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Podcast    H4'ed 5/28/10

Rick Hanson; Co-author; Buddha's Brain;The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, love and wisdom

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Broadcast 5/28/2010 at 12:10 PM EDT (174 Listens, 136 Downloads, 2382 Itunes)
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Buddha's Brain has been among the top 100 non-fiction books on Amazon for more than half the time it's been published and is ranked as the number one book for some Amazon categories.Â

There's a good reason. It's brilliant. Rick Hanson generously shared 90 minutes with me, going through much of the book. The podcast gives you a taste of a book that really is a must for your bookshelf, whether you are a health care practitioner, psychologist, family or couples therapist or lay person wanting to take greater control of your brain and your life.Â

Here's an excerpt from Dr. Hanson's BIO

I am  a neuropsychologist and have written and taught extensively about the essential inner skills of personal well-being, psychological growth, and contemplative practice as well as about relationships, family life, and raising children.

I grew up in a loving and stable family, mainly in the suburbs of Los Angeles; my mother was a homemaker and my father was a zoologist. A shy and bookish kid who loved the outdoors, I entered UCLA at 16 and graduated summa cum laude in 1974 (and was honored to be one of four "outstanding seniors" chosen by the UCLA Alumni Association). Over the next several years, I founded a successful seminar company, worked for a mathematician doing probabilistic risk analyses for things like the odds of a nuclear power plant melting down, and did management consulting. After fulfilling the course requirements for a Masters in developmental psychology at San Francisco State University, I received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Wright Institute in 1991, with a dissertation titled, "Gratifying control: Mothers offering alternatives to toddlers."

My clinical practice includes adults, couples, families, and children, as well as psychological assessments of children and adults related to temperament, school performance, and educational and vocational planning. I have worked as a school psychologist for several independent schools, and have given many talks to meetings of parents or child development specialists. For many years, I served on the Board of FamilyWorks, a family resource agency in Marin County, California, and chaired it  for two years. I currently serve as a Trustee of Saybrook University.

The rest of the bio is here

Notes on the interview:

Definitions of the Brain, mind. As the mind changes, the brain changes-- self directed neural plasticity.

If you want to get good at anything, study the people who are good ait-- hence studying Buddha's precepts. The book attempts to reverse engineer the brain of the Buddha.

Bottom up intention;

Of all contemplative traditions, Buddhism is closest to modern Science. This book re-imagines Buddhism in terms of evolutionary neuroscience.

The nervous system is 600 million years old

Three roles of the nervous system for safety:

-separate the self from the world


-get rewards and avoid threats

Suffering is embedded within each of us.Â

Brain has a negativity bias-- overestimates hazards

First Darts, Second Darts

Discomforts happen. They are first darts. But the mind creates reactions -- second darts-- to those discomforts.Â

The untrained mind is definitely a puppet pulled by a 100 strings that are woven throughout the brain.

Without mindfulness we are their slave.

Sub cortical responses can be faster than the prefrontal cortex, so old ideas of pausing before acting apply-- measure twice, cut once, count to ten...

Engage in self compassion, not self pity.Â

Chronic low-grade stress is a killer.Â

Bottom-up is way to cope with stress-- using quieting exercises and practices that become routine, breathing, mindfulness.

Take in the good, let go of the bad-- Teflon for negative experience, velcro for positive experience.

REmember positive experience memories when having positive experiences and vice versa-- Firing together so they're wiring together.

Embodied cognition, sensory motor

Insula associated with empathy-- tracks what's happening in the body

Wholehearteness definition

Activating the PNS-- Parasympathetic nervous system. Â Rest and Digest

We need both the sympathetic NS and PNS. They balance each other.Â

SNS fight or flight

Becoming a master of the PNS is way cool in the world today.


"Hell is other people" Sartre

Two wolves native American story by a woman who was respected by the village, and asked why:

In my heart are two wolves-- one of love, one of hate. It all depends on the one we feed each day.

We have both kinds of wolves in our nervous system-- they were evolutionally put there. We need them both.Â

more notes coming.

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One theme has run through my work for the past 40 plus years-- a desire to play a role in waking people up, raising their consciousness and empowering them. I was the organizer founder of the Winter Brain, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology and StoryCon Meetings and president of Futurehealth, Inc., with interests in (more...)

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