Oh yes, I’m back on happiness and changing your DNA and your brain chemistry too; and so I’m taking a closer look with my new friend Matthieu Ricard from his Google Tech Talks in 2007 at how to re-program brains. His lecture is stored in the Youtube video library (its so nice to browse Youtube occasionally–well, actually, I do daily).
Mattieu Ricard spoke about ‘The Art of Meditation’ in a video from the charity RSA. Here are some hints and tips…
- A healthy mind should act like a mirror – faces can be reflected in a glass but none of them stick. Use the same technique with thoughts – let them pass through your mind but don’t dwell.
- It’s impossible to stop thoughts from coming but focusing on a particular sound or the breath going in and out calms the mind, giving greater clarity. Controlling the mind is not about reducing your freedom, it’s about not being a slave to your thoughts. Think of it as directing your mind like a boat rather than drifting.
- Be mindful – pay attention to the sensations of your breath going in and out. If you notice your mind wandering simply bring it back to focusing on your breath. This is known as mindfulness. You can apply it to other sensations to bring you into the ‘now’ rather than dwelling on the past or future. You could focus instead on heat, cold and sounds that you hear.
- Once you’ve achieved some skill in this you can use that to cultivate qualities such as kindness, or dealing with disturbing emotions. He says everyone has felt all-consuming love but usually it lasts for about 15 seconds, but you can hold on and nurture this vivid feeling by focusing on it in meditation. If you feel it becoming vague you can consciously revive it.
- Like when playing the piano, practicing the feeling for 20minutes has a far greater impact over time than a few seconds. Regular practice is also needed like watering a plant.
- You can then use meditation to gain some space from negative emotions. Ricard says: ‘You can look at your experience like a fire that burns. If you are aware of anger you are not angry you are aware. Being aware of anxiety is not being anxious it is being aware.’ By being aware of these emotions you are no longer adding fuel to their fire and they will burn down.
- You will see benefits in stress levels and general wellbeing as well as brain changes with regular practice in a month. Those who say they don’t have enough time to meditate should look at the benefits: ‘If it gives you the resources to deal with everything else during the other 23 hours and 30minutes, it seems a worthy way of spending 20 minutes,’ Ricard says.
I understand that what once was thought a miracle is a law of nature as it turns out.
Change your Mind; Change your Brain
The Inner Conditions:
60 minutes Youtube watch?v=L_30JzRGDHI
Next, I also want you to see this talk from Ricard on the habits of happiness at Ted Talks (also stored on Youtube).
21 minutes Youtube watch?v=vbLEf4HR74E
Thanks for learning with me,
Why is Ricard “the happiest man in the world?”
A friend wants to know if I’m still Christian. YES, I am. Everything that I’m referring to from science and new age and Buddhist teachers is complimentary with Jesus’s teachings. I posted a couple of the most important Christian practices–in my opinion, 1 John (NIV) and the Our Father prayer are essential in Christian belief.
1 John 4:9-11
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.