I caught a snippet on the radio last night about a man who has been scientifically determined to be the happiest man in the world: Mathieu Ricard. Intrigued, I googled him and found he had delivered a talk through the TED lectures.
His essential belief is founded on the importance of looking within the self to secure wellbeing. Some states of mind facilitate this; some, like anger, jealousy, work against it. He claims it is possible to change the nature of the mind. All emotions are fleeting, and can’t happen at the same time. Through meditation, minds can therefore be positively transformed.
What I find extraordinary about all of this is that the scientific evaluations of the brains of meditators such as Mathieu show clearly the physical transformations which take place over time after making efforts to train the mind towards contentment, well-being, compassion, etc. In Mathieu’s case, those parts of the brain which evidence happiness are significantly more developed than in other people. And those parts of the brain affected by negative emotions have practically disappeared.
I feel quite inspired by this idea. The serious power of the mind. It’s easy to pay lip-service to the concept, but it’s enticing to think about what might be achieved if we were really to ‘put our mind to it’.