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Buddhism in the News


Monday, March 24, 2008

"My Stroke of Insight," by Jill Bolte Taylor.

This is an excellent video speech from a scientist of the brain, Jill Bolte Taylor who describes what it was like to suffer a stroke. Yet she beautifully spoke of the peace that was involved at the same time she was experiencing a health crisis that so many of us fear. It is a brave, courageous story in accepting and being aware of what is going on in our present situation. You might notice some Buddhist themes/ideas within it. I must thank my fellow traveler in samsara who wishes to remain anonymous for sending me this great video. I bow to the Buddha within him and you all. Enjoy!!:

~Peace to all beings~

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Anonymous said...

I've been recommending a book by Jill Bolte Taylor called "My Stroke of Insight" to everyone I know. It's an amazing story, both uplifting and powerful on three levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual, but the spiritual aspect alone makes this the best book I've read all year.

How often do you get to hear a neuroscientist describe having a stroke, nearly dying and finding Nirvana, and then making a miraculous recovery so that she's back to teaching medical students!?!

I came away with a renewed sense of understanding, wonder and hopefulness about the capabilities of the human brain. I give "My Stroke of Insight" highest marks!

You can get the book for just $16.47 with free shipping from Amazon!
Name: Ellen

Laurence McKinney said...

I've been in touch with Dr. Jill because this is actually a profoundly Buddhist event. I had the same experience myself, exactly, except I did it with a short acting agent which short-circuited the top part of my brain and dropped me into a lower and more generalized consciouness, like someone had popped most of the chips out of my brain. Same timeless peace, same floating about forever it seems, egoless, etc. I don't mention this in my book Neurotheology: Virtual Religion in the 21st Century, (published in 1994 and available at because although it was a seminal event in my own life, it would be hard to tell people straight-on that the Bar-do is a description of brain deterioration with even the right colors. Those lamas were holding on tight.

But that eventually you reach the only conciousness you can have at brain stem, which is eternal, timeless, and there is no more duality because you're nearly back to fetal level. And there was a fetal level that got more sophisticated all the way up to birth or you wouldn't have been born.

One of the first people to pick up on the implications was HH the Dalai Lama, whom I met many years ago, and gave some chapters before we published, rendered somewhat into Buddhist philosophical terms. You can see that event on my website, you can't see Bob Thurmon in the background.

In other words, a conciousness can only perceive what it can perceive, and the last one perceives "no time no space" and all is one. His Holiness wasa right on the mark, of course "so, if eternal time comes before death, then plenty of time for endless lifetimes. We say, nirvana is not death, it is the "death before death", but not death" I'm glad he's my root guru.

I haven't convinced Jill quite yet that she wasn't slammed into her right hemisphere but simply traumatized progressively down stream until she was thinking with her hippocampus ... the higher cortex was going nuts, and consciouness dove for cover in what she calls "la la land" which is, uh, as close to Nirvana as we're gonna get.

We're all gonna get it on the way to dead, but that's beyond time and space for each of us. So what Me Worry? Death be not proud, but it's a pretty neat experience.

Buddha had it right ...


Anonymous said...

Name: Antonio

The New York Times Sunday Newspaper on May 25 had a great two page article on Jill Bolte Taylor and her book, "MY STROKE OF INSIGHT". Her book is a must read and this NY Times article - called "A Superhighway to bliss" is worth checking out too.

Anonymous said...

I read "My Stroke of Insight" in one sitting - I couldn't put it down. I laughed. I cried. It was a fantastic book (I heard it's a NYTimes Bestseller and I can see why!), but I also think it will be the start of a new, transformative Movement! No one wants to have a stroke as Jill Bolte Taylor did, but her experience can teach us all how to live better lives. Her speech was one of the most incredibly moving, stimulating, wonderful videos I've ever seen. Her Oprah Soul Series interviews were fascinating. They should make a movie of her life so everyone sees it. This is the Real Deal and gives me hope for humanity.

Anonymous said...

MY STROKE OF INSIGHT was ranked #5 in all books sold on Amazon today and #1 in Memoirs above even Barbara Walters' memoir. Babs had been promoting her book for months in advance and Dr. Taylor's book was self-published.

Then Oprah recommended it. There's the Power of Now, and then there's the Power of Oprah!!

"My Stroke of Insight" is out in Hardcover now for less than the old paperback edition. Amazon has it for 40% off.

They call him James Ure said...

I think I'll read the book, thanks for the recommendations from both you Anonymous folks and others. ;)

Marian said...

I haven't read the book (yet), only watched the Soul Series-interview the other day. Great, all in all. Nevertheless, I had a few critical remarks to it, which can be found on my blog (most recent entry plus a couple of previous ones), which boil down to: why do people who haven't had THAT experience continuously have to judge it??

They call him James Ure said...


I read your post and enjoyed it. I guess people fear what they don't understand.

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