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Jill Bolte Taylor - Stroke of Insight and Ekhart Tolle

Updated on February 20, 2014

Jill Bolte Taylor examining a human brain

TED Talks - One of the Greatest

Today I viewed Jill Bolte Taylor’s top-rated TED Talk, ‘Stroke of Insight’ for about the seventh time – though I haven’t watched it for more than a year or so.

What a talk!

Jill’s presentation must be one of the most profound, meaningful and enlightening presentations on what we human beings are than I’ve ever seen. It is absolutely brilliant. If you haven’t watched it, just Google TED Talks and put in her name and ‘Stroke of Insight.’ It will reveal to you more about what we human beings are than probably anything you’ve ever read or heard about. Don’t let this one pass you by.

Famous neuro-scientists with a smile on her face

What are we? Where do we come from?

As for me, well, I have spent the greater part of my life endeavoring to find out the big questions of Life: What are we? Where do we come from? Did we exist before we were born into this world? Is death really the end? et cetera. I have read, studied, and undertaken courses (not many, admittedly) and done an awful lot of serious meditation (Vipassana, as taught by the late S.N. Goenka) and am now reading for the 10th time two of the most useful books on such subject matter ever written, both by Ekhart Tolle. If you haven’t read them then do so.

The Power of Now. The only moment we ever experience

No, more than just read Ekhart Tolle’s books, study and apply consistently the advice contained therein. You will find it will make a difference. The books are both best sellers. The first is The Power of Now, published in 1999. The second: A New Earth, which came out in 2005. These works point out over and over again that we can find the peace and joy we all want in our lives by living more in the only moment all of us ever have – the present moment! Coupled with Jill Bolte Taylor’s insight, you can discover that we really do have two parts to our being.

Eckhart Tolle - a very practical man

The urge to Self-understanding is booming

So much has changed of late as far as self-understanding goes. There have always been, of course, a handful of serious seekers after truth. Lately though, this has mushroomed. Moreover, with the advent of the Internet, the way to go about becoming ‘enlightened’ (if I might use that hackneyed word) will grow even more quickly. I recall when I first became really interested in Self-knowledge and Self-understanding in the late 1960s there were so very few texts around – most at the Adyar Bookshops but few anywhere else. I can recall how I picked up a copy of Ramacharaka’s interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita, put out by The Yogi Publication Society in Chicago, Illinois, for five cents at a second hand bookshop. Nobody wanted such works in those days it seems. This one had been virtually dumped.

More and more people are seeking to know the answers to the big question

Today, the most popular books on the bookshelves of most bookstores are those concerning Self-understanding and Self-development. You won’t find too many of them being sold cheaply either. The bookstore owners now realize these are what people want to read today. They’re the top sellers. They bring the money in.

Two spirtually-minded men with a lot in common

The spiritual search is gaining momentum

It was around late 1980s that the big changes began to take place... People like Dr. Wayne W Dyer, Deepak Chopra and Louise L Hay started to not only write books but do the ‘Speakers’ Circuit.’ They began to appear to talk-shows and to put out audio tapes. These three packed stadiums all around the English-speaking world. Other less well known spiritual teachers were also doing the same. But perhaps one of the forerunners which brought home the idea of ‘Spiritual Search’ were the famous Beatles, particularly the late John Lennon. ‘The Fool on the Hill’ and ‘What the World Needs Now,’ made a big impact, albeit subconsciously I expect in many instances, in the way people were beginning to view the meaning of their lives.

Our thinking and our minds are not what we are

For millennia we’ve had warring factions fighting about what they believe against others who have different beliefs. Now along comes Eckhart Tolle and points out what is so obvious but which so few are willing to consider. A belief does not exist anywhere except as a sort of ‘mind trace’ in our brains; our singular brain and our collective brain – if I might put it that way. We kill and maim one another over what is simply a solidified idea or ideas. When you think about that it does seem a sort of insanity. But I won’t go down that track here.

A Happy Ekckart Tolle obviously enjoying The Moment

Experience the present moment. It's the only moment we ever have

Of late I have been endeavoring to do what Eckhart Tolle so adamantly stresses: stay in the now. These means coming back over and over and over again into awareness of the present moment. The mind automatically takes us away from the present into the past or into an imagined future. This is the habit we’ve allowed to come into our lives. It something most of us don’t even consider. But our attention does do this. But if we are aware, and if we monitor ourselves as consistently as we can, we are able to increasing bring ourselves back to The Now, the what is at this moment. And I have noticed that, just as Ekhart said it would, the moments of such presence do increase and do become longer.

We have a life story but we are NOT our story

So what happens here? What happens in The Now? We live! We are. We are not in a memory or in an imaginary future but in the real world; in the only moment that exists for any of us – the moment that is happening now. And in that moment we truly are experiencing. And the experiencing is good. It is good because our mind has not yet had a chance to judge, evaluate, compare, et cetera and then spoil the moment by labeling and then quickly taking us to somewhere other than the present.

The right brain links us to.... Infinity, it seems

Our imaginary ego-self, the self-image, cannot abide the present moment

As Ekhart Tolle and others who have made a study of themselves point out: the ego mind with which most of us identify and lose ourselves within cannot abide the present moment. It lives on ‘our life story’ and an ‘imagined future.’ It is an entity unto itself which is of the belief that it is us, when it is actually no more than a conglomerate of thought-forms held within us. It is limited. It is fearful of its limitations. It is also fearful that we will discover it to be what it is. Once we do discover it for what it is, it is on its way to its ending its influence over us. It is the beginning of the ‘death of ego’ and it desires its own survival over everything else, even the host body within which it resides.

Teachers can only inspire and point the way

Eckhart Tolle’s books will point your towards what you are and tell you quite explicitly what you are not. Once you understand what you are not you will be on your way towards a far happier, more harmonious life. A few viewings and careful listening of Jill Bolte Taylor's TED Talk, ‘Stroke of Insight’ will do the same for you. They both are top rate teachers.

I commend them to you.


Submit a Comment

  • Tusitala Tom profile imageAUTHOR

    Tom Ware 

    4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    Thank you, annart. And if you haven't discovered them already, take a look at TED Talks. Some marvelous stuff in there.

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 

    4 years ago from SW England

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and have made a note of your recommended video and reading. I find that in retirement it's far easier to clear the mind and enjoy the 'now'. In fact, my grandchildren have taught me to relish the now and watch them as they take in the world and enjoy it all.

    This philosophy could solve so many problems, couldn't it? If only many more had the open minds to accept it. You've presented some useful and important information here. Great! Ann


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