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2.5 stars

I thought this was going to be about the author's experience having a stroke and her recovery… a very small part is about that, but she didn't go into too much depth.

More of the book is focused on her spiritual beliefs, which contradict the Bible in just about every way. The author believes the right hemisphere of the brain houses the "authentic self," and that our left brain does a lot of good things for us but in its essence, is a judgmental, negative jerk that needs to be stopped.

Taylor apparently doesn't fully understand that we are spiritual beings in addition to physical ones, misunderstands the purpose of prayer, doesn't recognize that every thought that pops into our heads isn't necessarily our own, states evolutionary theory as fact, and believes that we can "think ourselves good/perfect," to put it succinctly. In reality, while we can all choose to be "better" in various ways, we can only be sin-free with the power and forgiveness of Jesus.

Note: Taylor uses a couple of swear words. And the book, short though it is, is quite repetitive.
… (lisätietoja)
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RachelRachelRachel | 128 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 21, 2023 |
“Stroke is the number one disabler in our society and four times more strokes occur in the left hemisphere, impairing language.”

This neuroscientist had a massive stroke in her left hemisphere, wiping out much of her ability to speak and understand language and math, or think in our normal linear fashion. Reading this profound and insightful book, it’s apparent she managed to make an impressive recovery. Because of her brain scientist background, she is able to colorfully take us through the experience of that stroke (including post-stroke surgery to remove a large blood clot) and her patient, difficult recovery that took eight years. It’s like having a trail guide with knowledge of the local terrain and flora and fauna so extensive that she can comfortably and entertainingly give you highlights you can understand.

Her stroke shutting down her left hemisphere had a huge silver lining. Our left hemisphere is the one that chatters all the time, making observations and judgments and telling us stories - not all of them true. It’s the one that in meditation we try to calm, quiet and eventually silence. In her case, it left her right hemisphere for the first time (in adulthood) unfettered and free.

“My consciousness no longer retained the discriminatory functions of my dominant analytical left brain. Without those inhibiting thoughts, I had stepped beyond my perception of myself as an individual. Wihout my left brain . . . My consciousness ventured unfettered into the peaceful bliss of my divine right mind.”

The right brain gives us gestalt, “big picture” thinking, and normally the two halves work together to create and understand our experience. The stroke left her with an oceanic feeling of tranquil connection with everything in the universe - a tempting place to stay and live. She felt “fluid” rather than solid and separate in the normal way.

“AlthoughI rejoiced in my perception of connection to all that is, I shuddered at the awareness that I was no longer a normal human being. How on earth would I exist as a member of the human race with this heightened perception that we are each a part of it all, and that the life force energy within each of us contains the power of the universe? How could I fit into our society when I walk the earth with no fear? I was, by anyone’s standard, no longer normal. In my own unique way, I had become severely mentally ill.”

This desire to connect with others in a normal, human way motivated her to take on the arduous, humbling work of recovery. At the beginning, she could barely speak, barely (and not often) understand others, and could engage in linear thinking only briefly, after which she’d need a lot of sleep. Speaking loudly to her didn’t help - she wasn’t deaf! She humorously identifies some of her pet peeves with doctors, nurses and visitors. She credits her mother with incredible, patient care (the author had actually been somewhat neglected as a young child with older siblings). Her mother realized she needed slow, step by step learning, akin to a toddler. The ultimate result was this book (she’s also a frequent speaker, urging people to donate their post-death brains to Harvard for study).

How she learns to balance the two sides of her brain, and change the negative left side loops that had impeded her enjoyment of life is a fascinating story.

“My stroke of insight would be: Peace is only a thought away, and all we have to do to access it is to silence the voice of our dominating left mind.”

Her ordeal left her with the enviable ability to experience “Nirvana” (which she describes as filled with “compassion and joy”) whenever she likes, and adeptly bring balance and joy to her experience of life. The abrupt smashing of her life and her arduous journey back to “normal” make for an exhilarating journey for the reader, full of life lessons to think about. All this in a slim, 180+ page volume. We just started February, but this may well end up my favorite book of the year.

P.S. My stroke happened in my right hemisphere, so none of this cool stuff for me, just re-educating the left side of my body in particular to move in a normal way.
… (lisätietoja)
2 ääni
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jnwelch | 128 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 1, 2023 |
This book is a personal account of what happened to the author, a neuroanatomist, when she had a stroke at age 37. It covers a bit of brain science in an accessible manner, as well as offering a hopeful and optimistic outlook on recovery. She provides valuable information about how to interact with those who have experienced a stroke. It is a bit repetitive at times but was an interesting insight into the adaptability of the human brain. I appreciated the tips on how to quiet our "inner chatter" and redirect unwanted neurocircuits.… (lisätietoja)
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Castlelass | 128 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 30, 2022 |
Answered some questions that I had such as why do we have egos?
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Chris.Wolak | 128 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 13, 2022 |



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