The Soft Alert, Steadiness of being a Ninja in Our Practices of Wholeness with Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

Rick HansonThe study of meditation has demonstrated that sustained, long-term practice can alter the brain markedly. These changes bring greater resilience and well-being. It’s said that even brief meditative practices can change areas of your brain involved with attention, body awareness, emotional regulation, and a sense of self. This deep dialogue explores some practical practices of how the brain, mindfulness, and meditation are interconnected and how these practices can free us from needless suffering and conflict. Hanson reminds us to not “add-on” to the inevitable pain of life. “The end of suffering is to replace it with love, wisdom, and joy. As we cultivate these various inner strengths, virtues such as patience, respect for others, commitment to social justice, caring about non-human animals, gratitude, our own wellbeing, and mindfulness, we become much more resilient, we recover faster from loss and trauma, and we become much more able to overflow abundantly to help other people.” He also points out that prior to the rise of agriculture and city-states, humans lived in small tribes of 20 to 40 people. He says, “Now we need to learn how to reestablish those objective conditions of healthy human politics, notably common truth, common welfare, and common justice. We can see how authoritarians attack truth as fast as they can whether it’s in a family system, a bully in a school, or a President in the Whitehouse. That’s why we have to vigorously stand up for truth.” It’s a false dichotomy to separate the person from the political. Hanson helps us to be clear, strong, centered, and stable no matter what’s swirling around us (like a ninja warrior) with seven practices. He says our mind/brain is like a garden and is a very fertile soil for weeds. “That’s its negativity bias. That’s why it’s important to cast seeds of flowers on your mental garden and then help them grow and use them to crowd out weeds over time. It isn’t that weeds are bad but because we’re interested in a life that’s not afflicted with suffering and all kinds of neurotic reactions to others.” He encourages us toward the upper reaches of our human potential, that’s full of profound contentment and a radiant, spacious, lovingness toward other people and to be like a ninja in our own meditative practice: a soft, alert steadiness.

Program #3699 Description

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