The World’s Happiest Man
“Matthieu Ricard, a 66-year old Tibetan monk and geneticist, produces brain gamma waves—linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory—never before reported in neuroscience, leading researchers to conclude that Ricard is the world’s happiest man. The secret to his success in achieving bliss? Meditation, he claims.” (published www.Smithsonian.com in 2012)
Compassion and happiness
The neuroscientists at the University of Wisconsin wanted to see if they could quantify what happens in the minds of experienced meditators. The researchers attached over 250 sensors to Ricard’s skull. “When he meditated on compassion, the researchers were shocked to see that Ricard’s brain produces a level of gamma waves off the charts. He also demonstrated excessive activity in his brain’s left prefrontal cortex compared to its right counterpart, meaning he has an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity, the researchers say.”
Anyone can be happy
“Meditating is like lifting weights or exercising for the mind, Ricard told the Daily News.” Anyone can be happy by simply training their brain, says Matthieu Ricard.
You can train the brain for happiness by building your muscles of compassion.
Matthieu Ricard has meditated for decades and when he meditates on compassion he is likely drawing on a simple practice which is thousands of years old – the metta meditation. (The same University of Wisconsin researchers integrated the principles of the Metta Meditation into a mindfulness series they taught to veterans with PTSD and high-anxiety children with great results.)
Build compassion and build the foundation of the happiness “muscles” in your brain:
Simply recite four phrases focused on yourself and then focused on another person and watch inner peace grow.
The Metta meditation or Loving Kindness is an easy practice which invokes a warm-hearted openness to life. Practicing the Loving Kindness meditation can increase self-kindness and happiness.
Metta is a Pali word (spoken in northern Nepal and is related to Sanskrit) which means friendly, kind, goodwill. By practicting the metta meditation, you are developing kindness and goodwill towards yourself and others. The ancient practice of Loving Kindness starts with yourself.
Could Meditation lead to Happiness?
The answer seems to be yes, according to University of Wisconsin neuroscience laboratory and years of research based in the field of Positive Psychology.
Our brain, like our muscles gets faster and more facile the more we develop certain healthy habits – like being able to increase your capacity for happiness and reduce your tendency for negativity through these easy compassion practices.
Matthieu’s book, Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill gives step by step guidance on how to cultivate a happier mind.
The research at the University of Wisconsin shows that there were positive effects with beginning meditation: “that those with only three weeks of 20-minute meditation per day also demonstrated some change.”
Can Happiness be learned?
Again the answer seems to be Yes. Science and ancient spiritual traditions have both shown that the mind can be trained, with real-life results in a short period of time The brain and memory can be changed with as little as 10 minutes a day (like with memory and brain training that brainHQ has shown in double blind studies.)
Happiness can be learned and developed through specific exercises like with compassion building meditation. Anyone can learn resilience and build success with specific Positive psychology practiced.
Positive Psychology and Success
The field of Positive Psychology has confirmed that there are definite ways to increase positivity and flourishing in your life.
• you can have 10 minutes of meaningful movement every day
• you can thank someone you appreciate and ‘remind’ your brain that you have support and community at the same time
• you can meditate or listen to music that increase your clarity, cognition and compassion and help you find relaxation and expanded mind states – certain brain states are associated with compassion
I also teach many of these methods in my Happiness and Prosperity Course. The special happiness process that I have developed is based on ancient spiritual principles and now the fields of Positive Psychology and neuroscience are proving why these practices have worked for millennia. I live with these principles and have taught them since 2009.
Anyone Can Be Happier
Matthieu Ricard donates the proceeds from his Happiness book to over 100 humanitarian projects. Now, that makes me happier knowing that I can support his good works in the world.
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