Left-Brain Seizures Enlightened Me

Your left-brain is a bully — here’s how to empower your right-brain.

Taylor Foreman
Oct 23 · 5 min read
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Photo by David Matos on Unsplash

ou know the moment when you’re drifting off to sleep and… BAM! — you jolt back awake?

That was when I would have my seizures.

I was in a state of total rapture. Oneness with the universe. Enlightenment.

Since they were only half-brain seizures, it meant that I would outgrow them. They don’t know why—the brain is still very much a mystery. I had about a dozen of them during puberty, and that was it.

While they were happening, my left-brain would seize up and then shut down entirely. That would make the right side of my body totally paralyzed. For a few hours after that, I would only have a working right-brain and left-body (they are cross-wired).

Your left-brain is the one reading this sentence. It knows English and talks to you. It’s logical and practical.

Right-brain is more loose, quiet, and perceiving. It is the seat of intuition, gut feelings, and pattern recognition. While I was a right-brain alone, I couldn’t talk. I could babble musically, but I didn’t know words. I had no perception of time or even the boundaries of my body.

I was in a state of total rapture. Oneness with the universe. Enlightenment. Not unlike Jill Taylor’s stroke.

You need to learn to give an equal say to both sides of your brain. Here’s how you can empower your right-brain:

Left-Brain Is Thinking

I don’t mean to imply that the left-brain is a bad guy. He invented the iPhone, plumbing, and coffee.

However, most of the mental illnesses that we see in the world today are due to the overactivity of the left-brain. OCD, anxiety, depression. These are all due to the brain talking to itself too much.

You can absolutely have the best of both worlds. You can interact with your left-brain when you need to solve a problem at work and sit more in the right-brain when you need to listen to your spouse or play with your kids.

The left-brain is dominant in nearly everyone. Don’t believe me? Watch people who don’t have anything to “do.” They grab for their phones, fiddle with something, or even cause trouble. People would even rather experience an electric shock than be alone with their thoughts.

Anything to keep their left-brains from being bored.

Right-Brain Is Perceiving

Right-brain was once on equal footing with the left-brain. Back before language allowed us to take over the entire planet.

Now we know so many words, facts, and opinions, that we struggle to keep them quiet for even one moment. It takes monks decades of deep practice with meditation in order to have a still and peaceful mind. Something that comes naturally to a house cat.

However, your perceiving brain still does a lot more than you might think.

If I asked you to calculate the trajectory of a baseball using long-hand physics equations, how long do you think that would take you? What if you had the help of 10 of your friends? Do you think you would be able to calculate the arc of a throw to within one inch?

What if I said, “Catch!” and just threw it to you.

You would probably catch it. Your right-brain would have done calculations in an instant that might have taken you and 10 of your smartest friends an hour to do on paper.

What’s really the better half?

Left-Brain Disorders are More Common

We live in a world of words and algorithms. Schools don’t teach you how to rely on instincts, they teach you how to follow rules. So, we are too reliant on the left-brain.

What happens if you need to go on a stage and give a speech? Are you more likely to trust that you will know what to do — or overthink, overprepare, and generally freak out?

I know that I’m much more likely to do the latter. Not when my left-brain was offline, though. I didn’t even remember my name, much less about how I was coming across.

This glimpse into a world without overthinking showed me that peace was possible. Although I wouldn’t want to live without my left-brain, I eventually learned to quiet it when I wanted to, and give more power to my right-brain.

What is Enlightenment?

In our world of words, ego, individuality, and masculine energy, it’s understandable that we would think of enlightenment as the absence of these things. However, as the Taoists believed, it is actually the balance of these two forces.

I was lucky that a seizure allowed me to see behind the curtain to a world without ego, but I don’t want to stay there forever. My ego is helpful in keeping me safe, socially acceptable, and feeding me.

Enlightenment is the balance of the left-brain and right-brain. The balance of dark and light, chaos and order, masculine and feminine.

You Don’t Need A Seizure to Learn From Me

You don’t need to have a left-brain seizure to realize that it has too tight of a grip on your life. Just like Jill Taylor’s stroke of insight, we can learn from those of us who have glimpsed beyond the grip of the left-brain.

You don’t have to shut it down to realize that inner peace is possible. If your mind tortures you, I promise there is a way to quiet it at will. It requires empowering your right-brain.

Ironically, the way is pretty intuitive.

How to Quiet Your Thinking Brain

Any activity that activates the non-thinking side of you will help. Dance, meditation, play, sports, martial arts, running, etc. etc. As long as it doesn’t involve intense thought or words, it will probably help.

If your brain bothers you all during the day, or while you are trying to sleep, here’s what you can do:

Listen

Kindly acknowledge the thoughts. Realize that you are not them. Don’t try to push them away, just look at them. If it’s a strong feeling, ask, “How big are you?” Let it get as big as it wants.

It’s important to stop fighting with the left-brain. Because the left-brain is the one fighting, so you are only empowering it further.

Love it

Say you’re meditating and you realize that you’ve been thinking for 10 minutes. Love it.

Bring the focus back to the breath, or the mantra, or whatever. Never chastise yourself for thinking.

Breathe

The breath is the only action that can both be controlled by the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. You can breathe on purpose, but if you forget about it, you will still do it.

That’s why it is such a wonderful tool for balance and inner peace. Keep your thinking mind on your breath, and you will sink deeper and deeper into the perceiving mind.

Warning: this takes a lot of practice to feel natural. Go easy on yourself.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness and fulfillment.

Taylor Foreman

Written by

Writer. Comedian. Storyteller. Somehow getting paid for make-‘em-ups. I help people tell their stories. taylorforeman.com

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 133,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

Taylor Foreman

Written by

Writer. Comedian. Storyteller. Somehow getting paid for make-‘em-ups. I help people tell their stories. taylorforeman.com

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 133,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

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