left with only the right hemisphere of her brain operating and in those periods she experienced a different world.

A very simplified explanation of this is that the left hemisphere governs logic, language, ego, judgment, etc.—the everyday aspects of life. The right hemisphere is responsible for creativity, the present moment, intuition, imagination, our relation to the universe. During periods in which her right brain was governing her existence, Dr. Taylor experienced “the knowledge that deep internal peace is accessible to anyone at any time.” [1] When her left brain functioned, she once again became connected to the everyday world of existence. During this process, she became aware of the vast possibilities offered by the often maligned and neglected powers of the right mind.

In her book, Dr. Taylor builds an argument for everyone to achieve a more balanced use of both hemispheres of the brain. This, she claims, is possible by conscious re-training of ourselves. She quotes her friend, Dr. Kat Domingo, as saying, “Enlightenment is not a process of learning, it is a process of unlearning.”[2]

This is a fascinating subject. I shall read this book again, possibly a number of times. For me, Dr. Taylor’s experience opens the possibility of a real and simple means to begin a journey—one of self discovery that is, as I have intuitively felt, simple and available to everyone, without exception.

[1] My Stroke of Insight, Viking Press, P 111

[2] My Stroke of Insight, Viking Press, p 160

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