Interview with Rick Hanson, Author of Buddha’s Brain

My very first interview was with Rick Hanson, PhD, neuropsychologist and author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom.

Rick is not just another smart geek, he’s also a Buddhist and lives what he practices.   Buddha’s Brain is easy to read and filled with practical steps to help you harness the power of your mind to change your brain for the better.

Rick uses the analogy that our nervous system is like hardware and our mind is like software.  However, most of our mind is outside our field of awareness as the subconscious mind.

As information flows to the nervous system, most of that is outside your field of attention.

What is in the field of your conscious attention is causing neurons to fire together and start wiring together.

He says that mindfulness is the combination of spotlight and vacuum cleaner — it illuminates what it rests upon and then sucks it into the brain.

A major way to learn or form neural structure is through mindful attention.

“If you can understand increasingly how to work inside the black box — how to go inside the three pounds of tofu basically right between the ears, then in effect you’ve got your hands around the steering wheel of your life, you’ve got the keys to the kingdom.”

“You can create and shift gradually over time the causes of happiness and suffering inside your own head,” said Rick Hanson, PhD.

In our interview, Rick talks about the negativity bias and he shares tips about how to expand the positive in any moment you experience it so you can change your brain and overtime you will begin to feel more positive.

I’ve often been asked by clients, “Why is it so easy to think of negative situations and harder to come up with positive memories?”

It’s because our stories, negative thoughts, movies in our minds are all anticipating suffering, pain, challenges or threats.

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