According to a recent research, Matthieu Ricard is the happiest man in the world. He is 66 years old, whose life took a turn when he went to India in pursue of Buddhism. Currently, he is a western scholar of this religion by vocation. It seems like it is also the reason behind his happiness.
The daily meditation has done him much good apparently, as the research held by Neuroscientist Richard Davidson had 256 sensors reading off Ricard’s brain at the University of Wisconsin.
It was a part of a research conducted on experienced religion practitioners to find out who attains the most happiness from their religion. The results depicted that while he was on meditation, he had an overwhelming sense of compassion which produced gamma waves. These waves are connected to awareness, concentration, knowledge and reminiscence. The results also depicted extreme activity in his brain’s left prefrontal cortex in comparison to the right part, which allowed him immense happiness and a reduced tendency for negativity.
This research or form of practice is now being coined the term “neuroplasticity”. It is in its early stages and, according to the researchers, it is going to be a breakthrough in the world of science!
They have been on it for the past 12 years to find out the long and short term effects of meditation in order to train the human mind. They have found amazing results by carrying out the research through participants who have gone through the meditation for about 50,000 times in their lives by allocating about 20 minutes daily to meditation.
According to the researchers, it is an amazing area of research as it portrays that meditation is not only about sitting under a tree and hoping to find bliss out of nowhere, but about concentrating on the self and putting a mental effort into changing yourself for good.
Ricard is of the view that meditation can change the way the human brain is wired to think because of the society and shows the same impacts as to a person expecting to lose weight by joining a gym.
He has clearly talked a lot on the art of meditation in a video which includes the following tips to keep your mind thinking positive:
1. If you have a healthy mind, you should be able to see yourself through it like a mirror. And whatever negative thoughts come in your mind are merely a reflection, they are not meant to be dwelled on.
2. It is not possible to avoid negative thoughts altogether but fixating on a specific resonance, such as your own breathing, can calm the human mind and thus give it better clarity. Being in control of your mind is not about decreasing the freedom of your thoughts, rather it is all about not being a slave to your thoughts. You can literally have the power to direct your mind to think in a certain way.
3. You should always be mindful – this involves paying attention to the current moment, for example the feeling of your breath going in and out. If you notice that your mind is wandering off, just redirect it to focusing on the breathing. This is called mindfulness.
4. Once you are able to acquire this skill, you need to have attributes such as kindness or a way of dealing with troubling emotions. According to him, everyone has at one point felt all-consuming love but it usually lasts for only 15 seconds. But if you can capture this feeling from its essence and hold on to it to nurture it in your soul, it will become a part of you.
5. For example if you are playing the piano, feel its essence for about 20 minutes. It will have an amazing impact on you over time than only a few seconds. Constant practice should also be made a habit.
6. By the end of this you should be able to reap amazing benefits when it comes to stress levels and your overall health, as your brain changes with constant mental effort. This should be a lasting effort which will change your life for good.
The Habit of Happiness by Matthieu Ricard TED Talk: