Monday, November 20, 2006

Seeking happiness

This morning, Cynthia gave me a copy of an article called Mastering Your Own Mind by Katherine Ellison that's published by Psychology Today. It's about the benefits of meditation. Here's one observation that I've told you about before:
One recent study at Massachusetts General Hospital found that 40 minutes of daily meditation appears to thicken parts of the cerebral cortex involved in attention and sensory processing.
And here's an excerpt toward the end of the article:
Meditators find that when they stop taking their own emotional upheavals so seriously, the self drops away. They process the world more directly. Absorption, a state similar to what is known as "flow" increases. "People are hungry for this kind of authentic experience," observes [Jon] Kabat-Zinn.

Urging seekers of happiness to not only shake off egoism but to understand the amorphous nature of the ego itself remains an subversive idea in the West, even though some leading neuroscientists have come to the same conclusion. Wolf Singer, director of the Max Planck Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, for instance, describes the brain as lacking any decision-making "coherence center." It's like an orchestra without a conductor.

It's a tremendously hopeful possibility that brains can change for the better - specifically, become sharper, nicer, happier.
Remember, the universal motivation is the wish to be happy. It's what we all want. What Western researchers are now discovering is that we can, indeed, experience true happiness through meditative practice.

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