The Difference In Our Left and Right Brain Hemispheres
Shapes Our Individual Realities

I watched a video of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s description of the difference of the functioning of her right and left brain hemispheres. She describes her altered reality at the time that she experienced a stroke. The following is a combination of my thoughts and my interpretation of her video. I have provided a link to this same video as I feel this may be an interesting indicator of how each of us may operate individually in this world.

Dr. Taylor was studying mental illnesses as a Harvard-trained Neuroanatomist. Is it ironic that this experience happened to her; to someone with her detailed knowledge of the functioning of the brain?

Her message was inspirational in nature, and very similar to a near death experience. The reason that I was intrigued was two fold. First, after losing my son, I began a spiritual quest to find the meaning of life. I read everything I could get my hands on that could reassure me that he still existed spiritually or energetically. In my research of brains and brain chemistry, I became profoundly interested in Chad’s perception of life, being ADD and right brained, kinesthetic, sensitive and spiritual versus my perception which is the total opposite - left brained, with an analytical reality.

Jill Taylor, as a career, mapped the micro-circuitry of the brain and which cells communicate with which cells, with which chemicals and the quantity of those chemicals, i.e. presumably the Neurons and Neurotransmitters discussed in more detail on this website as Brain Chemistry 101.

Dr. Taylor describes the two brain hemispheres as completely separate but capable of communicating through the Corpus Callosum and its three hundred million axonal fibers. Each side of the brain thinks and cares about different things and processes information totally differently.

The right side of the brain is all about the present moment, here and now. It thinks in pictures and learns through kinesthetic awareness through the movement of our bodies. It receives information in the form of energy which streams in through all of our various sensory systems, exploding into an enormous collage of what this present moment looks, sounds, tastes, smells and feels like. It senses energy and being a part of the larger whole or connected to spirit.

I’d like to take a quick time out to ask you to think of someone you know well who is right brained, creative and/or ADD. On my Brain Plasticity page, I discuss how an ADD person is bombarded with all of types of stimulus external and internal. For example, Chad was overly sensitive to and often extremely annoyed by such things as the feeling of certain fabrics against his skin and/or the sound of someone chewing. An ADD person does not seem to have the discriminating filters of a left brained individual. Perhaps ‘filters’ is just another way of saying ‘better communication’ between the left and right brain hemispheres balancing your reality. I believe I read in Making a Good Brain Great by Dr. Amen that the right temporal lobe is typically associated with spiritual connection. I would assume that meditation is a good tool to calm the chatter of the left brain so that you may experience the spiritual connection and oneness of the right brain.

By contrast, Jill explained the experience of the left hemisphere of your brain as functioning by taking the above referenced sensory smorgasbord and processing that information in a linear fashion into past and future perceptions. The left brain picks out details, and details about those details, categorizes them and associates them to what we’ve learned in our past and projects them into our future. The left brain thinks in language. It is the constant chatter that connects us from our internal world to our external world and is the intelligence that organizes things we need to do now or tomorrow. It also perceives a different reality, that of “I am” -as separate from each other and being in a physically dense body.

With her stroke incapacitating her left brain hemisphere, Dr. Taylor became incredibly aware of the experience of life through only her right hemisphere. She describes her existence as a detached observer who blended into her surroundings without defined physical boundaries. She envisioned in pixels and her mind was silent. She was the experience. She felt lightness and peacefulness - euphoria.

Jill Taylor’s message was that any of us can experience this reality at any time. I believe she wanted us to have an idea of our spiritual potential and to know that we are all connected to each other and a higher power. Her spiritual experience describes a reality where bodies, minds and humanity can find peace and be healed.

For a better idea of the contrast between brain hemispheres, I hope that you will take a few moments to watch her video. She has also written a book about her miraculous experience entitled My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey. I highly recommend it.