Podcast: Psychologist Rick Hanson

Podcast: Psychologist Rick Hanson

Mike McGee

Can you climb higher on a path to wisdom and happiness? Yes, and psychologist Rick Hanson shares how with Neurodharma.

Did you know we can reverse-engineer happiness and contentment by warming up our body’s own neural circuitry? That is the essence of the new book, Neurodharma: New Science, Ancient Wisdom, and Seven Practices of the Highest Happiness, by Rick Hanson, PhD.

If you are a longtime reader of Spirituality & Health, you are probably familiar with the work of Dr. Hanson. He is a psychologist and a New York Times best-selling author of multiple books, including Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness, and is a senior fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

In this episode of the podcast, he and Rabbi Rami have a very deep conversation about Buddhism, the Buddha (who Hanson likes to see kind of as a coach), and Reality with a capital R. But there is practical, actionable advice here, too.

As in his book, Hanson likes to share practices that you can do at home, and with Rabbi Rami, he goes through a three-breath meditation for warming the heart. In the first breath, you become aware of the whole chest. In the second breath, you breathe while thinking about caring, such as caring about someone you love. In the third breath, you breathe while feeling cared about, such as what it might be like to be loved, or that warm fuzzy feeling you get with your congregation or with your dog. “That is it!” says Hanson. You can do this daily, as it activates circuits in your brain. “When you change your body, you change your mind and your consciousness,” he says.

For more from the work of Dr. Hanson, read this excerpt of Neurodharma, about returning the brain to wholeness.

And please subscribe to the Essential Conversations podcast, so you never miss an episode.

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