One book a month project - "Whole Brain Living" by Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD

“Peace is just a thought away” ~ Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

When I was in school I, of course. had to read a lot books. And I love reading. Always had. The only problem was that I had to read a lot of books that I thought were outdated, and honestly not at all useful. I was very disappointed because there were so many books I wanted to read, written by people who I fell in love with. Written with humanity and kindness. Written by psychologists who understood the sacredness of this work and were not afraid to talk about it. What I had to read instead was academic writing that appeared to be devoid of heart and soul. And that's now how I wanted to be and certainly not how I wanted to work.

So I decided to keep reading and I thought if I read 1 book a month, soon enough I’ll have a pretty good set of resources that I then will be able to share with others.

And so I kept reading, and was delighted and inspired by what I was discovering. My amazon wish list is out of control and I have enough books on hold in the library to last me for 2 years. No problems with finding fascinating books to read. Sharing, however, turned out to be a lot more difficult than I thought

I didn’t know how to write book reviews. If there was anything I didn’t like about a book, I didn’t want to share it. After all, the writer worked so hard and who was I to share criticism. If you can’t say something kind, don’t say anything at all. So I didn’t want to talk at all about any weaknesses.

To summarize the book felt strange. Plus it was already done by the publisher. All you needed to do was read an Amazon summary.

Even to share my own highlights - I knew that each reader will get something unique out of the book and I didn’t want to spoil it for them.

So here I was, reading all the wonderful books and not sharing at all.

And I think it’s time to start changing that. Be patient with me while I figure it out.

And now to the book!

"The Whole Brain Living. The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters that Drive our Life" by Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD

You may have heard of Jill or maybe you watched her famous TED Talk “My Stroke of Insight”, from 2008.

In this talk Jill, Harvard-trained neuroscientist and researcher, talks about her experience of a stroke that affected the left hemisphere of her brain. She lost (and later recovered) her ability to read, write, speak or understand language, she lost all memories of her past, but as a scientist she was able to observe and later analyze what was happening to her.

While left part of her brain shut down, the right hemisphere stayed functioning and Jill was able to experience a sense of peace and harmony, awareness and connection with all that is, that she has never experienced before. I think it might be described as an enlightening experience. While there was no chatter inside of her brain (something we try to achieve with meditation practice), the state of boundless awareness came naturally - and even after her recovery Jill was able to choose to shift between right and left brain ways of thinking and being.

This talk is very inspiring and her book, "My Stroke of Insight", was fascinating.

Her second book, "The whole brain living", takes her insights further and talks about how we can use it in daily living. It’s a neuroscientist's take on non-duality, if I may, that explains it in a way I’ve never heard before.

It’s where she talks about how all of us can choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world, as separate individuals (left brain) or at one with all that is (right brain). We need both parts of the brain of course, to function in this world. Our left brain, analytical and logical, the goal getter, helps us figure things out; but it's our right brain that reminds us who we really are, and helps us feel connected and never, ever alone.

And if it’s starting to sound too esoteric, there’s so much practicality in her book. How we make decisions, why do we have different voices in our heads, how we relate to others and the world. How this information can help us in every aspect of daily living.

And now I’m going to cheat, because I’ll let Dr.Jill talk about the main idea of the book - the four characters inside your brain.

And if you prefer to watch and listen rather than read, here's a longer interview with Jill by Jim Kwik.

I hope you feel inspired like I did.

Watch the talk, read the book, forgive me for such an imperfect introduction. I think her work needs to be shared and I’d rather do it this way than not at all.

Learn more about Dr. Jill here: