My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor.
Viking Adult, London, 2008; 192 pages, ISBN 0-67002074-5, hardback, $24.95;
paper, $15.00 (May 2009).
Many of us have had the distressing experience of witnessing the devastating results of stroke on relatives and friends. When we visit the hospital, we can struggle for words wondering what the experience must be like for our friends or relatives who have had their lives suddenly turned upside down in an instant. We are fortunate to have a new book by a brain scientist who suffered a stroke herself and lived to tell the tale. It is not only an important medical record and recommendation of how to treat someone who has had a stroke, but it is the tale of the author’s spiritual transformation through serious illness. The book is full of remarkable observations that resulted when the author’s
"left-brain," the seat of everyday consciousness, closed down as a result of the stroke and she became newly aware in her
"right brain," the seat of intuitive awareness, as in the following example:
“My entire self-concept shifted [after the stroke] as I no longer perceived myself as a single, a solid, an entity with boundaries that separated me from the entities around me. I understood that at the most elementary level, I am a fluid
. . . I was no longer isolated and alone. My soul was as big as the universe and frolicked with glee in a boundless sea
. . .” (p. 69).
Because of her Western scientific training, the author tends to interpret her experiences as arising from her brain chemistry. However, in the light of theosophical teachings on
our complex inner constitution and gateways that can be opened to other universes of experience that lie within, this is a must read for
those with an interest in the practical applications of theosophy.
– Andrew Rooke (Theosophy Downunder,