Monday, November 15, 2010

Expansive Oneness (Joy in the Little Things)

I don't know if this post will make any sense, but I'll give it a go anyway.  A few days ago, I listened to a Ted Talk on my iPhone featuring Jill Bolte-Taylor, a renown neuroscientist who had a stroke several years ago.  It took her 8 years to fully recover her faculties, to walk and speak and be "normal" again. The fascinating part is, here is a woman who made it her life to study the brain and then she had the unique opportunity to study her own brain while it was having a stroke... and, miraculously, lived to tell about it.

She talks about the two sides of the brain: the left one, which is rational and keeps us on schedule and makes sure that our separate uniqueness (I'd even call this the "ego") stands up for itself; and the right one, which is more creative and free-thinking, able to literally think out of the box and sense the energies of all the molecules (people, things) around us.  The right one, to paraphrase her, enables us to be a part of the "expansiveness" of the universe, the connective tissue that binds us to each other and everything.

I got chills when I heard this.  It's as if all the struggling that we do in our lives comes from within, battling between the desire for connection on a cellular or molecular level and the need to keep it all in check so that we can live in the real world and keep gas in the car, pick the kids up on time, have enough savings in our bank accounts.  And it made me think about all the times when I feel like I'm juggling a million things and activities in order to get to a place (a party or an event or even just home for dinner) so that I can simply melt into the experience of the moment.  These moments, strung together, create a life.

Bolte-Tayler talks about the moment when she felt that she was dying, leaving her physical body.  In most circles, I've heard that called an "out of body experience," but she describes it as more of an "in the body" experience, a moment in which she felt so connected with everything else in the universe that the letting go actually enabled her to embrace and expand to her limitless existence.  And she doesn't talk at all about fear or commitments or responsibility.  She talks of love.

I cry at everything, so it will not suprise anyone that tears streamed down my face as I heard Jill Bolte-Taylor's voice crackle when trying to describe the awesome power of that experience.  But my mind had wandered, to Max.  I wondered, if he had taken an Ambien to go to sleep on his final night, had he been conscious enough to experience that Expansive Oneness when he passed away?  If that is the ultimate moment of love and awareness in  life, was he able to enjoy it and feel it and at least float into his next adventure with the knowledge that the love he'd created in this lifetime would continue on after his physical body had stopped working?  Was he able to feel the joy of all of the little things he'd seen/been/done in his life?

And how far did his soul stretch when it was no longer limited by his body?


  1. My lack of faith in organized religion allows me to believe that he is now unlimited for eternity. Whatever that means.

  2. And you may be correct. I love that way of thinking.