-by Jill Bolte Taylor (Jul 20, 2012)
One of the greatest lessons I learned was how to feel the physical component of emotion. Joy was a feeling in my body. Peace was a feeling in my body. I thought it was interesting that I could feel when a new emotion was triggered. I could feel new emotions flood through me and then release me. I had to learn new words to label these “feeling” experiences, and most remarkably, I learned that I had the power to choose whether to hook into a feeling and prolong its presence in my body, or just let it quickly flow right out of me.
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 that 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. Upon this realization, I knew I would never return to the personality I had been before. I suddenly had much more to say about how I felt and for how long, and I was adamantly opposed to reactivating old painful emotional circuits.
Paying attention to what emotions feel like in my body has completely shaped my recovery. I spent eight years watching my mind analyze everything that was going on in my brain. Each day brought new challenges and insights. The more I recovered my old files, the more my old emotional baggage surfaced, and the more I needed to evaluate the usefulness of preserving its underlying neural circuitry.
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. [...]
In the absence of my left hemisphere’s analytical judgment, I was completely entranced by the feelings of tranquility, safety, blessedness, euphoria, and omniscience. [...] The experience of Nirvana exists in the consciousness of our right hemisphere, and that at any moment, we can choose to hook into that part of our brain. [...] My stroke of insight would be: peace is only a thought away, and all we have to do to access it is silence the voice of our dominating left mind.
[...] I whole-heatedly believe that the feeling of deep inner peace is neurological circuitry located in our right brain. This circuitry is constantly running and always available for us to hook into. The feeling of peace is something that happens in the present moment. It’s not something that we bring with us from the past or project into the future. Step one one to experiencing inner peace is the willingness to be present in the right here, right now.