Brain Changing

Can We Lead Ourselves to Happiness?

My brain-book club, aptly called the Brainiacs, has just started reading Daniel Gilbert's book "Stumbling on Happiness".

I've only just finished the Foreward, but I already had thoughts popping up that I wanted to share with you, so I thought I would maybe let you read along with me, so to speak.

First, I just have to say that I love Gilbert's style - funny, conversational....real. Like having a talk with him around the kitchen table. Exactly the feel I hope my own book, "The Way of the Brain", will have when it finally gets published.

Having said that, the interesting premise he takes in the Foreward is of thinking of our future self as a child of our present self — that in our present, we do our best to take care of our future self. Unfortunately,

Who's Steering the (Brain) Boat? Who Should be?

In my private practice, one of the tools I most commonly use is something called neurofeedback (brain-based biofeedback).

If you do a search on neurofeedback, you'll probably find a lot of articles on using it to train your brain to do what you want it to do better than it is right now: better attention, better focus, better sleep, better problem-solving, better reading, better moods, better..whatever.

I don't do that.

Don't get me wrong. I do use neurofeedback as a tool that improves people's lives.

What I don't do is...

Is the Buddhist Brain Different?

Richard Davidson and his neuroscience team at the University of Wisconsin asked this question. To answer it, they took experienced Tibetan monks to their lab to scan their brains in action. Is the Buddhist brain fundamentally different than the average?

This generated some discussion on one of the neurrofeedback lists I participate in. One of the answers was from Dr. Val Brown, a psychologist and creator of a neurofeedback system that is based on seeing the brain as a nonlinear system. I wanted to share his answer with you as it fits nicely with helping us evolve a new understanding of the brain -- not a computer or machine, but a living, evolving self-regulating system. (I've done some slight editing and highlighting for blogness...)

Is the Buddhist Brain Different?...