Saturday, July 11, 2009

Stroke of Insight

Jill Bolte Taylor was a Harvard neuroanatomist when a blood vessel malformation inside her head blew out, flooding the left hemisphere of her brain with blood, a toxin to her neurons. My Stroke of Insight is the story of that brain trauma, how it felt as it happened, how she recovered, and what she learned. From within the belief system of a person of faith, what she acquired is no less than an ability to separate out and describe, as a witness, the physiological processes by which we know the Unknowable.

When I experienced the hemorrhage and lost my left hemisphere language center cells that defined my self, those cells could no longer inhibit the cells in my right mind. ...My stroke of insight is that at the core of my right [brain] hemisphere consciousness is a character that is directly connected to my feelings of deep inner peace. ...

The consciousness of our right mind appreciates that every cell in our bodies ... contains the exact same molecular genius as the original zygote cell that was created when our mother's egg cell combined with our father's sperm cell. My right mind understands that I am the life force power of the fifty trillion molecular geniuses crafting my form! (And it bursts into song about that on a regular basis!) ...

Freed from all perceptions of boundaries, my right mind proclaims, "I am a part of it all. We are all brothers and sisters on this planet. We are here to help make this world a more peaceful and kinder place."...

My left mind is responsible for taking all that energy, all that information about the present moment, and all of those magnificent possibilities perceived by my right mind, and shaping them into something manageable.

To a person who approaches the Unknowable through the Christian paradigm, she's saying that this cellular dance is how we know Jesus. Heretical? Well, the mystery is supposed to be about Incarnation, isn't it? Worth contemplating and digesting!

Until July 18, I'll be working my butt off at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, trying to move us closer to full inclusion of all baptized people, including LGBT people, in all the life of the Church. This time is what we political junkies call "campaign mode" -- the crazy, exhausting 18 hour days of frenetic activity that sometimes win changes we seek and sometimes lead only to deep disappointment. I'm hopeful about how this project will work out. If you are curious about how we're doing, you can follow all the General Convention news at the LGBT advocacy group Integrity's GC portal. I don't expect to blog during this time except perhaps a few photos, but I've got at least a rudimentary post set up for every day, many of them more reflective than the time-sensitive political commentary I often write here. Enjoy.

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