Happiest man on earth is a Buddhist monk



According scientists, he is the world’s happiest man. His level of mind control is astonishing and the upbeat impulses in his brain are off the scale. Tibetan monk and molecular geneticist Matthieu Ricard is the happiest man in the world according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin. The 66-year-old’s brain produces a level of gamma waves – those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory – never before reported in neuroscience.



Ricard, French academic-turned-Buddhist monk, is to share his secrets to make the world a happier place. The trick, he reckons, is to put some effort into it. In essence, happiness is a “skill” to be learned. As he grins serenely and his burgundy robes billow in the fresh Himalayan wind, it is not difficult to see why scientists declared Matthieu Ricard the happiest man they had ever tested.

Read the rest


Study: MRIs & EEGs Of Meditators On Jhanas

The Abstract:

We report the first neural recording during ecstatic meditations called jhanas and test whether a brain reward system plays a role in the joy reported. Jhanas are Altered States of Consciousness (ASC) that imply major brain changes based on subjective reports: (1) external awareness dims, (2) internal verbalizations fade, (3) the sense of personal boundaries is altered, (4) attention is highly focused on the object of meditation, and (5) joy increases to high levels. The fMRI and EEG results from an experienced meditator show changes in brain activity in 11 regions shown to be associated with the subjective reports, and these changes occur promptly after jhana is entered. In particular, the extreme joy is associated not only with activation of cortical processes but also with activation of the nucleus accumbens (NAc) in the dopamine/opioid reward system. We test three mechanisms by which the subject might stimulate his own reward system by external means and reject all three. Taken together, these results demonstrate an apparently novel method of self-stimulating a brain reward system using only internal mental processes in a highly trained subject.

Neural Plasticity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 653572, 12 pages
Research Article:

Case Study of Ecstatic Meditation: fMRI and EEG Evidence of Self-Stimulating a Reward System

“If You’re Too Busy to Meditate, Read This”

Another interesting secular article about the benefits of meditation. Peter Bregman on the blog for The Harvard Business review tells people who claim to be too busy to meditate that meditation will give them time by making them more productive. How? By increasing their capacity let of distracting urges that lead them away from their goals:

If You’re Too Busy to Meditate, Read This

I remember reading a description about what is “Right” in the “Right Concentration” of The Eightfold Path. An example of given of one kind of concentration that is not “Right Concentration”, that of a predator focusing on its prey. In other words, the focus of aggressively going after desires.

Still, I think Begman’s argument taken by a bottom line business person will lead to good things. I’ve heard many meditation teachers say that people who other pursuits where they are used to going off on their own to practice, stay in one place do better with meditation. Cultivating the ability to let of impulses, even in a secular context can be useful in the context of The Eightfold Path. For example, dropping unhealthy habits that may shorten the life of a meditator or effect their disposition.

Peter Bregman

Peter Bregman is a strategic advisor to CEOs and their leadership teams. His latest book is 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done.