Happiness takes practice

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is a Tibetan lama who has been dubbed “the happiest man in the world.” Scientists have made some interesting observations about the effect a long-term meditation practice has on the brain, and on the happiness of the individual:

One of the first findings from the research showed that when these adepts meditated on compassion, their left prefrontal areas jumped in activity an average 100 percent — by contrast a control group who were taught the same meditation practice showed an increase of just 10 percent. Two of the adepts had spectacular increases, in the 700-to-800-percent range, in key neural zones for good feeling.

Their conclusion:

The more lifetime hours of practice, the greater the increases tended to be.

I also appreciate the article for pointing out that although it might seem like a Buddhist meditator is “doing nothing,” meditation is a very active, very engaged practice.

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