Saturday, October 20, 2007

Change your Mind Change your Brain: The Inner Conditions for Authentic Happiness


If happiness is an inner state, influenced by external conditions but not dependent on them, how can we achieve it? Ricard will examine the inner and outer factors that increase or diminish our sense of well-being, dissect the underlying mechanisms of happiness, and lead us to a way of looking at the mind itself based on his book, Happiness: A Guide to Life's Most Important Skill and from the research in neuroscience on the effect of mind-training on the brain.

Speaker Bio: Matthieu Ricard, a gifted scientist turned Buddhist monk, is a best selling author, translator, and photographer. He has lived and studied in the Himalayas for the last 35 years where he currently works on humanitarian projects. He is an active participant in the current scientific research on meditation and the brain.


Jon will describe the revolution in medicine that has occurred over the past 30 years that has integrated the mind back into the body and developed a remarkable range of practices for integrating one's experience, reducing stress, healing the body, coping more effectively with emotions such as anxiety, anger, and depression, and cultivating greater well-being and happiness. His work has been instrumental in bringing Buddhist meditative practices, as he likes to say, "without the Buddhism" to full acceptance within the mainstream of medicine, psychology, and health care, and has shown them to be effective in people suffering from a wide range of medical disorders and diseases who have not been entirely helped by more traditional approaches. He will present data from several studies showing the effects of simple mindfulness practices on the brain and the immune system in employees in a high-stress work environment, and on rates of healing in medical patients. He will also speak about the growing conversation at the highest levels between science and ancient contemplative traditions, catalyzed in part by the Dalai Lama's interest in science, and how it is leading to new ways of exploring and understanding the nature of human experience and our potential to lead satisfying, happy, and healthy lives.

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