The Science of Meditation

It’s amazing that in an era of unfathomable wealth, we are left with so much mental illness, especially depression. Yet with a bit of thinking, you can see that happiness is a choice.

Feeling happy is not something that happens to you… it is something that you do.

Certainly stuff happens – anyone who has looked at getting married will know that stressful things happen – but the way that we choose to deal with it remains in our hands.

I love the Dalai Lama’s work. I’ve read a few of his books, and encourage you to invest that time into yourself too. Likewise, I enjoy immersing myself in a bit of Wayne Dyer from time to time. It may not leave you as pumped and inspired as Tony Robbins, but you’re likely to feel happier, live healthier and enjoy life a bunch more – kinda what Tony encourages you to aim for ironically!

Check out the link to see how science shows that a meditating monk is off the chart on the happiness scales – by scientific measurements!

If you haven’t already, you need to try out meditation… it’s part of the future of happiness-centred living.

(From the link) Last year Dr. Richard Davidson, director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin and a conference presenter, used an fMRI machine to map the brain of monk Matthieu Ricard.

While Ricard, a monk with over 30 years’ experience in contemplative practice, engaged in what Buddhists call compassion meditation, Davidson measured the activity in his brain. The pictures showed excessive activity in the left prefrontal cortex (just inside the forehead) of Ricard’s brain.

Generally people with happy temperaments exhibit a high ratio of activity in the left prefrontal cortex, an area associated with happiness, joy and enthusiasm. Those who are prone to anxiety, fear and depression exhibit a higher ratio of activity in the right prefrontal cortex.

But the degree to which the left side of Ricard’s brain lit up far surpassed 150 other subjects Davidson had measured. No one knows whether Ricard might have exhibited the same results before he became a monk. But given that his readings were off the chart for happiness, Richardson believes that studying the minds of meditating monks can help us learn how meditation can mold our brains to develop happier and less-afflicted temperaments.

Buddhists have long maintained that meditation offers great benefits to their minds and bodies, but the empirical world has demanded more proof than personal testimonials. As Ajahn Amaro, an abbot at the Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in northern California put it on Saturday, “people believe in the great god of data.”

Therefore, the Dalai Lama hopes researchers can scientifically prove that meditation has medical and emotional benefits, and then divorce it from its spiritual Buddhist roots to offer the world a secular method for relieving suffering and finding happiness.