We all want to be truly happy. The question is, how?
In Buddhist practice, the “how” includes gradually transforming the mind – the seat of clinging in all its forms – to increase the causes of happiness and reduce the causes of suffering – ultimately, to complete Awakening. But what does it mean actually, to transform the mind? (We mean “mind” in the ordinary sense, as the realm of awareness, thoughts, feelings, sensations, images, desires, personality patterns, etc.)
Mind and Brain
In terms of Western science, changing your mind means changing your brain. Many people, including ourselves, believe that there are transcendental factors at work in the mind outside of the realm of matter and energy. But apart from those potential influences, mind must be what the nervous system does. What else could it be possibly be?
While acknowledging the possibility of the transcendental, for the rest of this article, we’ll stay within the framework of what’s known scientifically about the mind and brain, and explore how you can use that information to support your own path of practice. For example, psychology, neurology, and “contemplative neuroscience” have recently made discoveries about attention, cultivating positive emotions, and controlling craving that support the development of virtue, concentration, and wisdom. Further, the growing synergies between science and contemplative practice are a vital resource for a world poised on the edge of the sword, since the way it tips will depend a lot on whether enough people become more skillful at managing the reactive patterns of their minds – and thus, their brains…
Continue reading here.
Source: wisebrain.org - ©Rick Hanson, PhD and Rick Mendius, MD, 2007