Reprinted from New Age Retailer with permission
Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
Rick Hanson, Ph. D., with Richard Mendius, MD
$16.95 (P), ISBN 978-1-57224-695-9
New Harbinger Publications
Written by a neurologist and a neuropsychologist, this book is another example of the merging of science and spirituality/metaphysics in today’s world. It is a handbook for using modern neuroscience and Buddhist practice in combination to change our state of mind for the better. (The authors chose to use Buddhism, rather than another spiritual philosophy, because they are most familiar with it and because it does not require a belief in God or the taking of ideas on faith alone.)
After a brief discussion of the benefits derived from the overlapping of psychology, neurology, and contemplative practice — and a description of how our brains use the products of that merging to become more productive — the book is divided into four sections: The Causes of Suffering, Happiness, Love, and Wisdom.
For those who want to understand the science of it all, each part has clear explanations and simple diagrams. For those who just want to “think” themselves happier, there are easy to understand exercises to follow. Many of the exercises will be familiar: meditation, breath work, conscious relaxation, imagining, etc. The authors have put it all together in sequential form to create a system that will help us learn to control our minds in order to alter our brains. (“What flows through your mind sculpts your brain. Thus, you can use your mind to change your brain for the better … This book aims to show you how.”)
At the end of the book there is a pages-long list of references for those who want to do further reading. There is also an Appendix on Nutritional Neurochemistry with some interesting information on diet and supplements for the brain and nutritional support for neurotransmitters. This is a serious, but very understandable and useable resource.
Spirit Connection New York