Neurological Enlightenment, Part 2
by Scott Bradley
by Scott Bradley
In the last post, I shared about the experience of Jill Taylor as she related it in a TEDTalk. She had a stroke due to a hemorrhage in the left side of her brain which resulted in an experience incredibly like that which is typically called enlightenment. What might this tell us?
As far as I know, Dr. Taylor has not come forth with a method whereby to duplicate her experience. No lobotomy or similar surgery has been prescribed. So, her experience must educate us in some more cognitive way.
One thing it seems to suggest is that this experience is a function of the human neuro-physical reality. It has a very physical dimension. Through the concrete structure of the brain one is able to experience what seems to be an absorption into a vast spiritual totality. Whether there is such a Reality, I cannot say. That one can experience what seems to be such a Reality seems apparent enough. And if you are experiencing it, the question of the reality of the Reality does not arise. If you're in the right-brain, the left-brain must take a back seat.
It is important to me that 'enlightenment' be a natural phenomenon simply because I have neither desire nor ability to believe and commit myself to a mythological package. It seems there are many religious (mythological) traditions which have grown up around this natural phenomenon. And because the mythology itself subsequently becomes a vehicle for the experience, it is thought to be the factual ('true') content of the experience itself. Thus, for example, does Zen provide a mythological structure of Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and Mind, in which to apply a method facilitating the experience. Similarly, the Christian mystics realized the same liberating absorption through their own mythological structure.
The question is, Do we need a mythology in order to pursue this experience or is it possible to proceed without one? Needless to say, I subscribe to the latter view. What we do need, it seems clear, is a method, and since the traditions themselves have already developed methods, it seems it would behoove us to consider them if we wish pursue the experience.
You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.