Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Fabulous Book

    I think we have a theme this month -- the last two weeks we talked about how Western science has finally adopted and validated Buddhist mindfulness practices and this week we'll talk about how a Tibetan Buddhist finds validation of his practice in Western science.  Whew, trippy.

     The book is The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.  As a child, Yongey was afflicted with serious panic attacks, but finally found complete relief from them in his meditation practices.  Later, as he met Westerners and became familiar with Western scientific principles, he found many parallels between his practices and science.  For example, he learned that meditation practices can actually change the structure of the brain, as shown in his own brain scans as well as those of other serious meditators.

     What I liked best about this book is that he stresses repeatedly that you don't have to give up everything and retreat into a cave in order to be a successful meditator.  He gives easy hints on how to incorporate meditation practice throughout the day and how to deal with the stresses of everyday life.  I found his pointers most useful.  Perhaps you would, too.

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