Friday, November 18, 2011

Neurological Enlightenment, Part 1

Neurological Enlightenment, Part 1
by Scott Bradley

Yesterday I listened to a TEDTalk by Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuro-anatomist who experienced what normally might be called enlightenment. Her 'method' was one which we might find difficult to follow — she had a stroke. A hemorrhage formed in and shut down the left side of her brain. Suddenly, she lost the ability to organize and categorize the world in terms of language. She lost all awareness of a separate 'I am" and became one with the vast energy of being. She dwelt in the oneness of the human family. She lost 30+ years of emotional baggage. Past and future fell away; there was only Now. She experienced a complete spiritual surrender into the Vastness which she described as nirvana. It was a euphoric experience.

Yet sometimes she would re-emerge long enough to tell herself she had a problem, and if she wanted to live, she needed help. But why live? Death was nothing to fear. This was so wonderful, why would she want to return to a life of left-brain existence? To tell others, she told herself. To share the wonder and joy. In the mythology of Buddhism, she became a bodhisattva. Her experience of personal liberation was imbued with compassion, a desire that all beings should share the wonder.

With great difficulty she was able to call a friend (What are these squiggles I am meant to press?), and though she could not make intelligible speech, her friend realized she was in trouble and sent her help. Now she shares.

I would encourage you to watch this talk. It is both inspiring and thought provoking. In the next post I will share some of the thoughts it provokes in me.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.


  1. I the story of "me" has seen this video some time ago and has, more importantly, at least to the sorry of "separate me" (a concept only), experienced such an apparent experience first hand-I died while still alive and can recount the apparent tale. Excuse me if this radical event tints my perspective a little.

  2. Also recalls OOBE's and other near-death experiences. Perhaps Ta-Wan would share his experience, recount the tale?

  3. Damn! what a way to start your morning, watching that! Inspiring, even to a fool who has a hard time meditating for ten minutes. :)

    Gotta love TED


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