Monday, February 28, 2011

Brain Waves

I had an epiphany when I heard her speak.

It is likely that by now you have seen this amazing TED talk by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. If you haven't, please take 18 minutes and enjoy. The story is astounding. I had the honor of being in the room when she gave this talk. It was a powerful experience that brought me to tears. My heart felt so open and... relieved. I felt like I finally had a deeper understanding of what I experienced after 22 years of meditating. Finally understood that my brain wasn't the boss of me.

The way I interpreted Dr. Jill's experience, couldn't be further from how she assigns meaning to what she lived through--she doesn't apply spiritual overtones.  She lived through it, and her point of view is obviously valid and personal.

Oprah pursued a line of questioning, also wanting her to relate her experience to spirituality, when she interviewed Dr. Jill for her radio program. This also is a wonderful series of videos, and you can watch them here.

My epiphany was still very real. Dr. Jill's experiences helped me understand the incessant chatter of the left brain. Helped me understand--very clearly--that I am not my thoughts. Helped me understand some of what I experienced tapping into my right brain in meditation.  This understanding has aided my practice, giving my left brain some intellectual meat to chew on when I am trying to sit in silence.

I hope Dr. Jill's talk and interviews give you some insights too, or at least some inspiration.  She often speaks publicly and you can find her schedule at her website,

She also has a wonderful book, My Stroke of Insight, with more information on how the brain works and also advice for working with victims of stroke. I highly recommend the book because she is able to delve into areas she didn't have time to discuss in the TED talk, including how she tries to manage her left brain on a daily basis.

I'd love to hear what you think and how you relate to Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's experience.


  1. Debby, this was incredible! I don't have words right now to express. There's just this great feeling of possibility. Thank you for sharing this.
    -Jack Simonetta

  2. Jack - thank you for sharing this. I am not surprised this resonated with you and likely your amazing artwork and creative process. Cheers!

  3. I was also at TED when Jill gave her talk. I think many of us realized we had just received something of great value. I've kept in touch with Jill. Last Christmas, she told me that Ron Howard is making a movie about her life (2013). After I thought about it, I told her the next day that Jody Foster should play her (brainy girl goes into time warp, comes back, tries to explain to skeptical audience, etc.). She said "that's who Ron Howard is talking to!!" JL

  4. Wow! That is amazing JL. Great insider scoop too!