Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Power To Change Your Mind

by Donna L. Watkins

In the book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, Jill Bolte Taylor tells her story of recovery from a serious stroke which mostly eliminated the functioning of her left brain.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Squirrel Looking At Our Cat Through Screen

With only the right brain functioning well, she saw the world in a totally different form and fashion, with much peace and joy amidst the seriousness of the circumstances. In the process of healing and recovery, she had to choose what she wanted to 'recover' of the left brain's abilities.

The left brain is home to the ego and is where judgment and critical thinking comes from. The right brain sees our bodies as one with the world, at one with people, with compassion and love flowing around it all. In retraining the brain, she wanted to leave out the parts that attached to negative thoughts. She writes:

"I made my decisions based upon how things felt inside. There were certain emotions like anger, frustration, or fear that felt uncomfortable when they surged through my body. So I told my brain I didn't like that feeling and didn't want to hook into those neural loops. I learned that I could use my left mind, through language, to talk directly to my brain and tell it what I wanted and what I didn't want.

Emotional healing was a tediously slow process but well worth the effort. As my left brain became stronger, it seemed natural for me to want to "blame" other people or external events for my feelings or circumstances. But realistically, I knew that no one had the power to make me feel anything, except for me and my brain.

Nothing external to me had the power to take away my peace of heart and mind. That was completely up to me. I may not be in total control of what happens to my life, but I certainly am in charge of how I choose to perceive my experience."

Jill had to learn to do so much in the process of recovery. She had to learn the alphabet, learn to hold utensils, how to walk ... it was a process that took eight years. One of the things she says about physical healing may also apply to emotional healing. It's being able to visualize what you want to become. Regarding a dream of being able to climb steps two at a time, she writes:

"Imagery has been an effective tool for regaining physical functions. I am convinced that focusing on how it feels to perform specific task has helped me recover them more quickly. I had dreamed of skipping u steps every day since the stroke. I held the memory of what it felt like to race up the steps with abandon. By replying this scene over and over in my mind, I kept that circuitry alive until I could get my body and mind coordinated enough to make it reality."

This stirs me to keep in mind the vision of my dreams coming true. Somehow in the majestic workings of the brain, this will bring it to pass. Never give up!

It was mentioned that the left brain manufactures stories that it then promotes as truth. She says, "It had a tendency to be redundant - manifesting loops of thought patterns that reverberated through my mind, over and over again. For many of us, these loops of thought run rampant and we find ourselves habitually imagining devastating possibilities ... without structure, censorship and discipline, our thoughts run rampant on automatic. Because we have not learned how to more carefully manage what goes on inside our brains, we remain vulnerable to not only what other people think about us, but also to advertising and/or political manipulation."

Wayne Dyer says it this way, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

Jill's book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, has been an inspiration to me in many ways, but realizing the capability of the brain to choose what we are to be in scientific terms, is amazing and leaves us with no excuse to not train our brains in the way we want ourselves to become.

Related Articles:
Your Amazing Brain
Stroke Of Genius On Emotions
Taking Thoughts Captive
Getting Out Of Negative Loops
Fighting The Darkness

Copyright and Reprint Information
The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either or both of them on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:
© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from
Link URL is:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for such a well written commentary on the book. I heard briefly about this book but now I will add it my list. I truly believe in our capacity to change our thoughts and attitude...but this is still a work in process for me.

Share This Post