INTRO TO TALK AT UNITARIAN CHURCH
Neuroanatomist, Jill Taylor chose to study the brain because her brother is a schizophrenic and she wanted to know why. But about 10 years ago, she had her own neurologic event when blood vessels exploded in her left brain, leaving her a case study of herself.
In her TED you tube now gone viral lecture she profoundly and completely explains what it is like to have a stroke and what it does to the brain by describing the two hemispheres of the brain:
THE RIGHT BRAIN: thinks in pictures, is about the present moment, learns kinesthetically, and is the brain of energy and connection.
THE LEFT BRAIN: thinks methodically, is about the past and future, judges, organizes projects for a later time, thinks in language, says, I AM and becomes separate from the universal flow of energy.
After her stroke which literally almost dissolved the thinking brain, everything in her body slowed down, she began focusing on internal rhythms, the molecules of her body merged with the molecules of the wall, the numbers on her phone became pixels and although she heard an inner voice say, "You need help," she had forgotten the number of her colleagues at work and it took her 45 minutes to find it in the first inch of a 3 inch stack of business cards. When she looked at the cards, the numbers pixeled and so she looked at the numbers on the phone and matched them with the numbers on the card, and in dialing the number, she forgot if she had dialed so she held her by then numb hand over the numbers she had dialed, giving herself visual cues.
Jill states: I was inside a silent mind, captivated by the energy around me, I was one with the energy of all that is. It was beautiful there because I was disconnected from the brain chatter. I had a sense of peacefulness because 37 years of emotional baggage was gone. My spirit surrendered as I lay on the gurney and I said goodbye to life.
For a comparative look at a similar flight to heaven by a philosopher and mystic, go to you tube and find BEDE GRIFFITH's account of his stroke where he also explains his medical experience as an explosion of love and a bath of bliss. And another story: in the late 80's, I also witnessed my own teacher Shri Brahmananda Saraswati, of Ananda Ashram, after his stroke. He continued teaching while living in this bliss bath and called his supposed illness, A STROKE OF GOOD LUCK. And to make these stories more personal, even though I had a TIA, silent stroke in 1991, nothing like this happened to me. Why? Maybe because my stroke didn't occur in the La-La part of my left brain, maybe because I wasn't spiritually prepared for heaven on earth and so when the stroke gave me an opportunity to feel bliss, I wasn't ready? Maybe for thousands of other medical reasons. But I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting that a stroke is a guaranteed ticket and the only or sure path to enlightenment.
Back to Jill who survived an operation that removed a golf-size mass from her left brain. It took 8 years of re-hab for her to come back to herself and she says:" Now that I have found nirvana and am still alive, I feel that anyone can find nirvana if they choose to step to the right of their left hemisphere." And her new purpose is to encourage folks to access that right brain and feel the heaven she experienced.
And to continue, she says:"We are the life force, the power of the universe. I can step into that right hemisphere where we are ONE! Or I can step into the left and be solid and separate.
She challenged the TED audience with these words: "What do you choose?"
MY presentation today is offering a suggestion; a suggestion of a way that I use to go right, to the right brain, a way to temporary nirvana, a way to ONE and the more we go there, the better and easier it gets to live in beauty, peace and ecstatic compassion. We all have our way, our path, our methods, our stariways. In this time of cosmic planetary worry and concern, it is opportune that we share the goods.
Now for the "way".....(paper 2)
THE JOY OF THE LORD: LINDA MARY MONTANO
After a series of upsets and traumas and the death of my dad and illness of my best friend, I decided I needed to learn how to laugh(stop and illustrate and include all). So in 2006, I took a course in Atlantic City with Steve Wilson, a student of Madan Kutaria MD of India, who founded the now internationally famous laughter phenomenon . Dr Kutaria realized that Laughter is a good complementary medicine to his AMA practice and he borrowed the exercises from ancient relaxation practices used in Tibet and India eons ago adding thousands of other exercises over time. They are used institutionally and personally and privately and therapeutically and medically and it seems that St Francis of Assisi may have been a practitioner given the depictions of him in films and literature. A joyful saint for sure. And TERESA OF AVILA would lead her nuns in dancing ,singing and said, quoted loosely, I don't want sour nuns but happy ones. So religious/spiritual/mystical traditions do encourage us to receive the joy of the LORD with conviction, that's for sure.
This talk today is based on 3 aspects of learning , a model of interdependence and flexible moving from one to another in case of necessity or when burdened by an off balance in daily life. The three models are: Learning by relaxing and laughing, learning by hearing and thinking, learning by imagining and feeling. All are necessary, all can help each other, all can intertwine. I call today a Triple Decker Sandwich event a weaving of the 3 methods into one big triple decker sandwich.
LEARNING BY LAUGHING: REPTILIAN BRAIN PERHAPS? To illustrate the way we use this wonderful temple of body mind and spirit via laughter we will do a series of laughter exercises for those who choose to do so and those able medically to do so. This brand of laughter is not about jokes but is about faking it, simulating to stimulate and we all know why...to induce serotonin and all of those medical chemicals that make us feel fabuloso. The sandwich aspect is that we will laugh, then think then laugh then imagine and then laugh.(example)
LEARNING BY HEARING: RIGHT BRAIN? To illustrate this model I will share a book I read by Kathy Mcgowan titled, THE SOURCE OF MIRACLES, which is based on the OUR FATHER .Mcgowan has interpreted the 6 petal rose situated at the center of Chartres Cathedrals labyrinth as a pathway to LOVE which sits in the center of the rose. She says that if we walk the six petals praying the OUR FATHER we will do the 6 practices that the OUR FATHER suggests and then land in the center circle LOVE! The bottom line is that we all, each and every one of us, want love. Here is not the time or place to analyze or see the complex paradoxes of that statement or to include treatises on evil, computer viruses, foreclosures, BP scams or jihad training camps. We are going to remain fuzzy/cozy and pray through laughter instead, hopefully refueling the atmosphere with our ions of Joy.(exercise)
LEARNING BY IMAGINING: LEFT BRAIN? To illustrate this method of prayer, we will choose to imagine journeying/traveling the 6 paths of the ROSE, and feel the gift of each petal, or see it or be in touch with our sensory learning devices so that the truth of it goes deep into the poetic and sensitive consciousness. Of course , this will be sandwiched with laughter-joy as well.
I thank you for participating in whatever way is appropriate for you and may the Joy of Divine Beauty be our inner food, a food we share with our own inner hunger and the hunger of ALL in this crying, weeping, spilling, hurting cosmos.
Linda Mary Montano, 2010