In My Stroke of Insight, Jill Bolte Taylor records her experience of total right-brain dominance when she suffered a massive stroke in 1996. It sounds so like descriptions of the kensho experience that it gives me pause for thought. Do I care that there might be a relatively straightforward scientific explanation of a deep religious experience?
After eight years' recuperation, Taylor regained nearly all her left-brain capabilities, though she apparently managed to turn away a few of the egocentric patterns she'd rather not revive. Amazingly, she appears to have retained the ability to switch between the two sides of her brain voluntarily to some degree. Or rather, her sense of her right-brain experience remains so strong that she has developed the will to stoke it up, playing down any left-brain tendencies she wishes to dismiss. So she can feel that deep, timeless connection still.
Her key insight (for the rest of us) is that the physical effect of any strong emotion only lasts around 90 seconds, after which it can only persist if we willingly add it to our story-line. That is, if we do what zazen proposes and let it go, it really won't hang around for long of its own accord.
Picture credit: iTalk Cafe