A Stroke of Insight

I have been longing to get Grace back in the water all week. Finally, I was able to do so on this Friday afternoon.

The water was choppier because of some people on jet skies, and it was windy as well. The grasses had multiplied quite a bit as well. I talked to a woman who emerged from the water at the same time I did and concurred with me that paddling was a lot of work today. She said the grasses had not been this bad in several years, but that rain and colder weather should curtail it.

I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that there isn't some element of fear in me at times on the river. The first strokes are always euphoric. But then, encountering the choppy waters, or the dreaded tentacles of the the grasses that get entangled in my paddle and slow me down give me pause for concern. Still, I found a path along side the island and paddled there pretty much undisturbed noticing the beauty of the wildflowers growing there.

It took a lot of work to get to where I wanted to go - and almost just as much to come back. But I did enjoy floating in that place between the island and the Maryland side I had explored on Monday - chanting and praying out there.

I reflected on a podcast I listened to yesterday where Oprah interviewed Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuro-anatomist who was able to document what was happening inside of her as she had a stroke. She essentially lost her language and that part of her that identifies with the ego. It is is a fascinating experience that she documents in her book, My Stroke of Insight.

What is this stroke of insight? That we are literally a thought away from the experience of peace which resides in the right hemisphere of our our brain.

Here are some of the notes I took on the talk:

"I am responsible for the energy I bring to others. As a doctor, it is important that I always show up for a patient...

When you dwell in sadness or think of sad thoughts - you feel it in your body. Sadness has a certain physiology. It is a circuitry that you run and you can say no to. You can say to yourself, 'I don't want to go there.' You have the ability to focus your mind on what you want...

We have the ability to quiet the mental chatter in our brains. It occupies the space the size of peanut in our brains...

When you don't think about something, it doesn't exist. Pay attention to your thoughts. You can can change your thoughts...Peace is only a thought away...It is literally that simple...

In the silence of the mind where there is no ego - it is beautiful, peaceful, tranquil, and full of color and it is a place where you are most alive...

Take responsibility for the circuitry you run. You can literally change the game of your life..."

These were certainly powerful words and they dovetail so much with the teachings of Yogananda, the writings of Eckhart Tolle, Stephan Bodian, and so many others. It is so fascinating to me to see so many people from many different disciplines and traditions and eras articulating the same things.

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