4223578046_ba89d7edff_zWho is the happiest man in the world? No not Pablo Sandoval! Matthieu Ricard. He is one part molecular geneticist, one part Buddhist monk, and a million parts pure unadulterated happiness. According to this New York Daily News article, Ricard has the happiest brain ever mapped on a machine. His gamma waves, brain waves linked to awareness and happiness, are off the charts. His not-so-secret secret? Meditation.

Like cousin Kristofferson, the 66-year-old Ricard sees meditation and Buddhism not just as a religion – but as a scientific way of understanding the mind. Studies have actually shown that there are physiological implications to meditation, not just psychological ones. Meditating can reduce pain, bolster your immune system, and most importantly, make your happier. The mechanism by which this happiness is delivered, is through promoting the left frontal cortex over the right, allowing for more positive attitudes and a happier general outlook.

All this hippie stuff may seem far-fetched, but the science supports it. Researchers are looking into the mechanisms of meditation, but the effects are clear. Next time you have twenty minutes to spare, try some deep breathing and see where it takes you. If you’re interested in meditating with others, look into the Berkeley Shambhala center. There’s also a class you can take – Peace and Conflict Studies 94. It’s literally just meditation. Or you can always give up your worldly things and travel to Tibet.

Image source: h.koppdelaney under Creative Commons


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