Many external things may make us happy, or at least seem to, temporarily. But it seems scientifically sound now to say that the key to real happiness — meaningful, enduring happiness — resides in our minds.
Over on Oprah.com, they’ve published a profile of Richard J. Davidson, PhD, a neuroscientist and professor of psychology and psychiatry, whose team has employed brain imaging technologies to study the mental activity of everyday adults and children, others with mood disorders and autism, Tibetan monks, and workers who had learned and performed meditation under the auspices of Davidson’s old family friend, Jon Kabat-Zinn. (Among other Davidson friends and influences Shambhala Sun readers might know are Daniel Goleman and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.)
The team’s findings were instantly famous. To quote O‘s Penelope Green: “[M]editation produced a significant increase in activity in the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions and traits like optimism and resilience [...] In meditating monks, [Davidson] separately found, this area lit up like the lights in Times Square, showing activity beyond anything he and his team had ever seen — a neurological circuit board explaining their sunny serenity.” Nowadays, the team’s focus is on individuals practicing compassion meditation.
Practically speaking, Davidson’s work proves what Buddhists and meditators of all stripes have long known, albeit in a more experiential way: we can know our minds deeply, and when we do, we have a more direct interaction with our inherent happiness. To this end, we at Shambhala Sun are excited to be again partnering with the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY — this time, to present a special program called “Discovering Happiness: What the Buddhists Teach.”
Taking place in August, the program will feature Gelek Rinpoche, Sharon Salzberg, Barry Magid, MD, and Polly Young-Eisendrath, PhD, leading a series of individual presentations, meditation practice periods, and question-and-answer sessions — all meant to help you to discover ways to find your own genuine and lasting happiness.
For more information and to register, visit the program’s page on the Omega Institute’s website.
This is just one of several special events we at Shambhala Sun have planned for you. To see what else is in store, visit our Events page, which you can get to by clicking here right now, via the “Events” heading on ShambhalaSun.com, or via this web-ad, which you’ll be seeing here and there: