Saturday, March 31, 2012

Is Enlightenment Only A Matter Of The Brain?

Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor once suffered a massive stroke that impaired the left side of her brain function.

The Human Brain
Gray's Anatomy

She gave a TED Talk on her experience that proponents of the experience of enlightenment may well understand.

She talked about the sense of disassociation of the mind from the body, about the absence of the self, of identification and union with all things, of a sense of peace and euphoria, of expansiveness as if one is every and all things and about the immediacy of experience and how beautiful it all was.
The Left And Right Hemisphere Of The Human Brain
Gray's Anatomy


It must be remembered that the left side of the brain deals mostly with thinking, the past and the future and logic and the right side of it with feelings, emotions and the here and now or the immediate or present.

So, it was not surprising that when the left side of the neuroanatomist's brain function was impaired that she felt  disassociated from her body.  

What she experienced sounds familiar to those who talk about the experience of enlightenment. It may be possible that some people can by training, meditation or uttering mantras to slow down, dull or shut off the function of the left brain to experience what Jill Bolte herself experienced?

So, is enlightenment just a matter of the brain?

What if both the right and left side of the brain functions are simultaneously shut off? Like brain death?

Would one then still be able to experience anything?

If yes, then we can say that there is some form of supra consciousness that is not dependent on the brain. Would this then be enlightenment?

If not, is enlightenment just a matter of the brain?

Click here to listen to Jill Bolte talk about her experience.

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