January 22, 2007 at 4:11 pm #20632
This is more hype on the studies of Tibetan monks left frontal lobes as the source of happiness. I’m posting it just to stimulate discussion: is happiness the goal of meditation? Or are these meditators missing something between the left and right lobes that the machines are not/cannot measure? Is all this hype part of the scientific attempt to “takeover” the mind states of religion and claim its all empirical?
Happiniess sounds like half the goal to me,. I call happiness “completion of one worldly destiny”. i.e. Happiness is state of our heart-mind, its post-natal in nature. The shen are fed, had sex, did their job in finding the missing parts of themselves here.
But it has little to do with completion of one’s spiritual destiny, which might be strengthened by a life of suffering and disease, i.e. embracing those ancestral/karmic aspects might actually complete the soul’s lesson, or propel one to investigate beyond the physical unhappiness and into the soul and source. Hopefully we integrate the two, pre and post natal selves.
What do others think about happiness?
THE HAPPIEST MAN IN THE WORLD?
… AND YOU CAN LEARN HOW HE DOES IT, SAYS ACADEMIC-TURNED-BUDDHIST MONK
By Anthony Barnes
January 21, 2007
To 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.
Now Matthieu Ricard, 60, a 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.
His advice could not be more timely as tomorrow Britain will reach what,
according to a scientific formula, is the most miserable day of the year.
Tattered new year resolutions, the faded buzz of Christmas, debt, a lack of
motivation and the winter weather conspire to create a peak of misery and
But studies have shown that the mind can rise above it all to increase
almost everyone’s happiness. Mr Ricard, who is the French interpreter for
Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, took part in trials to show that
brain training in the form of meditation can cause an overwhelming change in
levels of happiness.
MRI scans showed that he and other long-term meditators — who had completed
more than 10,000 hours each — experienced a huge level of “positive
emotions” in the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which is associated
with happiness. The right-hand side, which handles negative thoughts, is
Further studies have shown that even novices who have done only a little
meditation have increased levels of happiness. But Mr Ricard’s abilities
were head and shoulders above the others involved in the trials.
“The mind is malleable,” Mr Ricard told The Independent on Sunday yesterday.
“Our life can be greatly transformed by even a minimal change in how we
manage our thoughts and perceive and interpret the world. Happiness is a
skill. It requires effort and time.”
Mr Ricard was brought up among Paris’s intellectual elite in the 1960s, but
after working for a PhD in biochemsitry he abandoned his distinguished
academic career to study Tibetan Buddhism in the Himalayas.
A book of philosophical conversations he conducted with his father
Jean-François Revel, The Monk and the Philosopher, became an unlikely
publishing phenomenon when it came out in France in the late 1990s.
Mr Ricard is to publish his book Happiness for the first time in the UK next
………..January 22, 2007 at 4:52 pm #20633
I onestly think that happiness is just a byproduct of cultivation, just as other abilities, and also, a centered happiness – not an overflowing one, at least not in the first stages of practice – could function like the backing vocals of a meditation…
About the lobes, did you know about the trinary computers ?? Seems that binary thinking is old news for the leading edge of science, too…
Little1January 23, 2007 at 11:08 am #20635
‘It is not our condition, but the caliber of our soul, that makes us happy’ (Voltaire).January 23, 2007 at 11:38 am #20637January 23, 2007 at 3:54 pm #20639
I think it is subject to immediate condemnation, just like “Inner Smiles”..
the flip side is a dog eat dog world of suffering, which is of course the whole point of the book, but people are so thrown off by the idea they scoff.. the world is full of miserable people whose hatred is self defeating and makes everything they experience miserable..they hate the idea of happiness becuase it is so ludicrous to them
people need to ask real questions, and, like it or not, science is THE WAY to get reliable answers to questions..
Some people still have faith thtat world is physically 6000 years old and that creation occured (out of order astrophysically) in 6 24 hour earth days.. this IS the dark ages..
Science has tested the radiations and magnetic patterns and developmental cycles and ascertained a world far far far older than that with ancient organisms coming and going far into lost ages..
which the dark age people still question..
the questions are where life came from, what is consciousness, is there a soul, where are people, souls, life going to, is there a difference between animals and humans..
people like Darwin and Einstein devoted their lives to these things..
So the question? Is the Soul intended for Happiness? Is happiness bliss?
Well I think all us would like to be in a state of bliss.. but is that peace? some people have experienced a state of “cosmic love unity”
which is, in my opinion what Buddhism seeks, that feeling of white light pouring out like a supernova from the heart cauldron, fusing like some zero point into the heart of other beings..
This is the point of a guy named Dan Winter’s work as well.. a “phi ratio cascade” of love pouring outwards from an imploded zero point…
BUT then there’s the lower cauldron stuff.. sex chi, sex magnetism which I see as orange…
I think sex is just as desirable as the white light and probably requires some secret orgone chakra open..
