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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Am, Without Words

Stevie Ray Vaughan

I unfortunately found out about Stevie Ray Vaughan the day he died. The local jazz station, KLON, was playing nothing but his music, as well they should've. Since, I've bought several albums including some amazing concert bootlegs. I wish wish wish I could've seen him perform. There are no words.

I found out about Jill Bolte Taylor today. She's not dead. Amazingly. I'd heard about this neuroanatomist who'd survived a stroke and written a book about the experience, but I'd never pursued learning more. Fortunately, happenstance led me to watch her TED talk on YouTube this morning.

If you haven't heard her tell her story before, click on that link in the previous paragraph and allow yourself 20 minutes to be captivated. What she communicates, I'm not entirely sure how she was able to say it with words. It's absolutely completely overwhelming. It is Life, both individual and eternal.

And that's what I've struggled with for years. Long ago I had a BIG problem with words for awhile. I whittled everything down to the statement "I am", fundamental to both the logic of Descartes and the spirit of the Tao. I couldn't figure out what even that meant at the time though.

In her talk, Taylor resolves my struggle by so simply, so clearly differentiating the left and right sides of the brain. I won't even try to restate it. Just watch it. What I will say is that, in my oversimplification, "I" is the left side and "am" is the right.

But really it's like trying to say in words what SRV does with his guitar. So please, watch both clips.


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