With scientific conclusions and statistics to back them, bold scientists are rephrasing the wisdom discovered by meditating yogi sages thousands of years ago.One such scientist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, calls what she discovered our “deep inner peace circuitry.” Taylor, a Harvard brain scientist, had a stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. Her “stroke of insight,” as she calls it, gave her the rare opportunity to study her topic matter, the brain, from the inside out. Even more astounding, she experienced cognition solely through the right hemisphere, recovered fully enough to speak eloquently and scientifically about her experience and shares with the world what we, as a human race, can learn from her experience.
The right side of the brain processes the here-and-now; it takes in all the sensory input of the world around us and creates a collage of the present moment. This side of our brain experiences emotions and intuition. It thinks subjectively and learns kinesthetically through the movement of our bodies, and sees the big pictures and connections in the world. As Dr. Taylor puts it,“I am an energy being connected to the energy all around me through the consciousness of my right hemisphere.”
The left side of the brain, on the other hand, deals with thinking linearly, objectively and logically. It processes sequentially and picks details out of the present moment, categorizes and organizes all of those details, associates them to past experiences and projects them into the future as possibilities. The left is the language processing center responsible for all of our brain chatter.
Dr. Taylor learned from her experience that, “we are the life-force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds, and we have the power to choose moment by moment who and how we want to be in the world.”
She then says with ferocious conviction, “I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.”
Contemplative practices teach us to activate this “inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres.” Through slowing down, observing our body and deepening our breath we relax, switch on the parasympathetic nervous system and choose, as Dr. Taylor suggests, who and how we want to be in the world.
Watch as Dr. Taylor eloquently describes her “stroke of insight” in the video below: