Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom

Rick Hanson, Ph.D. with Richard Mendius, MD
Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom
New Harbinger Publications, Oakland, CA, 2009

Revolutionary findings in neuroscience prove what contemplatives such as the Buddha taught over two thousand years ago: you can actually train your brain to experience greater mindfulness, loving kindness and inner peace. Buddha's Brain combines stimulating exercises and easy to understand hard science for re-wiring the brain to intentionally create positive changes. The physical consequences of our evolutionary past is that we've evolved to pay great attention to unpleasant experiences. The brain actually has a negative bias. "It is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones," quip the authors. Yet when we're upset we don't ponder over the biochemical details happening in our brain. They key is not to suppress the negative, but to seek out and foster positive facts and turn them into positive experiences. Focusing on positive experiences for 5, 10 or 20 seconds, and even beyond their momentary impact, causes neurons to fire and wire together, dopamine to be released and actually changes the structure of your brain. — Reviewed by Gail Lord