It’s very complicated.. why do we feel better when the house is finally cleaned? some of it is probably wired into us from aeons of animal evolution.. a sense of completion or fulfillment or simple grazing..January 23, 2007 at 3:56 pm #20641January 23, 2007 at 4:55 pm #20643
SO many definitions of happiness. It is hard to tell what this man means. Usually meditators don’t quantify happiness on just ‘post natal completions’ but a sense of being part of but witnessing their lives at a higher threshold of capability and metabolism of emotion.
It appears he is making the point that happiness is something we shape out of the mind’s malleability as we all unconsciously shape our unhappiness most of the rest of our lives. We are already great manifesters according to the human potential entrepreneurs. Underneath is a message of co-creativity with innate Spirit which I find very positive and a great reminder in times of subtle bitching and blaming. Ok, overt bitching and blaming (:
Times of suffering and disease can be an outcome of deeper centering into this creative power we have. Or at least old structures will break down faster or older incompletions now have a stage to act out on and appear as something to ‘suffer through’. Divorce, illnesses, breakdowns of self image all seem to be part of the ride.
The downside of this ‘happiness as a skill’ is when we blame ourselves as not skillful enough when we are ill or suffering. Jeesh, how many times a day does my brain do that? Definitely need a diet of forgiveness.
Jing/body is what is missing as far as I am concerned with the head up brain wave folks. The Inner Smile works when the jing is cooking and the mind is whole bodied. (However I am using a brain wave technology and find it quite helpful.) BarryJanuary 25, 2007 at 11:55 pm #20645
I believe that those that focus on increasing happiness (as in the article) are missing the boat.
The problem is that there is confusion between the goal and the symptoms of the goal.
Some people when they get sick buy remedies to treat the symptoms. After taking such remedies, they feel better. However, the underlying illness has not been addressed; they’ve only addressed the surface symptoms. If instead someone decides to cure the illness, the symptoms disappear as a consequence.
I think the same could be said here, analogously.
In my opinion, individuals who focus on “increasing happiness”, are trying to fix the symptoms of being at a lower state. This is the wrong approach.
I believe that the true goal is “the evolution of the soul”. By making this the ultimate goal of meditation and other internal techniques, I believe that you get happiness as a consequence–a symptom of the goal.
It is my sincere belief that it is possible to be completely happy, even in a state of total bliss, and still feel unfulfilled.
In fact, this is my personal view on why souls reincarnate.
SteveJanuary 26, 2007 at 5:27 am #20647
Actually I saw a show on this on tv at the gym a while back. I was sitting on the couch at the gym eating Doritos, happy as a clam. No, of course it was one of those screens that blare at you from the wall, meant to distract you from paying attention to your body as you work out.
But it was interesting and I followed along. I also found that it made me uneasy though. It made me think of that whole ‘brain machine’ thing, which always calls to mind for me that machine in Phillip K. Dick’s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, the ‘mood organ’, which could be used to program your moods… I can imagine some very creepy future scenarios combining brain machines, lucid dreaming ‘tech’, drugs, and ‘commercial interests’…
It’s a little too pat and subject to unsavoury manipulations by all-too-human motives (not that the happy monk and his scientist admirers are people with fishy motives).
Indeed, suffering has it’s place–regret for instance…
Yeah, and there’s being happy, finding your Zen, and then there’s ‘craft’, which you either acquire, or not. But first I do think people could use plenty of clever non-dual magic escape hatches into happy states, as much as possible, to make space for further refinements.
SimonJanuary 29, 2007 at 12:32 pm #20649
Your dinner proposal was a bit more sofisticated…
your present posting is too ‘bland’, not even worth deleting
and yes I am doing fine, thank youJanuary 29, 2007 at 6:09 pm #20651
In case you really want to know so you don’t need to worry about me… we already found a creative path in the middle, not a ‘divorce’, not a marriage either, …. alchemists are creative creators, always looking for the most balanced way!
We create, we don’t abort anything…
Try to create life, instead of stirring the pot of doom and hellJanuary 29, 2007 at 7:09 pm #20653
I’ve come to understand that there are pot stirrers out there in order for us to practice not being stirred up by them. It’s a necessary lesson on the path to calm, open awareness.
Smiling at them,
AlexanderJanuary 29, 2007 at 7:33 pm #20655
Yes they are necessary on the path of change, without them there would be not much to change. BUT
Just some hours ago I was meditating, and ‘a door’ went open and I asked what the purpose was of our being here on this planet. And ‘it’ replied, there is no real purpose, there is only ‘IS’. In fact I found it a bit of a disappointing answer because it means whatever we do is in fact without purpose, so it looks like we invent ‘purposes’ to strive for, yet there isn’t any really. That is a very ’empty’ goal to strive for.
Yet through ‘the door’ I could feel so much love coming through, just to realize that it is there and all around as well within… and to being able to feel that is plenty ‘purpose’, as well it IS plenty BEING that.
So with or without stirring ‘potters’ IT IS always present, so I agree with you and I don’t agree with you :)))
A Lovely Good Night
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